Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Baby Mama Drama

Wow, lots of crazy topics centering on children this week. Let's jump right in with the top three stories.

1. Baby Mama tops the box office. Reel Whore reneges on initial rating.

You heard it right, folks. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's film ranked #1 at the box office. Yea! I am happy for them. So happy I saw this a second time (mainly because my wife wanted to see this). Upon second viewing, I must really have needed to laugh at the sneak peek I attended. The film is still good, but I have adjusted my review rating of Full Price ($$$$) down a half-notch (Full Price <> Matinee). Sorry ladies; it was good, just not that good.

Amy Poehler's having a baby!

Hot off the heels of her #1 film about being a baby mama, Amy Poehler announces that she will be having a baby with hubby Will Arnett this autumn.

Congratulations Amy & Will!

I bet that the little bundle of joy grows up to be one of the funniest people on the planet.

Whether it's a girl or a boy, at least Franklin will finally have a sibling.

Baby Suri turns two and drama returns to my life.

A week or so back I hinted that I was having some issues. Those who know me know all too well to what I was referring. I was, of course, speaking about Baby Suri turning two. I am sure you've been hearing all sorts of rumors about Katie moving to an NYC apartment, but that she and Tommy Boy are still madly in love. Well, I have a bit more truth on the matter, but I have promised--more like been instructed--not to say anything until after Tom does his double appearance on Oprah. Stay tuned, stargazers; you won't believe what's next.

For readers feeling a bit in the dark, here's the recap of what I'm going on and on about:

That’s My Baby!
Originally written: October 2005

Everyone knows how commercial Hollywood is. We all groaned and mumbled when the monster that was ‘Bennifer’ got all matrimonial conveniently around the release of their big screen disaster Gigli. This year we received much of the same gossip and free publicity with the Aniston/Pitt/Jolie fiasco, not to mention the big summer affair; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. We all sat wide-eyed and confused as Tom did cartwheels on Oprah’s couch and Katie blubbered on and on to Regis about how Tom was so sweet and not the creepy Scientology zealot that his interviews make him out to be. Seeing Katie profess her love for ‘he of the crooked smile’ was a bit disheartening for me, as many of you know. Now it turns out, the public has just learned that not only are they happily in love, but now there love has manifested itself into a soon to be living being…

At least, that’s what they want you to think. As I just said I was a bit disheartened when Katie was running around with Tom. I thought after Chris dumped her out of sheer insanity, that she would finally come to her senses and contact this good ol’ NC boy, if at least for some vigorous rebound loving. But Tom scooped her up before Katie and I could make our love/lust connection. After some of the initial motorcycle riding and couch jumping hype subsided, Katie was nice enough to let me know about their relationship. See, K-k and I go way back to her TV days before she became the big film star she is now. I can’t tell you all the time people had to drag us apart so she could stand in for her scenes. But I digress; she called me out of the blue one evening, just to tell me how she and TC were, in fact, very much in love and wished that people could understand that. Stranger things have happened right? I was a little offended that she never gave us a chance, but then again, if Halle Berry had come to me after her latest break-up Katie’s disregard would have been the last thing on my mind (Hell, if Halle had come to me I could have saved her and us from Catwoman but that’s a story for another time.) As I was saying, K-k and I talked everything over and I wished her well with her new romance and thought that was that.

Just a few weeks later, she called, all despondent. She had discovered that TC could not have kids (a rather graphic, unfortunate wax incident with his first wife Mimi but you didn’t hear that from me). So I met up with her to offer some solace, we got to laughing and talking, and long story short…That’s My Baby! When I had heard the good news this week, I thought wow, sometimes miracles do happen and the Big T pulled it off. But it was Katie’s message the other day that confirmed that I provided the “key” component to their cocktail o’ love. Of course, none of this is 100% until all the tests come back and I really do hope that I have not planted a seed of dissension between the two lovebirds. I did think that you, my devoted readers, would like to hear the full story behind one of the most talked about Hollywood couples. I do wish Tom and Katie all the best, and I do think that for one minute the announcement of her being ‘preggers’ so soon before the release of “Batman Begins” was a marketing contrivance. Nor should anyone think that these two enamored individuals would move the wedding up from Christmas to late November just so their wedding publicity would bolster the “War of the Worlds” DVD profits. If I know K-k, is just coincidence that these two mega-stars busy schedules continue to overlap with their personal lives. I wish the soon-to-be-three of them all the best. Just keep in mind folks, if the baby has the fattest legs you’ve ever seen on a newborn; That’s My Baby!

F’ A Cupcake!
Originally written: April 2007

Alright Stargazers…

I thought I could let this go without saying anything, but after last night’s incident, my story must be told. After watching “Year of the Dog,” I came home to find three packages on my doorstep. The first two were for my new PC, which makes me very, very happy. But the third box was unfamiliar and unexpected. Once I settled in, I popped the top of the little brown box, and immediately saw red. I couldn’t believe my former friend and one-time lover had the nerve to pull some shit like this.But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me first say that last week had been difficult for me. As many of you may have realized, it was my daughter’s birthday last Wednesday. She turned a year old, and for obvious reasons, I was not invited to her birthday party. It’s not like I could have jumped on a plane to fly out for the party, though her mother could have hooked me up had she the desire. (I remember the desire she used to have. I guess motherhood changes a person.) At any rate, my daughter turned a year old; I was not there, and I’m sure my gift never even made it to her hands as “daddy” probably felt it was unworthy of “his” baby girl.

So I had moved on, hoping that I’d at least get some photos over e-mail or something within the next few weeks. Then, unsuspecting as I was, I opened up that box to find a stale cupcake from the Beverly Hills bakery, Sprinkles. What a bitch! K-k knows good and well that she didn’t invite me to the party so why would she send me a cupcake other than to taunt the fact that she’s living the life with Cruise at the crazy complex? I know what you’re thinking-- maybe she did it as an apology for Cruise never allowing me to see my child. That thought crossed my mind, too, but then I saw the envelope underneath the cupcake. It was a small pink envelope much akin to an invitation. Hesitantly I opened it. Inside were two things.

The first was a party invitation for baby Suri. By the way, I so did not like that name – voicing my disapproval was one of the last times I spoke with K-k. But I digress. This invitation didn’t have all the nifty details one would expect on an invite; instead just a few sentences were scrawled on the back:

“I hope you understand why you were not invited. Suri doesn’t need the confusion of two men in her life, nor do I. I am happy for the gift you have given us. The pact Tom and I have made includes love for Suri. I am grateful for knowing you. With warmest regards,


K-k has always been nice, and while the letter was nice enough, it was a flowery way of telling me to piss off and stay clear of the Cruise family. With that I can deal, but the second item in the envelope just refueled my anger – it was a pizza coupon. And not just any pizza chain: CiCi’s Pizza! Now I know the CiCi’s franchise hasn’t quite made it to California, so Tom or K-k must have gone out of their way to secure this coupon. But the fact that it was a CiCi’s coupon and not Papa Johns, or even Pizza Hut, speaks louder than anything. I could almost see his smug, crooked smile as he slipped the coupon into the envelope. A final “up yours” gesture from the sterile simp. I tell ya, if we ever cross paths I’ll knock that shit-eating grin right off his face.

I still cannot believe K-k would send something like that to me, her baby daddy. Receiving that bizarre invite in the mail was the equivalent of a horse’s head under the sheets. Tom has made it clear that a war is coming. You’d think he would be thankful that it was me and my seed which brought he and K-k closer together. But some folks only focus on the small issues, and Tom’s obsesses way too much on the small.

With all that has transpired, I don’t know what this means for the friendship between K-k and I, or the future of our little girl. I do know that you will be the first to hear about whatever smarmy trick Cruise has up his sleeve next. A coupon and a cupcake? Fuck a cupcake, it’s on!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, April 25, 2008

Harold & Kumar Go to the Bank

Harold & Kumar
Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Release: 04/25/08
Rated R
1 hour, 42 minutes

Second-Run Seats ($$)

John Cho (American Pie) and Kal Penn (Van Wilder) reprise their respective roles as Harold 'Roldi' Lee and Kumar Patel in this sequel, which picks up immediately after the end of their adventure to White Castle. On a whim, they decide to go to Amsterdam to hang with Cho's love, Maria, and smoke legal pot. A wild misunderstanding later, the fellas find themselves escaping Guantanamo Bay, hoofing it from Miami to Texas, and crashing the wedding of Kumar's ex, Vanessa, to save their hides (and maybe, just maybe, save Vanessa from the biggest mistake of her life! *gasp*)

Screwball comedies hold a special place in my heart. I'm one of the few folks who have seen and would admit to seeing the entire American Pie series. I'm talking all six films! It goes without saying that I'd be in line to check out Harold & Kumar 2. I find it funny that John Cho, a day player from the American Pie series, has mustered as much, if not more, success than the major cast members of AP.

You know things are going downhill when H&K2 blasts off with bathroom humor within the first minute and elevates the jokes to gross-out self-gratification within the next five. Creators Hurwitz and Schlossberg crafted a clever balance of stoner humor, road-trip debacles and racial stereotypes the first time around so, geniuses they are, they decided to recycle an identical formula for the sequel. But if rehashed sequels prove anything its that when you try to re-invent the wheel you'll only get a hollow tube of hot air. I don't even want to dissect the many ways this went wrong, but let me recap the good and the bad.

The Good: The original supporting cast returns, including Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie), David Krumholtz (Serenity), Christopher Meloni (Wet Hot American Summer), and, most of all, Neil Patrick Harris (Starship Troopers). NPH totally owns this movie and is the singular most reason to watch it. He delivers some awesome drug-induced lines and you gotta love his sexual escapades. Missi Pyle (Dodgeball) and Beverly D'Angelo (Vacation) also lend their talents to the film. I don't know if I was happy to see them working, or sad to see them working in this. Another winning aspect is a rocking soundtrack, which helped me escape during the bad parts.

The Bad: Rob Corddry (Semi-Pro) plays Homeland Security Agent Ron Fox. I normally enjoy his roles, but this is just too much. Fox is beyond the definition of an ignant bigot. The racial slurs worked in small doses the first time through, but Fox and the other stereotypes in H&K2 are just uncouth and unclever. Also, Roldi and Kumar have a run-in with a certain government official and...No! Just No! I can in no way accept the interaction between these guys and this individual. I know it's just a movie, but the laid-back, cool-dude persona is just beyond reproach.

Dirty Undies
H&K2 is purely gratuitous. I lost count of the naked booty being flaunted, maybe because I was preoccupied admiring the trim. Roldi and Kumar go bottomless, too. I also got to see my second penis on film within the span of a week. There are also a few topless women and tons of lewd and crude sexual comments courtesy of Kumar and NPH. Physical altercations, insulting racial and cultural commentary, extensive drug use and all-around vulgarity make H&K2 a standout in this category. Shame they couldn't find a balance in quantity versus quality.

The Money Shot
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle was a funny movie. Hell, I loved it so much it now rests prominently on my DVD shelf. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay may garner a second viewing, but it won't be coming to live with me and its older, more cultured brother.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Suck It Monkeys, I'm Going Corporate!

Baby Mama

Release: 04/25/2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 36 minutes

Full Price ($$$$) <
> Matinee ($$$)

You heard right; Tina Fey (Mean Girls) is rising from her SNL beginnings into a starring film role, and not with a character created for the show. Many fans probably expected Andy Samberg to be the next huge household name among SNL alums transitioning into hit comedy films, but Hot Rod notwithstanding you'd be wrong. Fey brings it and does us one better by tag-teaming with fellow alum Amy Poehler (Blades of Glory). After seeing Baby Mama I've got to tell you, this duo is the best thing since Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan! (Can I get a What! What! for Night at the Roxbury? No? Snobs!) Umm, scratch that, they’re the best thing since Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly!

Fey and Poehler! Shake and Bake!

I may be all jacked up on Mountain Dew, but I'm also all stoked to see another genuinely funny film this month. If you don't know, Fey plays Kate Holbrook, a single, successful, 37-year-old VP of an Earth-friendly grocery chain known as Round Earth. The only thing missing in her life is the pitter-patter of little feet. Adoption is difficult, and her womb even more so. The only option left: surrogacy. Shortly after the process begins, Kate finds her surrogate, Angie, at her doorstep after Angie leaves her boyfriend Carl (Dax Shepard, Idiocracy). It's an odd coupling who ultimately learn from one another despite their differences and secrets.

Fey and Poehler play perfectly off one another. But to thicken the pot, they've assembled a stellar supporting cast including Sigourney Weaver (Heartbreaker), Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets) and Steve Martin (Bowfinge), all in roles slightly more fleshy than cameos. I was laughing at these guys just as much as our dynamic duo. Although a contemporary premise, the formulaic story, written by Michael McCullers (Undercover Brother), could have benefited from some freshness in structure. His direction also needed more pizzazz, but at least it didn't feel like an SNL skit gone on far too long.

Dirty Undies
I know this may not be popular with the cool kids, but Baby Mama keeps it clean. Seeing Fey skanked up with her boobage shoved into her neck is about as visually risqué as it gets.

The Money Shot

You go see this now if for no other reason than to give Tina Fey an Apatow-like producing power that she may wield to better the future of film entertainment. Baby Mama does suffer from predictability, but hey, you ride Splash Mountain 'cause it's fun, and not for the twists and turns. So what are you waiting for? Get wet, bizzlenatches!

To finish off my truly random thoughts on this subject,
I leave you with this little diddy. North Carolina Represent!:

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Quickie: Smart People

Smart People

Rated R
1 hour, 35 minutes

Matinee ($$$) <
> Second-Run Seats ($$)

I'm not so good at judging the merits of these types of films. You know the group I'm talking about:The Squid and the Whale, Winter Passing, The Savages, Rocket Science, Tadpole... films that are adept at adorning their actors in dingy, average-Joe surroundings and, often, less-than-average attire (especially Ellen Page in this instance). Once the ambiance is established the director and writers soak the edges of the film in dysfunctionality. When the right balance of snarkiness and dirtiness is attained the results can be phenomenal, a la The Squid and the Whale. Other times, a movie will backfire into a dismal, depressing affair, despite its undeniable strengths, a la The Savages. Smart People lands somewhere in the mid- to low-range of my ad hoc spectrum.

Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid, Frequency) is a self-absorbed, contrary English professor at Carnegie-Mellon raising Vanessa (Ellen Page, Juno),a high-strung, haughty high school senior. After a towing debacle, Lawrence is restricted from driving by E.R. doctor Janet Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker, The Family Stone), an emotionally stunted woman who is intrigued by this coarse man. Enter the chauffeur, Chuck (Thomas Haden Church, Sideways), Lawrence's adopted brother: a grifter and all-around loser yet generally decent guy - at least, compared to his family.

Although Lawrence's faults are explained, it doesn't make him any more sympathetic. Janet's flaws are vaguely mentioned, and many of her motivations must be taken on faith. I won't even begin on the trainwreck that's Vanessa. Chuck is simple to understand as he thrives through his shortcomings. (Haden Church must also thrive in the buff because he leaves the back door of his union suit open on more than one occasion. I wonder if I were to re-watch Spider-Man 3, I might find a slip of Church crack amid the swirling sands.)

Smart People
feels a little too smart for its own good. There is some humor but little that wasn't spoiled by the trailer. The characers' gloomy existences just dragged me down.

P.S.- No digs at you, Quaid; you're still the man! You too, Lowell!
P.P.S.- Sorry they wasted a great potential role for you, Ashton Holmes. Better luck next time.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, April 21, 2008

Damn You Russell T. Davies!

In case you may have missed it in a previous mention, I try my best to steer clear of spoilers. I like to watch trailers for films and read the occasional bit of casting news or "trouble on the set" articles. If I get even a whiff of some tidbit that may totally ruin a show or film for me I head the other direction. It really sucks when I want to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about a review, but I manage.

Conversely, as a courtesy I try to avoid giving specific details about a film in my reviews, unless I am just spurred by some righteous indignation to do so. When I do slip into spoiler territory, I try to let folks know.

That said, if you are fans of Torchwood and did not see the Season 2 finale which aired this past Saturday on BBC America but fully intend to do so, run away!


I remember an interview with Russell T. Davies from Season 1 of Torchwood where he said that he wanted his show to be a place where no character was safe; that they could die at any moment because they were constantly in harm's way. I was like hells yeah, gangsta! I mean honestly, how many times can Jack Bauer be beaten, tortured, and blown up, yet still surviv
e to save America (I don't actually watch 24, but I gather this to be the gist of the plot from season to season)?

I love the reality within the fantasy. I love the grit. I love the raw emotion. I love the unexpected. I love that the five stars, John Barrowman, Eve Myles,
Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd, are so damn hot you'd totally jump into a Torchwood orgy given the chance. But no more dreams of six-ways for us fans, thanks a lot.

When Owen Harper, played by Burn Gorman, was shot and died in the middle of Season 2, I was totally shocked. Thanks to Captain Jack's stubbornness and a nifty bit of alien tech, Owen was able to continue to function in a sort of living corpse way; it's a long story, but one well worth watching. Given that he didn't need to breathe or eat but that he also couldn't heal wounds or have sex, I had come to terms with the fact that Gorman's role as Owen would not last beyond this season. Honestly, I was okay with that.

What I was NOT OKAY with was watching Naoko Mori's character, Toshiko Sato, take a bullet to the gut! How could you let her die!? What purpose did it serve?! Was that really necessary?! I've tuned in to this show faithfully every week and this is how you repay me.

Raw emotion and grit fucking suck. I much prefer you keep my favorite characters on the damn show and not go off on a whim and kill 40% of the cast in the span of five minutes. So, so not cool.

I am sure that in a show about alien tech, occasi
onal visits from a Time Lord, and all other sorts of fantastical and impossible occurrences that Owen Harper and Toshiko Sato may somehow return one day. In the meantime, I am going to sulk in my corner.

Burn Gorman, I will miss the mostly crass, somewhat callous yet caring personality that made Dr. Owen Harper, King of the Weevils, so enjoyable.

Naoko Mori, I will miss that tender and concerned Toshiko 'Tosh' Sato who could turn tough as nails when the moment arose. And the old man was right: you do have some great legs!

Don't get me wrong; I still love Torchwood. BBC America must have realized that between its heart-wrenching finale and the depressing Voyage of the Damned episode of Doctor Who that us fans needed a good cheering up. Guess that's why they aired four comedy specials by one of my favorite comedians, Eddie Izzard on Sunday. Tragedy. Comedy. All sorts of good stuff coming from across the pond I tell ya!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, April 18, 2008

If Life Gives You Lemons, I Say F*ck Lemons and Bail.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Release: 04/18/2008
Rated R

1 hour, 52 minutes

Full Price ($$$$)

Peter Bretter (Jason Segel, Knocked Up) has a comfortable life in Los Angeles. He composes music for the television drama Crime Scene and dates the star of the show, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell, Pulse). When Sarah returns home and surprises Peter by announcing the end of their five-year relationship, he collapses in heap of sorrow and naked-man flesh. On the advice of his step-brother, he goes on vacation to Hawaii where he just happens to run into Sarah and her new man, English pop sensation Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Thanks to the charity of the hotel concierge, Rachel (Mila Kunis, American Psycho 2), and the other hotel staff, Peter pulls himself out of his rut and begins to enjoy a new outlook on life.

If you assumed this to be a Judd Apatow production in the vein of 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up and not Anchorman or The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, you'd be correct. As in the former films, Apatow & Company take their popular brand of crude humor and mingle it with a tangible drama of relationships. I still proclaim 40 Year-Old Virgin as the best of the lot while each new incarnation shifts the perfect balance of laughs and love a little farther to the dramatic side. Still, the balance isn't too far to the right and FSM had me laughing well into the credits.

Let's be honest; this is my kind of movie: a crude comedy with beautiful women and a hilarious cast. The great supporting cast includes Bill Hader (Hot Rod), Jonah Hill (Superbad), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) and Paul Rudd (Reno 911!: Miami). Ahh, Paul Rudd, who doesn't love you? The film even has a nice cameo that I won't spoil for you. I will say I was excited to see Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King), but disappointed he had barely a minute of screen time. FSM has already lit up my Confessions radar for memorable characters, lines and scenes. It also features some original songs with hilarious lyrics including Inside Me and Dracula’s Lament. FSM gives much needed big-screen cred to Bell and Kunis, whose only previous film endeavors I have seen (mentioned above) were not their shining moments. I especially love that this film bashes one of those stinkers, although obscurely.

Dirty Undies
I have mad, nasty love for Kristen Bell, so I brought my drool bib. After seeing FSM, I wish I had brought a spare because, DAMN, if Mila Kunis wasn’t equally tent-pitching. Sure, she was cute on That 70's Show, but her radiant face and wavy, brown locks will inspire a whole new level of infatuation on equal footing with the lovely Bell. Jason Segel owes the casting director big!!! First-born-son big.

If Apatow's star continues to rise I foresee his ultimate masterpiece. In the future, his number-one film will be called Cock. And that's all it will be for 90 minutes: a flaccid penis. It will win eight Oscars, including best screenplay. Whether Segel will win the starring role in Cock is uncertain, but FSM gave him some good practice.

The Money Shot
I think the major divide between FSM and Knocked Up in comparison to 40 Year-Old Virgin stems from the caliber of their stars’ performances. Segel and Rogen are no Carell, stargazers. But it doesn’t really matter because the material is funny enough that literate monkeys could make this a success.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sha(rr)ow, Simple P(r)easures.

The Forbidden Kingdom

Release: 04/18/2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 53 minutes

Matinee ($$$) <
> Second-Run Seats ($$)

Michael Angarano (Sky High) is Jason Tripitikas, a South Boston teen and Kung Fu film buff. He regularly swings by the Chinatown Pawn Shop to grab the latest bootlegs from owner Hop, the ancient and snarky stereotype who spits hip (r)ingo with comical Asian accent, played by Jackie Chan. On his way home Jason is accosted by some local thugs-- let's call them Johnny Stromboli and the Spaghetti Sidekicks-- who beat him down until he agrees to help them rob the "old chink down in Chinktown." (I wish I was being funny, but that’s a real quote). The heist is botched and Jason flees with the golden staff of legend. A trip and a fall later, Jason finds himself in a magical realm that seems to be the China of centuries past. People think he is a legendary traveler come to return the staff to the Monkey King and save the Kingdom from the tyrannous rule of the Jade Warrior. Epic action and comedy ensue.

Hmmm, what can I say about Forbidden Kingdom? The bulk of the film is set in ancient China except for Jason's story, which bookends the tale in a present day cliché. It's like buying a decent piece of original artwork only to hang it in a cheap, plastic-and-acrylic poster frame. During the movie’s epic section, Jet Li, playing the Monk, is the most lively and funny character though Jackie Chan is amusing as Lu Yan, the drunken warrior. Once the hero group is all assembled, the tempo and story keep your attention.

My issue with this film is it continually reminded me of better, well-structured moments from other movies. I had flashbacks to The Karate Kid, Rocky, The Wizard of Oz, Full Metal Jacket, Legend of the Drunken Master and Hero. Given that the last two films also star Jackie Chan and Jet Li, the correlation should not be surprising. If you don't get the other references, here's a little montage to help:

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

All: We’re off to see the Wizard Jade Warrior. The wonderful wizard of Oz cruel tyrant of the Kingdom.

Wicked Witch of the West Witch: I’ll get you my pretty young traveler, and your little dog golden staff, too!

Miyagi Jackie Chan: First, wash all car chop all weeds. Then wax hit. Wax on Hit strong...
Daniel Jason: Yeah, but...
Miyagi Jet Li:Wax on wax off Speed, Accuracy. Don't forget to breathe, very important.

(HINT audience HINT)

Da Nang Hooker Sparrow: Hey, you got girlfriend Vietnam South Boston? Me so in love. Me love you long time.

(Um maybe those exact lines weren't in the film...)

Random Gay Stereotype Jade Warlord: Girlfriend! Traveler! You I look Fa-Bu-Lous! Now give me that staff!

Rocky Jason: Adrian! Sparrow!

(Image of Jade Emporer unavailable. Trust, this one is close enough.)

Narrator: Bastian Jason made many other wishes and had many other amazing adventures before after finally returning to the ordinary world. But that's another story.

Spoiler Alert Ended.

Dirty Undies
This movie is geared exclusively to teenage boys. If you don't mind your teens discovering a few classic racial slurs and think they'd totally miss the undertones urging young men to surrender their golden staff to flamboyant Asian men, then you have no reason to be concerned.

The best element of this film is the fight sequences. Having masterful choreographer Woo-ping Yuen (Kill Bill) behind these scenes makes a difference. The battle between Jet Li and Jackie Chan is by far the best fight. Other sequences are interesting but seem a bit choppy and computerized for anyone who enjoys the classic kung fu look.

The Money Shot
I'm not entirely certain, but I think the purpose of this film is to reinvigorate the Chinese-bootleg Kung Fu movie market with the current generation of American boys. I could be wrong about that, but I am certain The Forbidden Kingdom serves up a snappy and adequate tale of epic adventure. It'll be a bigger disappointment to any Kung Fu film aficionados.

One last thing:

Also, Dude, Chinaman Chink is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

More Than a Mouthful (04.17.08)

Hey Stargazers! You may be wondering what's with all the silence at the Reel Whore. To put it simply, my blogging time has been crushed by my own watching, reading and sulking. Specifically:

I've had the privilege to get two sneak preview tickets this week. I say privilege because this time last year I had seen about ten more sneak peeks than to date this year. Scandalous! Anyways, I have already seen The Forbidden Kingdom and unless something crazy happens will be seeing Forgetting Sarah Marshall tonight. Clear your calendars for tomorrow, quality reviews forthcoming.

In other watching news, post-strike TV has returned so my DVR is overflowing. We got brand new Bones this week.

Ah, Bones and Booth, how did I ever survive without you?

Aside from my weekly comics, I have been skulking around my fellow bloggers' sites. These are just a few of the many posts worth your time:

Ever seen the movie Idiocracy? What?! Never heard of it? Well, here's 5 Great Things About Idiocracy that'll put this next on your Q.

Friend Mouse found a great list of the 50 Greatest Television Shows of All Time at Empire Online. I was sad that Bones didn't make the cut, but many of my faves did. I'm a fan of about 20 of these shows, there's 4 I'd love to see and 1 that should be nowhere near this list. Can you figure out which ones?

Like East Asian cinema? Not sure what it is? Well, there's A Week of Recent East Asian Cinema just waiting for you. I haven't read all these posts, but I'll be back there once I'm finished here.

In a bit of a blog regurgitation, Invisible Woman re-posted an article from Cracked.com that she found thanks to one of her blog buddies posts. Now I am passing along this story to you. It's Hollywood's 6 Favorite Offensive Stereotypes. It's funny (and sad) because it's true.

Enjoy horror movies like yours truly? Invasion of the B Movies has 30 Days of Horror happening right now. Most recent is Day 16: The Thing. Jump on board before you miss out!

Round 2 results for the Sirens of the LAMBs battle are in and my contender, Baby Firefly has been eliminated. I guess she's destined to be a Two-and-Out kinda girl. I was sad to see her go, but that means I can save up my creative juices for the next showdown. Thanks to all who voted and be sure to check in at the LAMB for Round 3.

The Sirens news is a little disappointing but that's not what has me sulking. Those who know me from my pre-blog days should remember the sadness and anger associated with this time of year. For those who don't know, I thought I was ready to open up, but I can't bring myself to do so.

If I can get a grip on my emotions I will try to re-post my painful memories soon.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Quickie: Shine a LIght

Shine a Light
Release: 04/04/2008
Rated PG-13
2 hours, 2 minutes

Full Price ($$$$) <
> Matinee ($$$)

A gaunt, music God preens and prances to and fro on the screen before me. I wonder if the soul of the Greek legend Pan thrives within this strange creature. Opposite him, a leering troll-like beast hunches down to look the assembled crowd in the eyes as he brandishes one of his many colorful axes. He smiles as his talons stroke his instrument, creating sounds to excite the uproarious listeners. From the description, you'd think you might have entered into a screening of the latest fairy tale film, but you'd be wrong. The myths described above are none other than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

While I may have exaggerated a bit, truly these men along with Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts are the stuff of legend. I have never claimed to be an avid fan of the Stones. I have never seen them in concert but I do enjoy many of their songs when I come across them on the radio. Sympathy for the Devil and Paint it Black are a couple of my all-time favorite songs. When Jagger struts onto the stage of the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, director Martin Scorsese (Michael Jackson's Bad) captures every note, every expression, every riff of Sympathy and many, many other great Stones hits. In the few moments when I was not watching the band tear it up (by themselves or with guest performers Jack White, Buddy Lee, or Christina Aguilera), I found myself marveling at the number of cameras Scorsese littered in the corners of the stage and in the crowd to give audiences the Stones experience.

It isn't just a Stones concert. Within the two-hour runtime, Scorsese presents a candid prelude to the concert and drops in the occasional archival interview. Those moments don't delve all that deeply into the Stones history, but serves more to show that these fellas are great friends with limitless energy. Especially, you can almost feel the childlike joy Keith Richards experiences in every moment.

Watching concerts in the comfort of a movie theater may seem a bit dull since you can't get up and groove. I found myself fidgeting from time to time, my legs feeling the need to strut. Likewise, my wife felt it ran a bit long. That said, this is one worth watching for the sheer spectacle and legend of it all. If they tour in this area again we will be going to see them, but if that never happens this film experience is close enough to the real thing.

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More than a Mouthful (04.11.08)

I want to let everyone know I have returned. Work had me out of town for a couple of days this week, hence my brief absence. Didn't notice? Um, well, anyway.

I have a review coming up later today but in the meantime I just read my blog buddy Fletch's post Enough, it's a sort of diatribe about Disney and zombies. Yeah, exactly. It reminded me of a similar conversation I had with my wife a few weeks back which started me penning a rather lengthy comment. To shorten it up, and give my readers the benefit of my tilt-a-whirl mindset, I give you:

My zombie film idea
(brought to you in response to Fletch's zombie film idea and inspired by the film

A la Fido the human race has, mostly, survived a zombie onslaught. While there are the occasional zombie uprisings that occur after heavy rains near shallow cemeteries or large traffic accidents, life is normal. The big change is that we've discovered how to tame zombies. Zombies have become the new pugs and ferrets in our lives (see also Shaun of the Dead and Fido). Now that the hunger for living flesh has been suppressed, zombie pets begin to exhibit flashes of their former selves.

An ingenious, or greedy, individual manages to purchase a zombified celebrity (we'll say Elvis but I'd prefer a music or writing legend that's not so cliche). Owning said Zombie Elvis, they sue for ownership of all royalties and rights over their pet's creations. The argument; they are the current caregiver of that individual and since their family washed their hands of him once they were buried, why should they continue to reap the benefits? They were only part of their first life, and in this new world we all know life goes on.

While the trial is ongoing, citizens are inspired to take to the graves, digging up any moderately famous person to release them from their casket to cash in. Zombie populations escalate, partially due to these newly uncovered specimens and partially due to the resulting death tolls from confrontations between people competing for their own Zombie Elvis cash cow. Deaths also increase from families trying to protect their Zombie Elvis's rest from exploitation.

It's all the drama of Perry Mason mixed with the mayhem of a classic Romero zombie story and who knows, there might be room for a zombie dance sequence. Shameless, I know.


Speaking of shameless, have you taken time to swing by the LAMB and cast your vote in the Sirens of the LAMBs Round 2 battle between my Baby Firefly and Asami Yamazaki? Don't delay!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Drink It Up!

Today's the day I fill in the gap in my PTA collection!

I drink your milkshake!

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Round 2 - FIGHT!


Stargazers, Gather 'round!

Round 2 of the Sirens of the LAMBs is officially underway! First up; my contendor Baby Firefly versus Asami Yamazaki handled by Faux Nixon. I encourage everyone to check out the battle prose and vote for your favorite. Warning! What I wrote is somewhat disturbed and looks like Asami's write-up is equally sadistic so if you have a weak stomach be wary.


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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Trailer Trash: The April Gang Bang

March just seemed to evaporate before our very eyes, didn't it? We're already four days into April. No worries; I've been taking it for the team. April holds twelve major releases and nearly as many limited or exclusive-release films (according to IMDB and The Numbers). Like last month, I chose to focus on the big twelve for my sanity's sake.

Exercise the right to Cinematic Celibacy.
Prom Night (04/11) First off, my prom was held in the school cafeteria, so I can’t relate to this grand hotel concept. That aside, I'm usually stoked about cheesy horror. But when the “not yet rated” trailer became the no-guts-no-glory PG-13 version, my interest faded. Boo! Hiss! I'll wait for the R-rated DVD, thank you very much.

88 Minutes (04/18) I get the nagging feeling we’re going to feel every last second of this 88 Minutes. Whoo-ah! It'll be a lot of Pacino chewing up lines and scenery while some solid That Guys and Gals (William Forsythe, Alicia Witt, Neal McDonough) just struggle for scale.

The Forbidden Kingdom (04/18) The pairing of the century is finally here: Jet Li and Rasta Chan! Wait, what the fuck is that mop on Jackie's head? And since when was Brooklyn a neighbor of China? How else do we explain Michael Angarano stumbling around in this “epic?” I'm enticed by Bingbing Li and her ultra-long white locks, but seeing as how this was directed by the guy who brought us Stuart Little (1 & 2); I'm not holding my breath.

It's Friday, I don't want to be alone.
Leatherheads (04/04) I enjoy George Clooney in screwball mode about as much as any man could. I concede that Renee Zellweger is a great actress, but like her lemon-face, these trailers have soured on me. I count on this being funny in a shticky sort of way; I’m just not rushing to find out. On the plus side, Stephen Root makes this, like, his tenth film this year!

Nim’s Island (04/04) Okay, raise your hand if you actually recognized Jodie Foster from the posters. I didn't know who that spackled chica was. All I know is Breslin has nearly reached AnnaSophia Robb status in my book of awesome child actors, but even her rising star can't amp me up for yet another Walden debacle.

The Ruins (04/04) As far as horror goes, I was stoked to see that this film from A Simple Plan writer promised gore, nudity AND starred Jena Malone! Excited as I was, I skipped seeing the free sneak preview to stay home, watch Aliens, and write about the Ruins trailer. That doesn't reek of confidence, does it?

Street Kings (04/11) Another fence straddler for me. The concept comes from some awesome action writers (Dark Blue, Equilibrium) and Forest is playing a badass and not the usual bumbling buddy. The big negative is Canoe has turned his stiff acting skills from teaching inner city youth Hardball to just gunning them down. Hmmm.

(04/25) This promises to be a typical, turn-the-tables thriller in the vein of Derailed. You know: the somewhat predictable twister full of sexy people. This grouping brings together Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams. Trailers don't mention Natasha Henstridge or Maggie Q by name, such a shame. If I'm in the mood for hotness you might catch me overcoat-ing it to the cinema.

Moist with Antici...pation!
Smart People (04/11) Despite the skeletal Mole Lady (Sarah Jessica Parker), I still want to see this. Quaid has always held a solid position in my book of faves, and I'm curious to see Ellen Page portray the anti-Juno with all the McGuff and none of the liberal tone. However, I predict the big treat for audiences will be watching Thomas Haden Church steal the show.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (04/18) Jason Segel, a.k.a. the creepy friend from Knocked Up, has managed to write himself a comedy where he is dumped by Kristen Bell and seeks solace in Hawaii with Mila Kunis. Okay, so reality isn't his strongsuit, but with his Apatow My Circle we can expect better-than-average fare. Here’s hoping Jack “Kenneth” McBrayer gets raw like sushi!

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (04/25) It's been four years since Harold and Kumar ate those tiny-but-delicious burgers, and decided, on a whim, to fly to Amsterdam. Picking up from there may be awkward but it could be nearly as insane as the first film. A few of the jokes look more suited to the Scary Movie franchise, but hopefully Neil Patrick Harris will save this from total lameness.

Baby Mama (04/25) The wifey and I are huge Tina Fey-natics, and when we want wild and crazy, Amy Poehler tops the list. In fact, I think Poehler is the funniest woman on SNL since Gilda Radner (Sorry, Maya. You know I'd still love to get you pregnant!) Speaking of, Fey has crafted this comedy about prego-alternatives while the rest of Hollywood churns out yet another romantic comedy slop-fest. You go, Dirty Diva!


Whew, another month and another onslaught of films before us. From the looks of things, my funny bone is itching this month. Hope you didn't mind the excessive SNL/30 Rock love but I've been feening for my Baldwin/Fey/Morgan fix.

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