Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trailer Trash: The February Gang Bang

January has flown by and February is upon us. Now's when I open myself up to the barrage of movie trailers that heralds the good and mostly not-so-good films releasing over the next twenty-nine days. And after seeing these, it's hard to believe so much crap can be squeezed into such a short month.

I'd like to mention one change I have decided to make with the Gang Bang. In the past, I have reviewed nearly all of the films to be released during the upcoming month, both limited and wide releases. I come to realize that most limited releases rarely make it to Po'Dunk, NC. From this point on, I plan to be a little more selective and will only review limited-release films I feel have the potential to reach my redneck of the woods. Enough about Trailer Trash business; it's down
to business time.

Moist with Antici...Pation!
Strange Wilderness
(02/01
) First time I saw this trailer I was not impressed despite the headlining Steve Zahn. On the second go-round, I noticed the cast features members of the Broken Lizard troupe, the Happy Madison crew, and a couple of Apatow’s usual suspects, not to mention Joe Don Baker! This may be the movie equivalent of the Traveling Wilburys/LSG/Velvet Revolver (pick your favorite musical collabo). It could also really suck, but I’m willing to take that chance.

Definitely, Maybe (02/15) Ryan Reynolds is all growed-up and has Abigail “Dakota’s Death-Knell” Breslin starring as his adorably sassy and intelligent daughter. This trailer tugs at all the right hallmarks of love and tenderness (and syrupy sappiness), but Reynolds has the chops to make this work. Throw in the yummy, funny goodness of Elizabeth Banks and Isla Fisher and I can overlook the fact that Rachel Weisz also stars.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (02/14) As the luster of the Harry Potter franchise continues to dull with each installment, Freddie Highmore grabs the fantasy reins where other films have failed (cough Narnia cough). I’m excited at the prospect of a new enjoyable series and welcome this film and all its awesome-looking effects.

Vantage Point (02/22) This star-studded suspense trailer has me on the edge of my seat every time I see it. Granted, the whole duplicate official schtick was done in last year’s Hitman, but I can forgive the redundancy for what I hope will be a tight, action-packed story. My only question is how Matthew Fox managed to get in on this!? Isn’t he like Noah Wyle’s less-talented second cousin?

Charlie Bartlett (02/22) The future face of the Star Trek crew, or at least that of Chekov, can be seen here! After a great performance in Alpha Dog, I can hardly wait to see how he tackles the snarky dialogue and situations here. I know this has been shelved and shuffled for quite a while but I think there’s something salvageable here.

Be Kind Rewind (02/22) When I first got wind of this film, it was through its viral ‘Sweded’ trailers and I was far from impressed. The more conventional trailers soon followed, and the combination of Jack Black and Mos Def at the hands of director Michel Gondry has me sold. Besides, I can’t hate since my buddies and I have our own version of Death Wish 4: The Crackdown in the can.

Penelope (02/29 ltd.) In this kid-friendly fare, Christina Ricci stars as Penelope, the girl with the pig nose. The supporting cast of Catherine O’Hara, the suave James McAvoy, and a wild Reese Witherspoon make this vibrant and fun film a solid sell. My luck it’ll be May before it makes it to these here parts.


It's Friday, I don't want to be alone.
The Eye (02/01) In her futile search to find a genre she’s good at, Jessica Alba tries her hand at an Asian-horror remake. The coolest thing about this movie is the freaky hand-out-of-the-eye teaser poster. I’d prefer to see the original because the creepy crawlies don’t look much creepy or crawly in this version, but peer pressure and her pouty lips may win out.



Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland (02/08 ltd.) Hmmm, so Vince Vaughn, a.k.a. Trent Walker, thought it would be so money to assemble a gaggle of comedians and film them touring the country for thirty consecutive days. Here’s the catch: this comedy show doesn’t look funny.

Jumper (02/14) Shouldn’t this film be subtitled The Silver Samuel vs. Darth Lame? This suspiciously reminds me of an X-Men Nightcrawler spin-off sans Nightcrawler. Doug Liman has yet to do any wrong by me, but if this is even marginally more jittery than his last Bourne film, it’ll be like watching the camera have an epileptic seizure.

The Other Boleyn Girl (02/29) This story is about the sordid affairs of Henry the VIII with the Boleyn sisters. Since I am ALWAYS being mistaken for Eric Bana on the streets, I can‘t wait to experience the idea of Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman fighting over me (although an R-rated version would have been preferable).

Semi-Pro (02/29) I was determined to be first in line for this film after watching the teaser last year. Then the official trailer was released and I quickly moved to the back of the line. It’s inevitable that one out of every three or four films Will Ferrell stars in will be painful, and he is past due. The only reason I have hope for this film is that my spidey-sense is tingling for a hilarious performance by Woody Harrelson.

Exercise the right to Cinematic Celibacy.
Over Her Dead Body
(02/01) This looks like one of those “best parts were in the trailer” trailers. And if these are the best parts, I would hate to see the weaker material.

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (02/08) I really want to like this movie. There’s tons of great talent involved like James Earl Jones, Monique, Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps. It’s written and directed by Malcom D. Lee of Best Man, Roll Bounce, and Undercover Brother notoriety. But then there’s Martin Lawrence in the starring role, and we all know he hasn’t made a good film since…since…well, in a long damn time! Gonna have to pass on this one, Sheneneh.

Fool’s Gold (02/08) UGH! I don’t know what’s worse: watching the sickening mating patterns of two bronze-blonde goofballs or watching a film from the guy who inflicted Hitch on the world. This will make tons of money while I stay at home pinching my pennies and wondering when McConaughey’s career started circling the bowl.

The Hottie and the Nottie (02/08) I don’t know if I can stress this enough but NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, should ever, ever see a film starring Paris Hilton! If you have to see one, choose House of Wax where, at least, you can see her face caved in by a steel pipe. Nutty, slutty self-important bitch aside, this looks like the most unfunny, gag-inducing film ever made.

Step Up 2 the Streets (02/15) I don’t have to tell you that MTV hasn’t shown music videos in over a decade. The new generation of whipper-snappers has to get its choreographed dance sequences by paying for them in theatres instead of tuning into Michael, Janet, etc. The sad part is that the young’uns are shilling for the likes of Cassie and Briana Evigan…last name sound familiar? Yeah, it’s Greg Evigan’s daughter (and maybe Paul Reiser’s,too). The only way I’ll go see these chits bust a move is if the Bear shows up to krump.


If you want to take a look at the limited releases I excluded check out IMDB’s February Release List. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to clean myself up before I go blind.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ode to Rambo

RAMBO


Release:
01/25/2008
Rated R
1 hour, 33 minutes

Second-Run Seats ($$)
or Matinee ($$$) if solely for the killin'



Before I begin, I'd like to express my utter amazement that Rambo limped into second at the box office against Meet the Spartans. While I futilely hoped it would effortlessly slide into the #1 position I can't believe it lost to Meet the Spartans. That's just wrong on so many levels.

Don't ask me why I have M.I.A.'s Paper Planes on the brain lately. I just know this is my latest jam. It's so ingrained in my mind that I even wrote my Rambo review to its catchy chorus. If you're not familiar with the song, check out the video (the chorus begins around 56 seconds):



Paper Planes Chorus:
All I Wanna Do Is
- Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! -
and uh
- Click, Ching! and Take Your Money!

With this banging hook in your mind, let's all sing along to a little diddy I like to call Ode to Rambo. Like to hear it? Here it go!

The Audience Chorus: (to be repeated between verses)
All We Wanna See Is - Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! -
we pay
- Click, Ching! now kick ass Rambo!

All We Wanna See Is - Slice! Slice! Slice! Slice! -
we pay
- Click, Ching! now gut thugs Rambo!

All We Wanna See Is - Rip! Rip! Rip! Rip! -
we pay
- Click, Ching! now rip throats Rambo!

All We Wanna See Is - Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! -
we pay
- Click, Ching! kill something Rambo!

First Verse - The Establishing Moment:
All He Wanna Do Is - Putter...Putter... -
and uh
- Splish, Splash! and cruise the river.

All He Wanna Do Is - Rustle...Rustle... -
and uh
- Hiss, Hiss! and catch the cobra.

All He Wanna Do Is - Putter...Putter... -
and uh - Splish, Splash! and cruise the river.

All He Wanna Do Is - Twang! Twang! -
and uh
- Splish, Splash! and hunt the fishes.


Second Verse - The Set-
Up:
All They Wanna Do Is - Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray! -
and uh
- Mend, Mend! to save the Karen.

All He Gotta Say Is - (Men-A-Cing-Stare) -
and uh (dead stare) - "Burma's a war zone."

All They Wanna Do Is - Beg, Beg, Beg, Beg! -
and uh - Plead, Plead! to cruise the river.

All He Gotta Say Is - (Men-A-Cing-Stare) -
and uh (dead stare) - ....."Fuck the World."


Third Verse - The Plot:

All He Wanna Do Is - Ting!Ting!Ting!Ting! -
and uh
- Clank! Clank! to work the metal.

All She Wanna Do Is - Nag!Nag!Nag!Nag! -
and uh
- Huff! Huff! to guilt trip Rambo.

All He Wanna Do Is- Wish!Wish!Wish!Wish! -
to uh
- Slap Skinz! with Ms. Julie Benz.

All They Wanna Do Is -
Run!Run!Run!Run! -
and uh
- Duck! Duck! and dodge those bullets.


Fourth Verse - The 'Bout Fuckin' Time Moment
:


All He Wanna Do Is - Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! -
and uh
- Click, Bang! and Rambo kicks ass!

All He Wanna Do Is - Slice! Slice! Slice! Slice! -
and uh - Thunk! Twist! and Rambo gut thugs!

All He Wanna Do Is - Rip! Rip! Rip! Rip! -
and uh - Guuurrgglle! and Rambo rips throats!

All He Wanna Do Is - Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! -
and uh - Ka-Boom! Rambo kills everyone!

(END of Ode to Rambo)


For those without any musical inclination, I offer this brief translation. At a runtime of an hour and a half, Rambo only offers up relentless, unfettered bloodshed and mayhem in the final thirty minutes. The remainder of the film is cluttered with clunky backstory about Rambo and the victims of the Burmese military along with a meek effort to construct a believable cause worthy enough to drag this sixty-year-old behemoth from his grumpy slumber. Stallone is fucking massive; I can't see how a single Thai or mercenary within a hundred miles would want to piss him off.

If you're looking for a story, go watch something else. If you, like me, are eager to see a senior citizen annihilate an entire third-world military presence with a bow, a knife, and a truckload of bullets, then just show up for the last half hour and you won't be disappointed.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One More Reason To See Rambo

UNTRACEABLE


Release:
01/25/2008
Rated R
1 hour, 40 minutes


Group Rental ($)




One stormy night (is there any other kind?) in Portland, FBI Cyber Crimes Agent Jennifer Marsh, played by Diane Lane (Judge Dredd), is handed a sticky note with the website www.killwithme.com scribbled upon it. Checking the lead, she finds a kitten being slowly tortured via streaming video. Uncaring as the FBI is, the site is shelved until a a few days later when it streams live once again, this time with a man whose torturous death is hastened by the increasing number of visitors accessing the site. Marsh is tapped to lead the task force to track down the killer as victim after victim suffers at the hands of the populace's morbid curiosity.

Agent Marsh is joined in the cyber-manhunt by techno-savvy fellow agent Griffin Dowd, played by Colin Hanks (Orange County), and by Portland homicide detective Eric Box, played by Billy Burke (*Along Came a Spider). Together the trio prove to be the most ineffectual and inept investigators in not only Oregon, but possibly the entire planet. The script by Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker and Allison Burnett is the first major hurdle that sends this tale plunging flat on its face. The first act is bloated with lengthy techno jargon about how crafty the killer supposedly is. The task force, as it were, poke at keyboards, throw their hands up in geekified defeat, and then stare in a shocked stupor as the victim expires. Act I proves that the killer, who conveniently operates out of the Portland area, can effortlessly thwart the FBI's best tracking efforts and completely avoid having witnesses to the abductions.

Act II trudges forward with continued futility until a breakthrough reveals the killer's identity. In my opinion it reveals that a five-minute stretch break from the PC for the cybercops would have yielded far better results. If my years of watching TV cop shows and far superior crime thrillers have taught me anything, it is that basic detective skills, a competent profiler or even a simple Google Search could have identified the killer before the first human victim died. But what can you expect from users with MSN as their homepage?

The wooden performances could have been attributed to the vacuous script, but Lane & Co. deserve some of the credit as they plod through their lines with clueless expressions. Blame also lies with director Gregory Hoblit (Frequency) for linking meetings of the mindless detectives by a series of extended establishing shots instead of injecting thrilling moments into the film. Hoblit earns the distinction of raising dumbfounding to mind-numbing heights.

Dirty Undies
I thought the torture would at least be the saving grace of this film. There was a morbid delight watching the excruciating Saw-like contraptions extract blood and sear flesh. It was all for naught when the climax evokes a chastising tone towards the torture-porn loving ilk of our society. What is truly torturous is looking at Lane's bedraggled mug! Lane has evoked some genital stirrings in the past (Hollywoodland and Unfaithful come to mind), but here she looks like she's been ridden hard and put up wet.

The Money Shot
Watching the trailer, I just knew Untraceable was going to suck...I never imagined it would suck this much! I'd normally ease this pain by reminding myself 'at least it was free' but the minutes of my life that were stolen had to be worth more than this.

Happy Birthday Miss Lane. If scathing backlash from this putrid film was on your birthday list this week, better make more room at the gift table. Maybe next month's Jumper will prove better for you...hahahaha, I crack myself up sometimes.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In Memoriam

HEATH LEDGER
April 4, 1979 - January 22, 2008


My bud called me at 5pm today to tell me Heath Ledger was found dead. He was a great actor and he will be missed. It is with great sadness I present a double
Repeat Bidness in tribute to Heath Ledger.



Lords of Dogtown
"More of a whirlwind than a zephyrous brood are they."



Release: 06/03/2005
DVD Release: 09/27/2005

Rated PG-13 (DVD: UR)
1 hour, 47 minutes


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



Skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta brings audiences another rendition of his teenage years as one of the Z-Boys of 1970’s era Venice Beach. This film follows the rise of the Zephyr skateboarding team from their no worries lifestyle of surfing and skating when not in school to their skyrocketing fame in American pop culture. In particular, the film focuses on the lives of Jay Adams, Tony Alva, and of course Stacy Peralta, who are played by relative newcomers Emile Hirsch (The Girl Next Door), Victor Rasuk, and John Robinson. The film mostly evades the kids’ personal lives, instead focusing on their real home atop urethane wheels.

Sophomore director Catherine Hardwicke brings a life and vitality to the film that is immediately engrossing. Countless scenes are filmed from a behind the board perspective, chasing the kids up the walls of swimming pools and down broken sidewalks, giving the audience a slight taste of what it was like to roll with the Z-Boys. The Z-Boys team was created by surfer/pirate/shop owner Skip, played astoundingly well by Heath Ledger (Monster’s Ball) who seems to be channeling his inner Val Kilmer. In fact, acting on the part of Ledger, Hirsch, and Rebecca De Mornay makes them nearly unrecognizable as their true selves. Acting on the parts of many of the other characters, however, does not garner nearly as much praise. Being a landlubber, I cannot honestly comment on how true to the history this rendition of the Dogtown legacy is, other than knowing that Peralta also wrote the award winning documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” The story with its stunt packed segues moves quickly, allowing you to live in the limelight alongside the characters and keeps your eyes from wandering to your watch.

Dirty Undies
If you’re one of the few people drawn to this film by Rebecca De Mornay, be excited for her portrayal of Jay Adams’ mother but steer clear if you’re looking for any sex appeal. Rebecca is to’ up from the flo’ up in this pic, and I am not understating this in the least! Now I’ve got to give a big HOO-HAH! to America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves). This young Honduran actress will have you down with the thickness as she portrays the hot-to-trot skate groupie, Thunder Monkey. Yeah, you heard me right. I can bet that her character in Dogtown is vastly different from her role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which also opened this weekend. All of this exposure should prove fruitful for someone who has a very bright future in acting. Although the main actors play high-schoolers, keep in mind that they are 19 years and older, so drooling over their machismo, long hair, and bare chests is legally allowed. The best part is that shirts come off frequently and you meat hounds can be sassified within the first two minutes!

What kind of movie about teen angst would be complete without a little casual drug use and random throwdowns? These kids, and even a few of the adults, are powder kegs of emotions fueled by fame, fortune, drugs, and personal problems. While nothing drastically violent or disturbing occurs, the tone is apparent. The film features many cameos by the original Z-Boys, though unless an avid fan, you will be likely to miss them as they are mainly “Party Guy #2” type roles. Still, it’s nice to know that Peralta and several of his friends could show their support for a film about themselves. As an added treat for current skate hounds, Tony Hawk drops in to make a fool of himself.

The Money Shot
Overall, it is a riveting film, worthy of shilling out a few bucks to become part of the seedy yet luxurious world of 70’s boarding.


Brokeback Mountain
"Rough Riding Romance on the Range."

Release: 12/09/2005
DVD Release: 04/04/2006

Rated R
2 hours, 14 minutes

> FULL PRICE ($$$$)


Ang Lee (Ride with the Devil) directs this ‘incredibly true adventure’ of two cowboys in love adapted from the E. Annie Proulx short story. Set in 1963 Wyoming, the audience first meets Heath Ledger (*Monster’s Ball) who portrays the emotionally shielded yet fierce ranch hand Ennis Del Mar. Ennis is joined by the talkative, wild-at-heart wannabe rodeo cowboy Jack Twist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko). The two get hired to herd sheep on the rolling slopes of Brokeback Mountain. After their secluded summer ends, the film chronicles their love over the next two decades.

Lee has created an emotionally stirring, beautifully crafted film. Every sequence shot has the feel of a masterful portrait capable of telling volumes. Each moment, gesture, look, or exchange has a meticulously wrought feel. Ledger’s throaty portrayal of Ennis as the lone ranger of very few words will leave you heartbroken. His rigidly clenched jaw and glowering eyes convey the range of feelings broiling beneath his rough exterior. Ledger’s performance is overshadowed only by that of Michelle Williams (*The Station Agent), who plays his wife, Alma. Williams blends into the struggling life of the Del Mars, with child on hip and secrets weighing her conscience. If Williams does not get nominated and win the Academy Award, there truly is no justice in the world. Gyllenhaal is vibrant and full of energy; he acts well opposite Ledger and Anne Hathaway, who plays his wife Lureen. Gyllenhaal’s bright blue eyes are almost equally as expressive as Ledger’s stoic features but his character benefits from being far more communicative.

Lee’s film is as enchanting visually as it is emotionally. The Brokeback Mountain landscapes are breathtaking. Seeing the rocky slopes and plush grasslands onscreen helps you understand the meaning behind the phrase, “God’s Country.” The film uses the most miniscule details to expound upon the blossoming love between the cowboys and its resulting hardships. As the story’s timeline is progressed through both characters and events, subtle changes in appearances suggest the passage of months, sometimes years. If I had to nitpick any single detail of this film, it would be Ledger’s weathered look as his years on the plains affect him. The make-up looks slightly less than spectacular, but it’s such a minor flaw in comparison to the work as a whole.

Dirty Undies
Ledger and Gyllenhaal not only bare their souls but their asses on the sunny mountainside. The fellas display their ravenous sexual appetite as they prove equally adept at satisfying their women. Williams and Hathaway, not to be outdone, display their bouncy bits as much as the boys flaunt their firmness. Passion is often accompanied by a darker edge, and Brokeback Mountain is marked by a few disturbingly violent images that will linger in your mind.

The Money Shot
Brokeback
Mountain
’s simple and profound tale of love will haunt you. I found myself thinking of Jack and Ennis days after leaving the theater, and not just in a sexually affirming kind of way. The film is deserving of its hype, and worthy of everyone’s patronage. If the film’s homosexual subject matter keeps you away, you would be doing yourself a disservice.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, January 21, 2008

88 miles per hour!

After posting my Best of 2007: Confessions of a Reel Whore, a strange thing happened. A DeLorean spun into my driveway and a crazy looking man jumped out babbling about flux capacitors and not needing roads. After settling him down, he explained he wanted to relive my Best of reviews from years gone by.

Knowing how spotty the DeLorean's time controls can be, I instead decided to post my old Best of reviews here for everyone to enjoy. Before you go back, a few things to note:

1) Thanks to the exquisite compatibility of MS Word to all other computer programs, the layout of the review may not be pristine replicas of the original. Don't let that deter you.
2) These Best of reviews occur prior to the birth of the Reel Whore. Any references to a prior incarnation with a less cool name may be disregarded.
3) Never, never ever feed it after midnight...umm, scratch that.

Back in Time...
2006
2005
2004
2003


Have a blast from my past.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, January 18, 2008

Even Men Should Try on 27 Dresses

27 Dresses

Release: 01/18/2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 47 minutes


FULL PRICE ($$$$)




One of the first major releases of 2008 is a romantic comedy that employs the tried-and-true fable of the straw that broke the camel’s back. In this case, the camel is Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) and her humps, her humps, her lovely lady lumps who stars as Jane, the bestest friend of dozens of brides-to-be, a no-task-too-small assistant to her boss and an all-around doormat. On a hectic wedding evening she crosses the radar of one Kevin Doyle, played by James Marsden (Interstate 60), who finds her compulsive need to help others intriguing and harasses her to glean information for a newspaper story. Meanwhile, Jane’s little sis, Tess, portrayed by Malin Ackerman (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle), jets into town and quickly snatches up the only man Jane has eyes for. With a pestering reporter, a needy boss, and a bridezilla sibling, how long before we see Jane go insane?

As I had hoped, “27 Dresses” turned out to be a fun affair. That said, were there moments that were ridiculously over-the-top? Pfft, I can think of a half-dozen without blinking! It’s even end-capped in two bits of foolishness. Is the romantic comedy of coincidences and errors cliché and overused? Absolutely. Are the supporting characters one-dimensional and underused? Without a Doubt. Does any of that matter? Not one damn bit!

Writer Aline Brosh McKenna (Devil Wears Prada), under the direction of Anne Fletcher, crafts a tale that is bitingly funny and inescapably charming. Heigl is perfect at conveying a range of emotions, from goofy to sad to resolute to vindictive. Doing an equally commendable job, as always, is Marsden, who has abandoned his clean-cut image for a rough and casual look. As with any rom-com, there is the grinding of gears as it shifts from cutesy and humorous to gloomy and downtrodden, but Fletcher manages to accomplish this without losing any momentum.

Dirty Undies
One thing that sells this film is the mostly demure yet yummy goodness of Katherine Heigl. And who couldn’t just get lost in those dreamy blue eyes and dimpled smile of James Marsden, especially with his slacker mussed-just-right hair and laid-back swagger? It’s good the main players are so scrumptious because Malin Ackerman, in her unbelievably hideous, knee-length capri pants, looks as anemic as her acting talent. Her scrawny features make Fergie seem overweight.

More than a few choice words are tossed about, but the worst of the bunch are cleverly disguised to appease delicate ears. The only major flaw in “27 Dresses” is that Judy Greer, playing Jane’s best friend, comes out the gate foul-mouthed and raunchy libido blazing only to be yanked into near extinction in the film’s second act. While it helped keep the story tight, too much Greer is never be a bad thing.

The Money Shot
A word of advice to the fellas: if you can withstand the twittering and aww-ing of your armrest neighbors, get off your duff and take your special lady friend to see this film. Not only will this get you mad brownie points for suggesting a “chick flick,” but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you’ll enjoy it .


P.S. –
I am not sure what’s up with the Fergie references!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Confessions of a Reel Whore, Part VII

After sifting my brains the past week I am ready to wrap this puppy up. Let's jump right on in shall we?

Award #11: 2007 Dirtiest Undies Award

Okay, as it was pointed out, this is also a named award so, technically, I have three named awards. But I digress. Whenever possible I like to acknowledge any appreciable measure of violence, gore, sex, nudity and general foulness in a film. And for me, the more the better. This award commends those films rife in excess, i.e., the Dirtiest of Undies.

The Sloppy Seconds:

Halloween
Black Snake Moan

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

300

No Country For Old Men

Eastern Promises

And the winner of the 2007 Dirtiest Undies Award is:

Grindhouse

tar-rod

Was there any doubt? Even if you do something lame like separating the two films, Planet Terror and Death Proof, they were still made by two of the ballsiest directors of our time. I shudder to think what the last fifteen years of my cinematic life would have been without them.

Before I announce the Best in Genre, I'd like to comment on a few misjudged movies. Every year a handful of films seem to never leave the theater, making beaucoup dollars while worth less than one thin dime. Conversely, there are far more deserving films that get their screens limited and advertising cut in order to make room for more conventional fare. Here's my tip of the hat to those Severely Underrated, and a wag of my finger at the Most Overrated films of 2007.

Severely Underrated

Most Overrated

Grindhouse

Wild Hogs

Stardust

Pirates of the Caribbean:
At World's End

The Lookout

Shrek the Third


Drumroll please!

The moment I am sure you've been waiting for since last Friday has arrived. After much reflection and internal debate I'd like to announce...

Award #12: 2007's Best and Worst By Genre:

Back on Day 1, I listed all the movies in contention for each genre. The time has come to announce the Best film of the year, the also-rans, and finally, the single Worst film that robbed minutes away from my life.

ACTION
HotFuzzMoviePoster Best: Hot Fuzz

Sloppy Seconds: 300
Sloppy Thirds: Bourne Ultimatum

Worst Attempt: Rush Hour 3

Granted, the runner-ups satisfy the conventional markers of great action: testosterone-juiced badasses fighting and killing any opposition. Hot Fuzz does it one better by serving up an action-packed extravaganza while giving a respectful jibe to those great action clichés.

On the other hand, Rush Hour 3 only proves that the evil-brother plot is lame even by jump-the-shark standards. It also proves that Chris Tucker isn't as funny as a decade ago and that Jackie Chan's gotten too old for this shit.

COMEDY
superbad-bigposter Best: Superbad

Sloppy Seconds: Knocked Up
Sloppy Thirds: The Simpsons Movie

Worst Attempt: Happily N'Ever After

Yes, without a doubt, Superbad is better than Knocked Up. Both films have that unwieldy downbeat before the final shining happy faces, and I think the former handles the transition far better. Plus, it's got the Michael Cera advantage.

Happily N'Ever After is quite a different story. Never mind the pathetic animation; I saw this for free in a theater FULL of children, and for the entire eighty-seven minutes I heard only one chuckle, and I think it was a parent desperate to break the silence.

DRAMA
before-the-devil-poster Best: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Sloppy Seconds: American Gangster
Sloppy Thirds: 3:10 to Yuma

Worst Attempt: Things We Lost in the Fire

This year's drama category has the strongest overall contenders. Before the Devil rises above American Gangster mainly because it outnumbers the latter in great performances. Hoffman, Hawke, Tomei, and Finney are at the top of their game against Washington and Crowe (even throwing in Brolin leaves you short).

Speaking of great acting, I have to give a nod to Benecio Del Toro for Things We Lost in the Fire. But even his mesmerizing presence couldn't save this. It was like watching a fish die slowly on the shore. Maybe if the cinematography was more than long close-ups of every actor’s facial tic and eyeball I might have gotten more out of it. I'm beginning to think Mira Sorvino and Halle Berry have more in common than I realized.

HORROR
Grindhouse-Posters Best: Grindhouse

Sloppy Seconds:
Behind the Mask:
The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Sloppy Thirds: Gwoemul (the Host)

Worst Attempt: Captivity

Grindhouse should be no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention this past week. Leslie Vernon is a strong second as slasher fans rejoice in this fresh new spin on the genre. Vacancy came damn close to defeating the Host, but a giant mutant fish beats a Norman Bates cliché any day of the week.

There nearly always seems to be a tie for worst when it comes to horror but this year a little film I unaffectionately refer to as "CRAPTIVITY" rises to the top. I expect very little from torture porn, but here I didn't even get that. It was an elaborate ninety-minute mind fuck, for the heroine or the audience I'm not sure. Elisha Cuthbert really needs a better agent, more respect for her admirers or both. We'll see anything for her smile and a glimpse of cleavage so stop pissing on our good intentions!

ROMANCE
once Best: Once

Sloppy Seconds:
Waitress
Sloppy Thirds: Lars and the Real Girl

Worst Attempt: Evening

If you've seen this film, you know why it’s no contest for #1 romance. The music alone is a wave of infectious emotion. And that's all I have to say about that.

Watching Evening, however, I wish I could have contracted dysentery or another intense intestinal infection that would have motivated me out of the stupor that drained my will for self-preservation. Some friends point out that I don't like romance films, which is true. My wife dragged me to see this thinking the movie could only be better than the crappy book. She was surprised to see it was, in fact, worse than anything she had imagined.

SCI-FI/FANTASY
stardust Best: Stardust

Sloppy Seconds: Transformers
Sloppy Thirds: Spider-Man 3

Worst Attempt: D-War

In an all-too-common twist, the lead in one of the worst films (Evening) is also the lead in one of the best (Stardust). I know Transformers fans are giving me the stink-eye right now, but the overall story, pacing, and universal appeal of Stardust just barely inches out my favorite childhood cartoon characters. Autobots, roll out… into the also-rans.

I went into D-War a.k.a. Dragon Wars with the lowest of expectations, naturally for pimp-looking dragons at war. Watching this movie was like entering some sort of time vortex. I was mildly amused in the beginning despite the never-ending backstory. I thought it was ten minutes from the credit roll until I checked the time; it was barely forty minutes in with forty-five more to go! I endured and D-War proved dumbfounding in a way that words cannot accurately describe.

THRILLER
no_country_for_old_men Best: No Country for Old men

Sloppy Seconds: Eastern Promises
Sloppy Thirds: The Lookout

Worst Attempt: Premonition

Aside from a few cinematic missteps, I love the Coen Brothers and No Country is just one more reason why. I am still a little shaky on the ending, but I can hardly wait to watch this again.

Premonition is the death knell of Sandra Bullock's career. I say this because I avoided Miss Congeniality 2. I honestly don't remember why I hated this so much, just that I did...and that's enough for me.


Okay, you math wizards may have noticed my genre count is only 111 when I claimed to have seen 113 films. I did see two documentary films that didn't qualify in my established genres. The King of Kong was the absolute best, a true underdog story for the ages. Rent it, watch it, love it!


Best:
King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters



Worst Attempt: 11th Hour

At the other end of the spectrum lies 11th Hour. This was a barrage of expert doomsayers verbally flaying the audiences into action. I am a defender of their cause, but I came out wanting to hose DiCaprio down with toxic sewage for undermining Al Gore's advancement in environmental sympathy.


Before I go I want to thank my local Raleigh papers, the local WB affiliate CW22, Shakefire and other assorted pushers for offering free passes throughout 2007, making my theatrical rendezvous more affordable. I'd like to give much love to my fellow movie bloggers, Fletch, Adam, and Shea for offering advice and supporting my site in its infancy. Oh, I can't forget Marilyn for recommending the site The Numbers, my new staple for movie info. Finally I’ve got to thank the wifey for enduring movies not of her taste (cough Grindhouse cough) and for editing out some of my more lewd comments. If I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize, but it was a long year.

There you have it, folks. Agree? Disagree? Ambiguous to it all? I'd love to hear what you have to say. In honor of my Top 7 of 2007, I have set up a poll on the right. Take a minute to vote on which of these seven films you think was the best.

Tomorrow I return you to my regularly formatted postings. See you then.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Confessions of a Reel Whore, Part VI

As I mentioned on Day 5, today I present two named awards. The Que Ridiculo! Award is given to those moments that are just too preposterous to believe. While I understand some films are a plethora of insane moments, even those can cross the line into WTF! territory.


Award #9: 2007 Que Ridiculo! Award

The Sloppy Seconds:


Lars And the Real Girl
lars









So the guy's got issues, right? I can totally see the townsfolk playing along until they conduct a funeral for Bianca! Sheesh, since she was only slightly used I'd post that doll on Craigslist!


Dan In Real Life The shower scene?! Dude, seriously, dude. How weak are the jokes in this film that you have to resort to this crapstick? I expect better, Mr. Carell.

I Think I Love My Wife No offense to my wife, but I believe if my head was neck-deep in Kerry Washington’s thighs and juices, me exiting stage right ain't priority #1.

Live Free Or Die Hard
bruno

McClane launches a car into a copter - sweet! Drives an SUV into an elevator -ouch! He beats the crap out of that parkour guy - nice! But B-B-B-Bruno and the Jet? Even I have to draw the line somewhere. Yeah Bruce, I'd hide, too.

1408
It's a well-known fact Samuel L. Jackson will do most anything, but I wasn't expecting to see a tiny Samuel next to the Pepsi and Red Bull in the mini-fridge! To think I was diggin’ the first half of this film.
I Am Legend
I understand being the last man on Earth living in a city of flesh-eating freaks can be stressful. Even so, if you've got so much on your plate that you don't recall moving a mannequin around NYC, then I think you need to stop fucking with Fred and focus.


And the winner of the 2007 Que Ridiculo! Award is:

Shoot 'Em Up

A perfect example of an over-the-top film. A lactating prostitute named DQ, steamy sex and simultaneous shoot-out, death by carrots - all that can be considered perfectly believable and legitimate. I cannot, however, condone the use of finger bullets! That's when you immerse bullets held between your fingers into an open fire in order to kill your adversary...Exactly.

shoot


Award #10: 2007 Paula Jai Parker Award for Most Memorable Line

The Paula Jai Parker Award recognizes the most memorable line delivered in a movie. It honors the combined wittiness of well-written dialogue with unforgettable delivery by an actor. But many of you may be saying who is Paula Jai Parker? She's an under- appreciated actress who's been on the big screen for over a decade. In the context of this award, she nabbed it not once, but twice in a row. In honor of her efforts, I renamed it in 2006 in her honor. Yes, the past happened but it’s over, isn't it? Let's get to the award.

The Sloppy Seconds:

Charlie Wilson's War - Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks)
"You know you've hit rock bottom when you're told you have character flaws by a man who hanged his predecessor in a military coup."


hot-fuzz

Hot Fuzz - PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost)

"You're off the fuckin' chain!"


Superbad - Seth (Jonah Hill)
"By the time college rolls around, I'll be like the Iron Chef of pounding vag!"


Elizabeth: The Golden Age -Queen Elizabeth I

(Cate Blanchett)

"My bitches wear my collars!"


elizabeth

Black Snake Moan - Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson)
"Watch yourself R.L., that girl be on your dick like stank on shit."


Waitress - Ogie (Eddie Jemison)
"All my life I met harlots, but you are a queen.
duh-da-duh, duh-da-duh-da, something between."


And the winner of the 2007 Paula Jai Parker Award is:

blades

Blades of Glory -
Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell)

"They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was going to go to the moon. Now he's up there, laughing at them."

If you noticed, I didn't even attempt to comment on these great lines. If you've never heard or don't remember these lines, my advice for this weekend is go, rent, and be entertained.

Unless I've lost count, I believe we are about to enter the Day 7 of the 7 days of the Confessions of a Reel Whore. Tomorrow I reveal which of the 113 films I saw this year made the best (and worst) in their respective categories. If you've come this far, what's one more day?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Confessions of a Reel Whore, Part V

Picking up where I left off in Day 4, I'd like to continue with what makes a movie memorable. One of the most important contributions to the cinematic experience is always in the supporting shadow. I am, of course, referring to the animals. To rectify this gross exclusion from the award community, I'd like to present the next award.

Award #7: Most Memorable Animals: Solo or Ensemble Performance of 2007

The Sloppy Seconds:

Pencil (Year of the Dog) - Typically insufferable SNL alum Molly Shannon gives a surprising performance that ranges from sad to neurotic. I contend that she was moved by the presence (and absence) of her accomplished supporting canine thespian.
pencil
Monkey (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) - Although new to the role of Jack, this capuchin breathes much of the life into this plodding installment of the once great franchise. Jack ignites the fireworks, gets the gun, battles the villains and stands with the minority in the rescue of Captain Jack. Not too shabby.

Snake (The Darjeeling Limited) - Like his forked tongue, this poisonous creature's presence was two-fold. It emphasized Peter's completely irresponsible and childish nature, and was the reason the Brothers Whitman found themselves ejected out of the creature comforts of the Darjeeling and into the wild.

goodluckchuck_03 Penguins (Good Luck Chuck) - I swear Alba and the penguins must have the same agent cuz they've both in tons of films in recent years. I wonder, which client is hired for its talent and not for its looks?!

Goats (Stardust) - Recently, goats seem to be demoted to filler farm characters, but there was a time when they got steady work. This lucky pair got substantial screen time by hauling Michele Pfieffer around chariot-style. Hey, everyone's gotta work.

Rat (Shoot 'Em Up) - You may remember this little fellow as an integral part of Mr. Smith's elaborate lock mechanism guarding his lair. More of a quirky appearance than a meaty role, but it's probably better than receiving scale for a scurry-on in Willard.

And the award for Most Memorable Animal: Solo or Ensemble Performance of 2007 goes to:

Samantha a.k.a. Sam

(I Am Legend)

The clear-cut winner is Abby, portraying faithful companion to Will Smith's Robert Neville. Sam proves to be the rock of determination behind Neville's cause in this overly depressing tale. Plus she gets the pleasure of having more snuggle time than Salli Richardson got.

samlegend

After recognizing the best animal performances of the year, I'd be remiss not to mention the greatest creation of a quality film. The efforts of the actor, the writer, and the director combine to create a character that makes a lasting impression on the viewer and takes the film to a whole new level. What follows are the 7 best characters this past year.


Award #8: Most Memorable Characters of 2007

The Sloppy Seconds:

bardem1 Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men): His menacing look, creepy demeanor, the whacked-out 'do, and, oh yeah, his penchant for bloodshed etches this villain into your very soul.
blanchett2 Jude Quinn (I'm Not There): Of the six representations of Dylan, Quinn is the most prolific, entertaining, crass and downright enjoyable. If only the whole film had been about shim I might have enjoyed it more.
vernon4 Leslie Vernon (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon): This title character may seem like a given, but the fresh addition of this face to the iconic-slasher circuit just warmed my heart. Vernon strikes the perfect balance between jovial personality and unyielding murderous determination.
trejo2 Machete (Grindhouse): How cool is it that a character from a fake trailer has garnered enough hype that an actual movie has been greenlit? Now that's truly a memorable feat, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a fan of Danny F'n Trejo!
hoffman2 Andy Hanson (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead): Andy is a character with a total lack of character. How dark and twisted is a man that would rob his own parents and swindles his brother into helping?


carter Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street): Don't be quick to judge the vicious Todd. His life and love were stolen. Mrs. Lovett kept his razors, withheld the truth, suggested the meat, encouraged the butchery and sold the pies. Who was the true demon of Fleet Street?

And the award for Most Memorable Character of 2007 goes to:

McLovin a.k.a Fogell

(Superbad)

18-year old high school student Fogell, a.k.a. the 25-year old McLovin from Hawaii, delivers up laugh after laugh while the main best-bud characters come to terms with growing up. He rolled with the po-po, battled street urchins and told the hot high school chick what time it was. The cinematic icon of 2007 is McLovin!

mclovin1

Join me tomorrow for Day 6 of my Confessions (assuming my fingers don't fall off while typing). The only two named prizes, the Que Ridiculo! Award and Paula Jai Parker Award, await so don't miss out!

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