Thursday, August 28, 2008

Et tu, Cheadle?

Traitor

Release: 08.27.2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 54 minutes

Second-Run Seats ($$)



When Samir Horn (Don Cheadle, Crash) was a young boy, he witnessed his Sudanese father die in a car bombing. He then grew up with his mother in Chicago and worked for the U.S. Special Forces before leaving the military after his tour in the Persian Gulf. After being picked up in Yemen for selling explosives to terrorists, Horn is interrogated by FBI agents Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce, L.A. Confidential) and Max Archer (Neal McDonough, The Hitcher) about his terrorist ties. While in prison, Horn befriends a fellow Muslim, Omar (Said Taghmaoui, Vantage Point), who offers him a life filled with devout purpose by fighting the American agressors.

Like Agent Clayton, I had a feeling. He felt Samir Horn was more than he appeared. Based on the trailer, I felt Traitor would be full of twists and turns. Clayton was right; I was wrong. tells it straight and doesn't cut any corners, not a single one. Written by Steve Martin (TraitorShopgirl) and Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow), who also directed, Traitor thoroughly explores the motivations of a devout Muslim and the propoganda that is used to enlist him into the terrorist cause. Audiences watch Horn deal explosives, practice Islam and battle his conscience, crafting a rich, relatable character.

Thanks to Cheadle's performance, my attention was rapt, waiting for the simmering terrorist plot to boil over. Somehow it never really did. Sure, Cheadle got to kick butt and Pearce got to sling some Southern swagger. Jeff Daniels (Blood Work) even put down his sandwich long enough to film four scenes, but by the time the crescendo came, I had long since tapped out. Despite an interesting premise, the methodical structure wrings the umph from the film. I walked out thinking this was the longest two and a half hours of my life. To my surprise, I had been held captive less than two hours.

Dirty Undies
I'll say it again: Cheadle does lay down a few serious ass-whuppins. He also gets the living hell beat out of him and gets to blow shit up a few times. The nerve-wracking conspiracies may make you think twice about that foreign barista next time you visit the Starfucks. If you are a paranoid-profiler type, maybe you should sit this one out.

The Money Shot
You really can't go wrong with a film starring the excellent Don Cheadle. You can go wrong if you go looking for anything beyond Cheadle's performance. Essentially, the string of solid performances, from Cheadle to Pearce to Taghmoui, gets smothered by the film itself. Traitor not only betrays its actors, it betrays us all.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Huh, huh, you said "Poll" (08.27.08)

Your voices have been heard! Wait, don't remember what you were shouting about?

Well stargazers, with all the hub-bub surrounding The Dark Knight I wanted to know which of the Bat minions deserved their own film?

Here's what you decided:

Jason Todd - Robin: 0 votes
Tim Drake - Robin: 0 votes
No surprise here, decades after his introduction Jason Todd is still loathed by the masses. I'm shocked Tim gets no love. Obviously no fans of the Teen Titans cartoon voted.

Dick Grayson - Robin: 1 vote
I have to wonder; are the red, green and yellow tights really a turn off?! Must be, because the combined total for all three Robins amounts to 1 whopping vote. At least the vote went to the original Boy Wonder.

Dick Grayson - Nightwing: 2 votes
Barbara Gordon - Batgirl: 2 votes

Cassandra Cain - Batgirl: 2 votes
The adult Robin seems to sit more favorably with the crowd, or maybe just the idea of an extremely buff crime-fighting man in package-enhancing leggings does the trick. Likewise, the Batgirls tie with Nightwing for second place. Having to choose between a super-intelligent, super-hot redhead or a smokin' Asian woman with mad fighting skills, both in form-fitting leather would be tough.

Herein lies my favorite, Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. I believe her assassin upbringing, pursuit of crime fighting and desire to live a normal life makes for the most easily adaptable story. Her mentor is primarily Barbara Gordon and to a lesser extent Batman, meaning we can still have the hot redhead but avoid making the film all about the Big Bat. Plus, I'd love to see Zhang Ziyi, Vicky Zhao or Iwa Moto poured into black le
ather, beating down any and every baddy she meets. Who wouldn't?!

(I say again, who wouldnt'!)

None, Batman don't need no help!: 3 votes
Unbelievable! You have spoken and the resounding word is keep the Batman movies coming, but please, for the love of all that is holy, stop the god-dambed spin-offs! As long as they continue to make compelling Batman films, let's not mess it up. You have nothing to worry about stargazers. Warner Brothers develops superhero films about as fast as a mountain moves.

The New Poll
Late August through October is normally the time of year when we're knee deep in cheap horror thrills to hype the Halloween season. I was perusing IMDB's coming attractions and noticed, with the exception of Quarantine and Saw V, this year's horror pickings are slim. Since we have nothing accurately labeled as horror, I want to know which of these September-October releases scares the Bejesus out of you?

(How does Trick 'r Treat go straight to DVD? Thanks Warner Brothers!)

Bangkok Dangerous: Nicolas Cage and someone's hair in Bangkok with a gun.
The Family That Preys: The latest, but probably not greatest, Tyler Perry film.
My Best Friend's Girl: Kate Hudson with love interest Jason Biggs?!?
Eagle Eye: Wannabe Saw premise wrapped around a gooey Shia LeBeouf center.
Nights in Rodanthe: With Sparks's help, can Diane Lane make this her third flop in '08?
Beverly Hills Chihuahua: CGI chihuahuas; I think Center Seat said it best.


Now, go vote! The poll will be up until September 5, when the first of these frightening offerings releases.

(Creepy!)

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Quickie: Son of Rambow

Son of Rambow
Release: 05.02.08
DVD Release: 08.26.08
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 36 minutes

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


When the teacher rolls in the cart with the telly, that's the cue for Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) to move out to the hall and wait until the educational video finishes. His religion's rules forbid television, but ironically, they give him the opportunity to meet delinquent Lee Carter (Will Poulter). Lee Carter is a mischeivous little shit who is constantly bucking the system and swindling everyone he meets. Lee Carter tricks Will into literally chauffering him home. It is there Will is exposed to his first film while hiding from Lee Carter's older brother (Ed Westwick,
Children of Men). Will watches the climactic battle sequences of First Blood, and the creativity the bootleg sparks soon drowns his devout commitment.

Lee Carter enlists Will as the stuntman for his submission into an amateur film contest. The one stipulation: that Will be the son of Rambow! I grew up in the country and remember as a child that every rusted-out car and dilapidated barn was a source of fun limited only by my imagination. In much the same respect, Will and Lee Carter's total disregard for personal safety or their physical limitations is perfect. As Will is catapulted and launched for the good of the film, you watch as the friendship between the two grows. Audiences witness how the newfound popularity the boys find at school, especially from suave French exchange student Didier Revol (Jules Sitruk), and the family tension it causes for Will whittles away at their fast friendship.

Milner and Poulter's performances, while not stellar, were fun to watch. Will's drawings and imaginations are animated over the landscapes where the kids frolic, thanks to the vision of writer-director Garth Jennings (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). It was easily discernible that the film's creator most likely thought in much the same way as Will in his formative years. The supporting performances were amusing, especially that of Sitruk, who slowly and deliberately creeps into the lead role of the boys' project.

Honestly, even though I watched this back in May, it feels as if it was the early eighties. The wacky situations the two get themselves into left the most lasting impression, but I vaguely recall the more serious repercussions of their friendship (Will's religion and Lee Carter's overbearing brother) stumbling the momentum of
Son of Rambow. It's definitely worth the watch, especially now that you can do so for the price of a rental.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jesus Christ. A Time Machine. Hamlet. Tucson.

Hamlet 2
Release: 08.22.08 (limited); 08.27.08 (wide)
Rated R
1 hour, 32 minutes

Full Price ($$$$)


If you'd asked me last year what those four things had in common, I would've said, not a damn thing. But now, it's a simple answer:
Hamlet 2.

Teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story), in order to save his high school drama program from the chopping block (and simultaneously prove his worth as a thespian and human being) crafts a sequel to a Shakespearean classic. The result, Hamlet 2, resurrects the entire cast through a plot device, Jesus Christ in a time machine. Let the fun and heresy begin.

Marschz (pronounced Marshesz...maybe) lives the age old adage, those who can't, teach. After accepting defeat as an actor, he resides in the armpit of America, Tucson, with his wife Brie (Cathering Keener, 40 Year-Old Virgin) and their housemate Gary (David Arquette, Scream). As the struggling teacher and husband, Coogan is absolutely brilliant. He aspires to inspire young minds with theater in the vein of Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds, yet he can't inspire his own seed to find perch within Brie's womb. The conception of his play changes everything. Once invisible to others, he soon becomes despised for simultaneously ruining a classic, taking the Lord's name in vain and defiling America. As the few strands of his self-worth slip from his grasp, Marschz's students must rally together to refocus him on making opening night a success.

Besides solid performances from Keener and the mostly silent Arquette, students Rand (Skylar Astin), Epiphany (Phoebe Strole), Octavio (Joseph Julian Soria) and Ivonne (Melonie Diaz, Be Kind Rewind) provide a tons of hilarity with their quirky characters. Amy Poehler (Baby Mama) also appears as balls-to-the-wall attorney Cricket Feldstein who comes to defend the play from litigation.

Writer Pam Brady (Hot Rod) and director Andrew Fleming (The Craft), with contributions by Steve Coogan, penned a script that steadily builds from mild chuckles to a cacophony of laughter. When I saw a sneak preview, there were times when the clever dialogue was lost to the audience's guffaws.

Dirty Undies
Coogan's Jesus does, in fact, make me wanna sing Rock Me Sexy Jesus. If you don't have love for sexy Jesus, there's always the cute Melonie Diaz and, let us not forget, everyone's favorite babysitter, Elisabeth Shue (The Saint), who appears as herself, in all her yummy goodness. If you've found the crude commentary of South Park offensive over the years, some of the dialogue from Hamlet 2, is not for you.

The Money Shot
Some may remember that in my Summer of LAMB prediction, I made the pronouncement that either Son of Rambow or Hamlet 2 would be this year's Little Miss Sunshine. I'm now satisfied that I was at least half right Hamlet 2 will be this summer's breakout success. Help make my prediction a reality. If you don't, I'll feel as if I have been raped in the face.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ain't No Party Like an Anna Faris Party!

The House Bunny
Release: 08.22.08
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 37 minutes

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


Shelley (Anna Faris, Just Friends) lives the glamorous life at the Playboy Mansion with Hef and the girls, but it wasn't always that way. Shelley grew up in an orphanage and longed for the days when she could be part of a family. Life couldn't be better until her Bunny family boots her out on her surgically perfected buttocks. Her luck changes when Zeta House, a sorority at the local college, finds itself in danger of losing its charter because of low membership. The less than popular loners, led by Natalie (Emma Stone, Superbad), are in dire need of fresh ideas. Shelley steps in as their housemother and makes the sisters step up their game.

Confession time: I have been dying to see this film since the first trailer. I laughed heartily every time I saw the manhole scene. You know the one I'm talking about:


Why? Because Anna Faris is awesome! I had lofty expectations that she, with her great comedic timing, would be able to carry even the most simplified of premises, but how simple was it?
The House Bunny is a Happy Madison production that follows a predictable outline, relying on the actors to make or break the movie. Great examples of this include Grandma's Boy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and, I can now happily add, The House Bunny. These films, despite signaling their outcome during the opening credits, are slightly off-color yet endearing enough that you can't help but smile.

I not only smiled, but laughed steadily. I never fell out of my seat clutching my sides, but I never found myself squirming during awkwardly played scenes like in the other August comedies Step Brothers, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder. Faris commits to the well-intentioned airhead with gusto. Emma Stone, with her husky Kathleen Turner voice, totally sells being an ├╝berdork.

Faris was friggin' funny! Stone was friggin funny! Rumer Willis (Hostage)? Funny! Dana Goodman (You Don't Mess With the Zohan)? Creepy and funny! Kiely Williams (The Cheetah Girls). Brief but funny. Kat Dennings (40 Year-Old Virgin)? Friggin' funny. Katherine McPhee? Surprisingly funny! Kimberly Makkouk. Briefest but funny.

The film features minor roles for 'That Guy' and 'That Gal' Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore) and Beverly D'Angelo (Vacation) and you'll catch a few Happy Madison regulars in cameos, too. I was surpised to see Natalie's love interest played by All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter, or Bizarro Tom Welling, as I like to call him. Hugh Hefner mangled a couple of his scenes, but the man's pounded more vag than I can fathom, so I got nothing but love for him. Point is despite the deep and varied cast, everyone contributes scenes that keep the pace peppy.

Dirty Undies
The ladies may not have looked like much in the photo above, but dayum, they clean up nice:

Anna Faris is friggin' hot! Emma Stone is friggin' hot! Kat Dennings is luscious-lips friggin hot! Katherine McPhee is fake-baby-belly friggin' hot! Um, you get the point. Even better, Faris fans get a glimpse of derriere, thanks to some body double complications. We also get to hear Faris shout random obscenities, which always help liven up a PG-13 affair.

The Money Shot
I saw this by my lonesome and folks asked me where the wifey was for this chick flick. I wouldn't call it a chick flick; nor does the premise draw the male demographic. It straddles the line by giving both genders something to enjoy. I wanted to give The House Bunny an out-and-out Full Price, but I had to be honest with myself. Some of the acting is bad, the plot is thin and the resolution is slapped together with a quickness. But Anna Faris got her chance to shine and she made me laugh doing it, so does all that other stuff matter?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, August 18, 2008

Expect Tropic Thunder with Scattered Bursts of Laughter

Tropic Thunder
Release: 08.13.08
Rated R

1 hour, 47 minutes


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



People say that
The Dark Knight was a barrage of advertising for the better part of the last two years. I agree, I saw more than my share of brooding trailers prior to its release. Why aren't people chastising Tropic Thunder for the same excessive marketing? After seeing it, I debated long and hard what sort of impact the trailers had on my opinion. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

If you somehow missed the trailers, the produced, written and directed by Ben Stiller Tropic Thunder stars Robert Downey, Jr (Natural Born Killers), Jack Black (Envy) and Ben Stiller (Zoolander) as three prima donna actors filming a Vietnam war epic based on the amazing true story of vet Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte, U Turn). When first-time helmer Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan, Hamlet 2) sees his film slipping away, he takes Tayback's advice to dump the cast into the real jungle, and consequently, harm's way, when they are mistaken for D.E.A. agents by the local drug cartel.

After the one-millionth trailer, the cast's special appearances on shows such as The Idol and all the foundless controversary drummed up by the media, I should have been sufficiently brainwashed to embrace Tropic Thunder. My favorite line in the trailers and the film was delivered by Downey's Kirk Lazarus; "Man, just cuz it's a theme song don't make it not true." Hilarious. But is it okay to laugh at Downey in blackface? Some folks who took issue with that were just retarded...or was being retarded the controversy? Stiller's Tugg Speedman character goes all Corky in a movie role and the backlash in both the content of Tropic Thunder and in our media creates more controversy.

I'd like to start my own controversy about Tropic Thunder: where are the women?! Two early August comedies, Step Brothers and Pineapple Express, dropped the ball on providing some much needed estrogen, but at least they had women in their stories. The only women I remember in Tropic Thunder are a verbal reference to Jamie Lee Curtis and a cameo by Christine Taylor. Honestly, who did Christine have to blow to get that role...oh yeah, nevermind. I love Bill Hader, but couldn't he have skipped being in one comedy this year to throw Kristen Wiig a bone? Heck, I would have settled for a "Me so horny. Me love you long time." stereotype if it meant there was some feminity in the depths of the jungle.

Maybe the vaginal absence is part of the brilliant satire of Tropic Thunder; women are so underwritten in films, Stiller & Co. wrote them as nonexistent. I did enjoy the satirical spin on characters like the studio head played hilariously by Tom Cruise (Magnolia). It was ingenious that the lead black actor is portrayed by Downey's hot-head Australian Oscar favorite instead of a credible and accomplished African-American actor. Even Jack Black's drug-addled sad funnyman had moments that were surprisingly funny. Brandon T. Jackson (Roll Bounce), the rapper-turned-actor with his shrewd product placement and Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up) as the fledgling actor living his dream were also well-placed satire, though both needed more screentime while Stiller could have used a great deal less.

Dirty Undies
Tropic Thunder is a cacophany of foul language, blank firing machine guns and ejaculatory pyrotechnics by Cody (Danny R. McBride, Pineapple Express). There are geysers of corn syrup blood and then there's the CGI blood that looks more goofy than gross.

The Money Shot
Tropic Thunder started with an uproarious hootnanny but quickly slipped into unfunny stints and this pattern cycled throughout the film's length. The establishing shots and the classic rock soundtrack set the war epic vibe perfectly. Performances by Downey, Cruise and McConaughey (Frailty) leave the most lasting impressions. Having not seen two of those three stars in the trailers, the trailer ultra-hype killed stunted the hilarity and shock value of Tropic Thunder.

I've noticed a disturbing trend in August; the comedies are becoming marginally improved with each week's releases. At this rate I forecast Rainn Wilson's The Rocker and Anna Faris's House Bunny to be worthy of full price admission, and the release of Disaster Movie and College on the 29th will most likely blow our fucking minds! Then again, maybe not.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

In the immortal words of Tony Toni Tone, "do you know what today is...It's Our Anniversary!" Well, technically, it could be called our birthday. One year ago today, the Reel Whore site had its cherry popped with its very first post. I want to thank all of the visitors who have discovered my little corner of the interweb and double thanks to those who have come time and again. In honor of this special day, I decided to pay tribute to my famous cohorts who share this special day.

Happy 50th, Angela Bassett!
(Like a fine wine, you are)


Happy 23rd, Agnes Bruckner!
(23 will be your year)


Happy 54th, James Cameron!
(We're excited about this one)


Happy 46th, Steve Carell!
(Extreme Awesometicity follows)


Happy 28th, Vanessa Carlton!
(Why is she not rocking the huge venues!?)


Happy 78th, Robert Culp!
(Fingers crossed for the Greatest American Hero movie)


Happy 62nd, Lesley Ann Warren!
(Good to see you working again)


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US ALL!


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Memorium

By now, you have heard the disheartening news that we lost two great men last weekend. Bernie Mac passed away Saturday followed by Isaac Hayes Sunday. There's been plenty of blog posts, articles and news specials over the week about their life, but my mind has been mulling the loss of these two creative men all week. Today, I present an especially memorable moment that I loved from each of them.

Bernie Mac
October 5, 1957 -August 9, 2008

--Clip from The Original Kings of Comedy (NSFW)--



Isaac Hayes

August 20, 1942 - August 10, 2008

--Walk on By; music video from Dead Presidents soundtrack--



Gentlemen, you will be missed.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who's That Lady? - Beth Grant

Welcome stargazers to the second installment of my series Who's That Lady?. Taking a page out of the Blog Cabins playbook, I have given an estrogen infusion to the category of actors with Familiar Faces - Unknown Names. You know who I'm talking about; those women who inspire you to exclaim, "Hey, that's the chick from that other show/movie/video that we watched way back when." If you check out this weekend's limited release Henry Poole Is Here you may find yourself saying...

Who's That Lady?
Beth Grant




A lady of Southern sophistication, Beth Grant was born in Gadsden, Alabama and is a graduate of East Carolina University (North Cakalack Represent!). According to her IMDB page, she is credited with a staggering 123 movies, TV series and other projects sometimes in the role of 'Mother' or 'Woman'. With so many gigs, it's hard to narrow down her three best.

3 Unforgettable Roles
Speed - If I were embroiled in a hostage situation with Keanu Reeves in control
and Sandra Bullock driving the bus, I'd probably try to jump to safety given the first opportunity. As Helen, Beth's frazzled nerves and grating screams make you really feel the grave threat the passengers face.

TV: Angel - In the episode Rm w/a Vu, Cordy discovers that her dream apartment is haunted by a nightmarish ghost. The disturbing part is that the sinister spectre is the maniacal mother Maude Pearson. Mrs. Grant coats Maude with her trademark sickly sweet sincerity in a role that will have you inspecting every wall in your home.

Donnie Darko - As parent and teacher Kitty Farmer, Beth shines. I can't explain how awesomely she does this anal retentive role. Let me say she perfectly delivers lines like "If you feel the need to vomit up there, just swallow it" and "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!"

Honorable Mentions: Mrs. Grant was the uppity pageant judge in Little Miss Sunshine. Chucky beat her to death with a yardstick in Child's Play 2. She mistook helium-inflated sex dolls for the Rapture in the HBO series Six Feet Under.

Saw it, but even I don't remember her in it!
With over a hundred roles in her career I am sure more than one of these performances escaped my attention. Here are a few films I'd check out a second time just to savor her contribution.

Films: Flatliners, A Time to Kill, Lawn Dogs, Rock Star, Flags of Our Fathers, TV: Malcom in the Middle, Love Field

Strict schoolmarm, irritating mother or mother-in-law, holier-than-thou neighbor are all roles Beth Grant has been called upon time and again to play. The reason she has so many credits is because she consistently hits the mark. In addition to her film and television credits, she has appeared in over thirty plays. To find out more about Beth Grant's career and accolades, be sure to check out her IMDB and Wikipedia
pages.

I'm not sure if I'll be chomping at the bit to check out Henry Poole Is Here anytime soon. I am sure that when I do get around to watching it, I will enjoy Beth's role immensely.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Trying to Pass Snicklefritz off as Top Bud

Pineapple Express


Release: 08.06.2008
Rated R
1 hour, 51 minutes

Matinee ($$$)




I admit I have never been much for films featuring drug use. Mostly, I avoided the nasty dramatized films that featured sunken-eyed druggies with gaping sores struggling with their addictions. I was always more forgiving for the comedic stoner films. Superbad scribes Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg definitely intrigued me with the concept of mixing off-beat stoner humor with a good 'ol action romp.

The premise is that process server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen, Knocked Up) witnesses a violent murder while on his way to serve Ted Jones (Gary Cole, Office Space). Panicked, he runs to his drug dealer, Saul (James Franco, Spider-Man), and the two go on the lam before they are killed for what they know.

Franco is friggin' awesome as bud-dealin', bud-smokin' Saul. He is goofy, charismatic and fun every minute he is onscreen. Rogen continues to play the self-effacing smart-ass capably. A rising favorite of myself and my wife, Danny R. 'Bust-Ass' McBride (Hot Rod), appears as drug middleman Red, who had us in stitches, and not just because of his ridiculous hi-top fade.

Pineapple Express doesn't struggle in the acting or the stoner comedy aspect; it fails in two other respects. Its first weakness lies in its action. One moment, the action parodies those great cheesy action flicks of my wonder years, but at other times, it plays it straight. I enjoyed the realistic aspects to some of the fights and chases, but felt confused when other scenes emphasized the unbelievable. Perfect examples of this are the would-be hitmen hunting our two dope-smoking protagonists, played by Kevin Corrigan (Superbad) and Chris Robinson (Knocked Up). To make the action pay off, director David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls) really should have picked one path, either parody or serious, and stuck with it.

The second unforgivable weakness is the blatant misuse of the villains, in particular Gary Cole. Any action film worth its weight will balance the protagonists' struggle with the villains' motivations. Cole exudes the smarmy drug kingpin vibe, but his scenes are too few and too brief. His henchwoman, Carol (Rosie Perez, White Men Can't Jump), speaks maybe three complete lines. The result? Pineapple Express has these vapid, awkward moments between weed jokes and action scenes that could have easily been filled with crucial villain development. The final confrontation just lacks....something. Even the Asian mob with whom Cole's character is battling feels like a tagged-on excuse to use Apatow regular Ken Jeong (Knocked Up).

Dirty Undies

Despite dogging out the structure of the action, I have to praise Express for providing excessive bloodshed, gunfire and death. However, I think our duo smokes more joints than villains. There's definitely plenty of vulgar shit-talking and absolutely no sex, unless you get turned on by Rogen in his skidmarked tighty-whiteys. And here I was hoping to see those D's, motherfucker, D's, Rosie Perez!

The Money Shot
Pineapple Express turned out to be the second comedy this month that failed to be hilarious despite having an abundance of Jew fros and man-child humor. The Apatow crew may want to lay off the weed; the smoke might tarnish their shine.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Why I Deserve the Big Bucks, Vol. 1

I came here to critique Pineapple Express, but two articles inflamed my thought process. Knowing I am already way behind in my posts, yet I could not let this stand. I have long believed my calling does not lie in being a government mule, nor does it lie in scrawling out my cheeky opinions of the latest films. I belong on the other side of the silver screen. If I were in charge, here's the direction I'd take on:

I. Universal Acquires Jordan's Wheel of Time: The Wheel of Time series has long been touted as our time's Lord of the Rings. Robert Jordan crafted a mythical world that spans eleven books containing thousands of pages. Jordan died earlier this year, but the twelfth and final installment is still scheduled for release in 2009.

I thoroughly enjoy this series and for years my friends, also fans of the series, balked whenever I expressed how I'd love to see this vivid storytelling onscreen. They all said, "It won't work. It's too long. There's too much detail. There's too many characters." My friends are exactly right. I always thought this would make a poor film series because if the studio wasn't willing to put the money behind it, the effects, and subsequently, the film would suffer. I have long proposed the Wheel of Time series be produced for high-end television viewing a la Showtime or HBO. As an ongoing series, the twelve book story could receive the attention it deserves; all the characters could be featured and better developed than in a feature film. Are you listening, Universal? You may want the next Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter moneymaker, but fantasy fans are picky and you will rue the day that you screw this up.


II. Darren Lynn Bousman Wants a Western Leprechaun Movie: Saw sequel director Bousman is, evidently, as big a fan of Warwick Davis' Leprechaun films as I am. The six-film series is being eyed by Bousman as his next project. His concept is to place the Leprechaun in the Old West via a time-machine plot device and let the fun ensue. A Western Leprechaun film is an intriguing idea, but my long-churning take trumps Mr. Bousman's any day of the week, if I do say so myself.

I'm going to cop out and not give any details of my idea for fear of it being bogarted over the interweb, but it gives Warwick Davis the opportunity to shine with plenty of action, science fiction, romance, magic and, let's not forget, horror. Don't worry, fans; it will not be as painful to watch as Leprechaun 4: In Space but it will be as surprisingly amusing as Leprechaun 3, a.k.a. 'Lep in Vegas.' If Lionsgate gives you the greenlight to direct the seventh installment, Mr. Bousman, tap my idea to re-energize the franchise. Let's just keep Jennifer Aniston away from the time machine lest she tries to put a LA Gear-clad foot up her own ass for being in the first Leprechaun installment.

***

I think that's enough free advice for one night. That's why I deserve the big bucks.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, August 11, 2008

Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and John C. Reilly...

Step Brothers
Release: 08.01.08
Rated R
1 hour, 35 minutes

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


"You gotta fuck one, kill one and marry one, go!" That's just one of the plethora of utterly asinine exclamations from the minds of the three gentlemen pictured above. It's also a question I found myself asking as I pondered my feelings for Step Brothers.

But I digress. If you don't know, Step Brothers is the story of Dale Doback (John C. Reilly, Walk Hard) and Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell, Kicking & Screaming). They are two forty-year-old men (and presumed virgins) whose respective father and mother, played by Richard Jenkins (Say It Isn't So) and Mary Steenburgen (Elf), get hitched. That in itself should be a happy event, except Dale and Brennan still live with their parental units. Now the duo must learn to share the spoiled spotlight. Hijinks and hilarity ensue; at least, that was the plan.

The answer to my question is no contest: fuck John C. Reilly, kill Adam McKay and marry Will Ferrell. Why? I love Reilly and he's almost the marrying type. He's a multi-talented actor of stage and screen. He's given great performances both serious and ridiculous (this one the latter) but let's face it, he's been working his way up the stardom ladder for a long time and is used to a good pounding. Plus, he looks all plush and pliable. He loses the ring to Will Ferrell who, career-wise, is a consistent treat to watch. He can play the hell out of the cowbell and he just looks like a cuddler. I'd kill Adam McKay because I feel he's the Rob Schneider of the partnership. I always thought Chris Kattan was going to ride Ferrell's coattails into adequate stardom, but it's becoming increasingly apparent McKay is the leech.

Anchorman and Talladega Nights were really, really funny...in parts. Step Brothers made me burst into laughter as Reilly described his young-calf machismo and as Ferrell 'tainted' Reilly's drum set. I sat back snickering as the Shake-n-Bake duo tossed ad libbed insults across their shared bedroom. Then I stopped laughing. McKay's SNL writer-director skills surface as he draws out this three-minute skit into an awkward sequence of randomness. Problem is, this concept is threadbare and frayed when stretched over the film's ninety-minute runtime. In fact, when Step Brothers takes on the semblance of a plot in the final act, the stench of SNL randomness pervades its resolution like an onion and ketchup fart.

Dirty Undies
Reilly and Ferrell have a knack for two things in Step Brothers: bruise-inducing physical comedy and Tourrett's-induced exclamations of profanity and vulgarity. Wifey finds it disturbing yet comical when I string together random words like 'vaginal discharge' and 'monkey tits,' but I got nothing on these guys. Reilly's Dale experiences sexual situations that are more disturbing than amusing. Ferrell breaks out the huevos for all to enjoy - hmm, I wonder if flashing those gave him that marrying edge?

The Money Shot
Step Brothers has enough funny moments to make it watchable, but be prepared to suffer through dangling plotlines, sloppy edits, and a cameo from the excruciatingly painful Horatio Sanz (Road Trip) trying to jump the sinking Fallon ship. They do sport some cool retro tees, even if the Star Wars one is overused. Let me close with a quote from Will Ferrell, "In the galaxy of This Sucks Camel Dicks." Yeah, take that as you will.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, August 8, 2008

Huh, huh, you said "Poll" (08.08.08)

I don't know how many of you have heard, but there's a motion picture that's been creating a bit of buzz around the water cooler. I believe it's called The Dark Knight. Thanks to this little movie that could, there have been many posts concerning the next installment. Nick at R2D2 and Matte Havoc both ponder the questions; Who will be the next set of villains to opposed Batman? and which villains, if any, will be returning to combat the caped crusader? Over at He Shot Cyrus, elgringo proposed a valid query; Why don't we have a Robin movie?

The latter question got me thinking. With the landslide success of the Batman franchise, would Warner Brothers, in their usual rush to get yet another superhero franchise launched, use the success of the Batman series to bring one of his minions' stories to light?

Understand me, I'm not advocating adding them into the next installment of the Batman series. (I hear Bale refuses to be Batman if he has to have a Boy Wonder). I am asking which character deserves their own film. The poll is off to the right. Here's your choices:

Dick Grayson
a.k.a. Robin

The first Robin, the sidekick that started it all. A circus performer who watched his parents murdered, he was taken in by billionaire Bruce Wayne and quickly began fighting crime by his side. As he ages, he abandons the mantle of Robin to become Nightwing, but that's a whole other story.


Barbara Gordon
a.k.a. Batgirl

Daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon who takes on the mantle of the Bat by her own choosing. Has an on/off relationship with Dick Grayson. Eventually paralyzed by the Joker, yet continues to fight crime as the computer genius, Oracle.


Jason Todd
a.k.a. Robin

The second character to wear the red, yellow and green. Todd was a street orphan that Batman catches trying to jack the Batmobile. He eventually earns his place alongside Batman but his douchebag attitude makes him the target of fanboy ire. The result; he is killed by the Joker...though he's still alive today. Again, that's a whole other story.

Dick Grayson
a.k.a Nightwing

Again with Grayson? Some would argue that watching a young Robin fighting crime would be hella lame so why not kick start the film with the adult years of Grayson. As Nightwing, Grayson balances life as a crimefighter with his day job as a police officer. That's dedication.



Cassandra Cain
a.k.a Batgirl

The second woman to wear the symbol. Cassandra was isolated and raised to be the ultimate assassin by her father. On her first mission, the sinister nature of what she's done causes her to flee. With the help of Oracle she learns to live a normal life. Well, as normal a life a crime fighter with unmatched martial arts skills can have.

Tim Drake
a.k.a. Robin

The third incarnation of Robin is a young man of exceptional skill. With the focus, determination and detective skills of Batman, Drake deduces the identity of Batman to be Bruce Wayne. Over time, issues in his family and his continuing assistance on cases bring him into the fold of the Bat Family.

Comic fans may notice that I left more than a few out of the list. Helena Bertinelli (Huntress), Stephanie Brown (Robin) and even Azrael crossed my mind, but they are more like cousins of the Bat Family than those listed above. Of those listed I have my favorite, but I'll keep it to myself until the votes are tabulated. I can't wait to see the results.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.



Release: 07.18.2008

Rated PG-13
2 hours, 32 minutes

> FULL PRICE ($$$$)

LAMBScore:


Thanks to my vacay, I came a bit late to
The Dark Knight. For the seventeen of you in the world that have yet to see this film and the gaggles of readers who have been waiting with bated breath, let's see what the Whore has to say about the biggest film of the year.

The Dark Knight picks up some time after the events of Batman Begins with Batman (Christian Bale, The Prestige) continuing to fight crime on the mean streets of Gotham. As the caped crusader works with Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element) to take down Gotham's crime bosses, an individual known only as the Joker (Heath Ledger, I'm Not There) is threatening the city as well as its established mob syndicates. On the flipside, District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart, Thank You For Smoking) is quickly rising as Gotham's shining knight within the Halls of Justice. As Batman, Gordon and Dent pledge to eradicate the city's organized crime, their targets employ the Joker to put the interfering bat out of commission.

Writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento) returns to the Batman franchise, crafting a tale with Jonathan Nolan (Memento) and David S. Goyer (Blade) that attains a structure and momentum unseen in comic-book adaptations to date. Mob bosses divvy up the City's burrows, dirty cops sell their colleagues to the wolves, gangs of bat-inspired vigilantes wreak as much havoc as the madmen who attempt to carve their own initials into Gotham's underbelly. Painting these mainstays of Gotham into the film gives the story a vibrance and solidifies the hefty burden Batman and his like-minded partners have shouldered. In simpler comic book tales, we see the central hero battle against one, maybe two villains who are hellbent on a singular purpose. In the Dark Knight we see Gotham as a festering mass, with the Joker erupting from its epicenter as a whole new kind of evil, a product of his surroundings much like Batman.

With the world's stage set, the actors come to play. Bale remains phenomenal as Batman and playboy Bruce Wayne. Oldman just breathes the integrity of Gordon. The hype surrounding Ledger's final performance is far from hype; within the first few moments of his official introduction to the mob, I was sold that a) he is the Joker and b) this film was going to kick ass. And yes, Aaron Eckhart made me believe in Harvey Dent. Returning cast members Michael Caine (Quills)and Morgan Freeman (Unleashed) add a jovial and fatherly counterbalance to Batman's brooding. The character of Rachel Dawes, now played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Criminal), is a breath of fresh air. Gyllenhaal asserts Dawes as a woman who is both fearful of the path the men in her life tread and steadfast to weather the turmoil. Eric Roberts (It's My Party) plays devilish well and I look forward to seeing what he and Anthony Michael Hall (TV: The Dead Zone) will contribute to the next installment of this franchise.


Dirty Undies
To say Dark Knight is a dark tale is an understatement. The Joker is represented at his best when he's conceived as coldly calculating yet seemingly random. His wanton destruction, murder and callousness are so dark and devious they'll send a shiver down your spine. All the doom and gloom is lit up by explosions that leave massive carnage in their wake. The fight and chase sequences have only improved from Batman Begins with the camerawork yielding more blunt impact and fewer jittery sequences. Though it has a PG-13 rating, expect a film that emits an R-rated tone.

The Money Shot
If you haven't seen The Dark Knight by now, shame on you or whoever has kept you from it.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

More Than a Mouthful (08.06.08)

Hey Stargazers! If you remember about a month back I posted my selections for the LAMBs Top 10 Comedies.


(Venkman's been recruiting again!)

As I completed my third submission into the LAMB Top 10s, I was reminded at how much I suck at generating these lists. I only had a single film in the Top 10 Comedy list, and not surprisingly, it wasn't Booty Call. Prior to my vacation I sloughed through all my favorite action-adventure films and generated the following list:

My LAMB Top 10 Action-Adventure Films (pre-Dark Knight)
10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
09. Batman
08. Batman Begins
07. The Spy Who Loved Me
06. Superman
05. Kill Bill
04. Spider-Man 2
03. Die Hard
02. Robocop
01. Goldfinger

(Bat nipples exclude a film from Top 10 consideration)

If you notice, a whopping three of my selections made the LAMBs final list. Honestly, I could pick ten James Bond films alone that would fill the Top 10 Action/Adventure list. People may poo-poo my list for not having the beloved Star Wars or Lord of the Rings films but I'm sorry those are sci-fi/fantasy and in a whole other category. One could argue the same for superhero films, but whateva!

The current Top 10 voting is devoted to horror. I was surprised as I cast my ballot that some of my favorite films didn't make my own Top 10 cut! (What does that say about the inner workings of my mind?!)

(Undead and cute, a winning combination)

My LAMB Top 10 Horror Films
10. Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors
09. Bubba Ho-tep
08. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
07. Candyman
06. May
05. Army of Darkness
04. American Psycho
03. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
02. Gremlins
01. Silence of the Lambs

(Chillaxin' with the Candyman, aka Tony Todd!)

Even I couldn't believe that not a single installment of Friday the 13th made my list. Both the original and Part VI: Jason Lives were damn close mind you. Also, I love werewolves more than anything yet the Howling got nudged out of the running. None of the Stephen King films made the list, which made my wife ask "has there ever been a truly awesome adaptation of his books?" I made the assumption the Top 10s were to be only theatrical films so the made-for-TV miniseries for Stephen King's IT was not included. That, my friends, is the freakiest thing I've ever seen on television and I've seen Will & Grace. For that matter, it's probably my favorite of the King adaptations.

What do you think about my mind's eye? Did I choose wisely in my Comedy, Action/Adventure and Horror lists or did I make any egregious errors? I took the liberty of filling this post with a few choice photos from my Comic Con trip. I am still fine tuning my albums, but the Reel Whore's complete photo journals will be available very soon.


Mistress Malice: After Dark Horror's Miss Horrorfest 2007
(If you don't comment, I'll send her after you!)

Large Association of Movie Blogs