Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Mood Music (09.29.2008)

*This post is on Dammit Jim! auto-pilot.*


After rewatching EuroTrip for the LAMB MOTM feature last week, I couldn't get this song out of my head! It is damn catchy. It also helps that every time it pops in my head, I get the warm fuzzies for two reasons:

1) Kristin Kreuk's grinding and grooving, looking totally slutty-sexy.

2) Matt Damon's surprising cameo.

If you don't know, now you know:


Let me know how long this tune stays in your head!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, September 26, 2008

CAGEFEST

*This post is on Dammit Jim! auto-pilot.*

The time is now!


CAGEFEST: The Nic Cage Film Festival, or what I like to refer to as CAGEFEST: Essays on the Fallacies, Follies and Follies of Nic Cage, has been ongoing for a while. I hope you have been following the Pro/Con debates intently.

The Reel Whore's contribution to the festival has been posted. I have taken the Con stance on Leaving Las Vegas for which Cage won his only Oscar win. Go now and enjoy the festivities.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Huh, huh, you said "Poll" (09.25.08)

*This post is on Dammit Jim! auto-pilot.*

For those following television's fall premiere schedule, today marks the return of Ugly Betty. I've been a watcher of the show since its beginning and I admit to becoming a devoted fan by the fourth or fifth episode.


Aside from some great writing, the show boasts the HOTTEST cast of characters in primetime. From America Ferrera to Vanessa Williams, Eric Mabius to Freddy Rodriguez, the sex appeal of the show oozes from every corner of the screen. The cherry on top is the smokin' guest appearances from the likes of Salma Hayek, Rick Fox and Gabrielle Union, just to name a few.

So I pose not one, but two questions to you; who is the sexiest woman and the sexiest man on Ugly Betty? Since the list can get rather long, I've chosen the cream for each category:

Sexiest Ugly Betty Contenders-Ladies:
Betty (America Ferrera)

Alexis
(Rebecca Romijn)

Hilda
(Ana Ortiz)

Amanda
(Becki Newton)

Wilhelmina
(Vanessa Williams)




Sexiest Ugly Betty Contenders-Fellas:
Daniel (Eric Mabius)

Gio
(Freddy Rodriguez)

Henry
(Christopher Gorham)

Coach Tony
(Eddie Cibrian)

Marc
(Michael Urie)




The polls are in the sidebar awaiting your votes. Never seen an episode of Ugly Betty? It's a nice coincidence this post doubles as a reminder to watch the season premiere. The poll will be up for a few weeks so between the premiere and the character info above, the only problem you should have is deciding who exactly IS the sexiest.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

LAMB MOTM: EuroTrip

Stargazers, I finally got off my duff and managed to contribute to the LAMB MOTM (that's Movie of the Month to you!). Actually, I wrote my post for the inaugural selection, The Big Lebowski, back in June. I just happened to write it one day too late. No matter, I am turning over a new leaf with the September MOTM:

EUROTRIP

Original Release: 02.20.2004
Rated R
1 hour, 33 minutes

Rating: See below





Predictable Scott Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz, TV: House) already has his summer job lined up, his college enrollment is complete, he's even planned for his girlfriend, Fiona (Kristin Kreuk, TV: Smallville), to attend college with him. But Fiona dumps him at graduation and everyone, both family and friends, hears about it. On the bright side, Scott discovers his German penpal, Mieke (Jessica Boehrs), is a smokin' hot chick. Too bad he thought she was a dude when he emailed to say never contact him again. On the advice of his best friend, Cooper (Jacob Pitts, 21), Scott is convinced the simplest way to reopen communication with his potential soulmate is to go to Germany. Naturally, this last-minute plan is complicated, requiring the boys to fly into London, where they meet up with their friends, twins Jamie (Travis Webster, TV: On the Lot) and Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg, Ice Princess).

EuroTrip follows in the tried and true tradition of road trip comedies. Guy wants (insert VHS tape/White Castle/girl), object of affection is far away, guy embarks on simple road trip, trip turns needlessly zany and ridiculous. The nuance in EuroTrip is that this road trip takes place in Europe. Scott and his friends traverse London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Berlin and Rome via plane, train and automobiles (including a bus full of soccer hooligans) just so Scott can find Mieke.

Would it have been easier for Scott to just create a new email address to contact Mieke after his primary account was blocked? Yes. But where's the fun in that? The fun is watching Scott get into a robot-dance battle with a street performer in Paris. The fun is watching Cooper and Jamie experience the sexual freedom of Amsterdam. The fun is watching the group be accosted by a creepy Italian guy (Fred Armisen, Baby Mama) on a train.

The other fun element of EuroTrip is the cameos
. Lucy Lawless (Spider-Man) appears as Madame Vandersexxx and Vinnie Jones plays Mad Maynard, a soccer hooligan with some seriously strong eyelids. I didn't even mention the greatest cameo by Spank Bank inductee Matt Damon. I won't give you any details, but his two minutes of screentime alone is worth the rental.

Dirty Undies
Zany adventures and unbelievable plotlines not for you? How about more bare breasts than you can shake a stick at? And speaking of shaking sticks, EuroTrip has more dong than you would ever expect to see in a non-pornographic film. Sadly, neither The Trach n
or her male associates go nude, so you'll have to find those images elsewhere (and let me know when you do find them). EuroTrip not only basks in its R rating, but whole-heartedly acknowledges it; the unrated DVD even boasts a menu to queue the nude scenes for that quick fix.

The Money Shot
By now it's clear that EuroTrip isn't ground-breaking cinema. Things like the Green Fairy and the Vatican debacle are too silly, if that's possible
. However, it is a worthy inductee into the halls of venerated road trip comedies and definitely worth a little more than a matinee admission.

As for its designation in the annals of the LAMB MOTM; Reel Whore gives EuroTrip LAMB Love. Check out who else feels the way I do.



Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Your Mark, Get Set, Kill!

Death Race

Release: 08.22.2008

Rated R
1 hour, 29 minutes

Matinee ($$$)


LAMBScore:



Jensen Ames (Jason Statham, Cellular) is a steel-working man... for about two minutes of Death Race. See, it's the future, and the good ol' US of A has gone to shit; jobs are scarce, money is tight and morals are loose. Prisons, now run by corporations, have instituted the Death Race to entertain the tired masses and control the burgeoning convict count.

In the history of bad days, Ames loses his job and he's framed for the murder of his wife. The ex-driver finds himself imprisoned, conveniently, under warden Hennessey (Joan Allen, Face/Off). The ice queen of the profitable road rage offers Ames his freedom by taking up the mantle of Frankenstein, a fan-favorite driver who died just one win shy of his liberation.

Based on the 70's exploitation classic Death Race 2000, this update only minimally resembles its original counterpart. As in the Roger Corman version, the characters Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson, 2 Fast 2 Furious) remain prominent. However, the Death Race of old revolved around killing bystanders during a cross-country race on the open road, not attacking other people on a closed track.

All the characters follow a one-track emotion. Statham plays Ames-Frankenstein as perpetually pissed for the bulk of the film, a man hellbent on vengeance. Allen's Hennesseey is the ultimate cold-hearted bitch. Coach (Ian McShane, Sexy Beast) is plain old tired. The script goal was not to show characters' growth; it was to repeatedly throw obstacles in their way as they ran around in circles.

Dirty Undies
Cars crash, cars explode and people caught in the open get their asses handed to them - assuming enough pieces of their ass can be found in the aftermath. The blazing guns, jets of smoke and repetitive colliding cars get a bit tiresome, but writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) infuses a few surprises to shake off the boredom.

Statham has only a couple of scenes where he's not crammed into the driver's seat, but spends very few of those kicking ass. My favorite moment is his final encounter with opponent Panchenko (Max Ryan, Kiss of the Dragon), which features the film's best death.

There's an all too-brief body shot, cheek included, of Statham. Even though the drivers have female navigators, Anderson completely stumbles in the gratuitous-flesh department. Seriously, the still below is as steamy as Death Race gets:


Even during a race to the death, there should always be time for a conjugal visit, especially from a hottie like Natalie Martinez.


The Money Shot

If you ponied up the money to see
Death Race in the first place, you could give a crap less about emotion and story development as long as the kills are violent and the explosions are loud. Death Race has a decent body count and explosions aplenty. Even so, the drab grayscale world of the future wears thin. Its engine may roar, but Death Race doesn't have the power to take home the prize.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dammit Jim!

Attention Stargazers!


This week,
life as I know it will end.






How melodramatic does that sound? It's as if you tuned into a Tyler Perry production.

It's not that serious. If you've been wondering why the Reel Whore has been slack about posting and commenting, it's not only because my mind's been on vacation since July. I've been making arrangements with my doctor to remedy some chronic issues.

To paraphrase Ash of the Evil Dead, if the evil gets in you, the best remedy is to lob it off. Since I don't think a chainsaw is the best tool for the job, I'll be letting the doctors work their voodoo magic later this week.

Starting Thursday, the site will auto-update (ideally), continuing to provide you with your must-have dose of whorishness while I am out of commission. Once my head clears from the drug-induced fog, I will take the reins once again.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday Mood Music (09.22.08)

As I began my trek to work today, my radio blared the last few bars of the perfect song for today's post. I tried to think of a good tune to get folks' blood pumping all weekend, but sometimes it's best to go with the flow.

This song, albeit overplayed this month, is by one of my favorite bands. If you've been to more than two weddings, then you've heard it. Heck, it was played at ours which coincidentally will be exactly two years tomorrow. As I scratch my head over what to get my wife for our anniversary, let's all enjoy the energetic Earth, Wind and Fire in a psychedelic ol' school video of September.



I've seen EWF in concert a few times and they have always given an exhilarating performance, though they've toned their outfits down over the years. Watching bass guitarist Verdine White dance all around the stage is my favorite part of their show.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, September 19, 2008

Great Scott!

November 4, 2008 may very well be the most important election of our lives. I mean, who'll finance our movies if our nation's economy crumbles? It's best you discover more about the candidates and what they'll do for you.

Dylan is helping with Obampliments.


In the spirit of equal time:


Joe is helping with Things younger than Republican Presidential candidate (oh, and did I forget to mention war hero?) John McCain.

Photo courtesy of dailykos.com

So much to learn and so little time. Unless you have a DeLorean with a flux-capacitor premium upgrade, you'll just have to do the best you can with what you know. Choose wisely.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You think it's a Schwinn!

Burn After Reading

Release: 09.12.08
Rated R
1 hour, 36 minutes

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




If you're Joel or Ethan Coen and you've just exhausted yourself finishing what will be one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, what would you do next? I'd get together with my family and some friends and enjoy myself. That's exactly what the Coens did. For them, enjoyment is penning and directing a dark comedy like Burn After Reading.

The audience enters into the story of Burn quite literally as the world turns, swooping down from the stars into the stark halls of CIA headquarters. Longtime analyst Osborne Cox (John Malkovich, Shadow of the Vampire) enters into his supervisor's office. He is told he's being demoted due to his drinking problem, to which he tells his accusers where they can stick their new job and all his years of service. Once home, Osborne can't seek solace from his cold wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton, Constantine), because they are preparing to host guests, including their friend, and Katie's lover, Harry (George Clooney, Intolerable Cruelty). Cut to Linda Litske (Frances McDormand, Friends With Money), a middle-aged lady looking to improve her physique through a series of medical procedures. When Linda's friend and fellow Hardbodies gym employee, Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt, True Romance), uncovers intelligence information on a CD found in a locker room, they concoct a plan to return the CD to its owner, hopefully reaping a bountiful Good Samaritan's reward in the process.

If there's one thing I've learned from my cinematic encounters with the Coen brothers, it's that they write stupid well. Not just stupidity, but egotism and arrogance, too. Even though the characters' stories seem random and only superficially interconnected, Osborne, Katie, Chad, Harry, and Linda are all afflicted with a staggering case of self-involvement. Despite their highest hopes, the world does not revolve around them, which the Coens point out through clever camera work. The assembled cast is excellent. Malkovich plays haughty indignance to perfection. Clooney gets to goof around with some quirky hang-ups and fascinations. Pitt and McDormand, and Richard Jenkins (North Country), who plays their boss, bring clueless to a whole new level.

Burn has a constant intrusion of thrilling espionage music that will keep you on edge as the stories unfold. I fully expected this barrage of random events to erupt into a coherent conclusion like any fulfilling spy movie. That neatly packaged ending never came, but as always, the Coen brothers satisfyingly resolved the film.

Dirty Undies
The confusing story elements really keep you off guard, which is awesome when a random act of violence or sex punches you, causing gut-wrenching laughter. These moments were the most reminiscent of The Big Lebowski for me. Also, Chad has an affinity for the shit; he talks about the shit, gets excited about the shit, thinks the shit will solve all their problems, but can't handle it when the shit rises.

The Money Shot
Despite my excitement, I wasn't completely sold on Burn After Reading. Deep down, my action fiend yearned for some grand climax. When I see it for a second time, I will no doubt enjoy it more. In the best Coen films, there is always something new to be gleaned from multiple viewings. I can't wait to see what I learn next...you best get started so you can tell me what I missed.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cruz Crushin' - Part 2

Elegy
Release: 08.08.08
Rated R
1 hour, 53 minutes

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



Welcome to Part 2 of Cruz Crushin'. After seeing Penélope Cruz stride confidently among, and all over, the cast of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, it was amazing to see her in such a vastly different, and substantially more sane character.

David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast) is a literary critic and professor. He was married early in life but escaped from that union years ago. His son, Kenny (Peter Sarsgaard, Kinsey), continues to carry rage over his father's abandonment. David enjoys a unique relationship with a savvy businesswoman and former student, Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson, Married Life). His closest bond is with his trusted friend, poet George O'Hearn (Dennis Hopper, Swing Vote), with whom he talks at length of sexual desires and exploits. When he meets Consuela Castillo (Penélope Cruz, Blow), his student and a woman three decades younger, David's feelings for this magnificent creature debunk his firmly established hedonistic principles.

Elegy, based on the Philip Roth novel, The Dying Animal, is adapted by Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) and directed by Isabel Coixet (Paris, je t'aime - Segment: Bastille). The film opens with a voiceover from David, making observances on the nature of aging. It's a debate of the mind wanting what the body can no longer have, sexually speaking. When David sees Consuela in his class, his mind immediately wants her but he fears his body will be too old to attract her. However, David is patient and professional. Instead of throwing Ms. Castillo across his desk during his first available office hours, he waits until his post-semester party to court her appropriately.

The courtship and budding romance of David and Consuela is subtly directed, with careful attention to detail, by Coixet. Ironically, the film proves you're never too old to experience young love. The camera is as much in love with Penelope Cruz as David is with Consuela. The film solely chronicles David's life; we know nothing about the other characters outside of their interactions with David.

Ben Kingsley is intense. Watching him sit and stare into the distance is more defining than an hour's worth of dialogue. Cruz matches his excellent performance. Hopper's role, though small, is perhaps his best performance in years. Sarsgaard has an equally minuscule, yet crucial role. His story serves to remind the audience, and David, of his past stance on matters of love and fidelity.

Dirty Undies
The expression 'make love to the camera' comes to my mind again and again with Elegy. In one scene, Patricia Clarkson lounges in a chair dressed in her business attire and just the position of her crossed legs is stimulating. Cruz lies about nude a lot, with each scene carrying a different emotional weight. In the more stressful scenes, I had to remind myself to absorb the pain in her teary eyes, not to etch the image of her ample naked bosom in my mind.


The Money Shot
Coixet is amazing behind a camera and her cast amazing in front of one. I found myself empathizing with David, which I think was the goal. If anything, this bittersweet tale frustrates because David does exactly those things you expect and that you would do, too, if you were in love for the first time.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Spank Bank: Jennifer Tilly

It has been a while since I have inducted someone into this prestigious category. It does not mean there is no one providing 'spankable' material, just that lack of time has prevented me from recognizing them.

This special lady was actually my inspiration for this column. It's a shame that even though she was probably one of the first celebrities to jump start my sex drive, she is only now receiving her place of honor. Like a fine wine, I wanted her induction to be aged to perfection for consumption by the masses. Today, this lovely lady turns fifty! That makes her nearly two decades my senior, but to me she is still fab-u-lous! I feen for her as much now as the first time I saw her. Without further ado, I present Spank Bank inductee:


Jennifer Tilly


The First Time My Eyes Met:
Though it was better than fifteen years ago, all those curves squeezed into a red dress in Let it Ride are still clearly etched in my mind. I'm thinking my adolescent hormones picked this VHS off the shelf for her back cover image more so than any loyalty to Richard Dreyfuss.

She Had Me At ‘Hello’: Let it Ride may have fired my teen hormones but it was her recurring role on the little remembered and short-lived show Key West that solidified my Tilly crush. Every week of its thirteen episode run, I tuned in and waited anxiously for Ms. Tilly to appear. Don't get me wrong; Fisher Stevens and T.C. Carson are cool, but Tilly kept me, and evidently, only me, coming back for more.

Sexiest Movie Moment: No contest! The seductive Violet, wife of mobster and lover to the 90's favorite lesbian Gina Gershon in the Wachowski siblings' film Bound.


Let’s Never Speak Of This Again: Jennifer's had, let us say, a varied career. My choice here is actually for a film I never saw. I did see the commercials a lot, though. Her role as Madame Leota in Eddie Murphy's Haunted Mansion. She was hired to play a talking head in a crystal ball. YOU DON'T HIRE JENNIFER TILLY TO PLAY A HEAD! Dayum, at least her doll-sized replica, Tiffany, in Bride and Seed of Chucky was hot.

It Brings A Smile To My Face: Just thinking back to her cutthroat character Samantha Cole in Liar Liar. It's amazing how she's tapped to play the gamut of ditsy dames to tough-as-nails chicas. Plus, I liked her platinum-hued butch 'do.

My Biggest Regret: I only recently discovered my appreciation for Woody Allen. Maybe if I had followed Jennifer's career more closely in high school I would have seen Bullets Over Broadway by now. What's even more shameful is it's her one Oscar-nominated performance. I got to get on that...

Her Winning Feature: Anyone who knows Jennifer Tilly knows exactly what she's known for:

A-hem! While she is both curvaceous and boobalicious, I love her voice the best. Thanks to her breathy seductive tone, Jennifer can turn reading a grocery list into the most erotic monologue.

If I Could Walk In Her Shoes: There is her role in Embrace of the Vampire, which could include some erotic face time with Alyssa Milano, but I got to go with Bound once again. I think I'd be perfectly satisfied to be used and abused at the whim of Jennifer like Gina was.

Most Anticipated Upcoming Project: Lately, she splits her time between poker tournaments and films, leaving her upcoming project list rather slim. My choice, however, would be to see her in Renaissance Girl. Medieval costumes and Tilly seem like a perfect pair, um, pairing.

My Dream Of Working With The Enticing Ms. Tilly: She's proven herself in both television and film, playing it straight or gay, vapid or calculating, funny or horrific. Choosing the perfect project is no simple task. I'd love to approach Jennifer with the idea of crafting a mockumentary chronicling her rise to celebrity, her eclectic body of work and her recent success as a champion poker player. Before I knew it, my pitch would lead to a friendly game of cards. Between her seductive stares and mad skills, I'd quickly find myself penniless, shirtless and at the mercy of this fine female. If those are the cards life dealt me, I'd call and raise.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNIFER TILLY!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Mood Music

I should have been working diligently this afternoon, writing reviews, making phone calls, building spreadsheets and what not. Instead, my 'Pod's song shuffle resurrected the song Sinkin' Soon from Norah Jones's album Not Too Late. I have always loved this little tune, and with procrastination as my guide, I cruised the internets to discover a while back Ms. Jones made a video to go with it.

Like to hear it? Here it go:


During the lyric, "The golden crust on an apple pie, that shines in the sun at noon." Norah adds a little rasp to 'shines' (check it @ 0:48 and 4:02). It is just too cute and perhaps why I enjoy this so much.


Love the song, but this is a quite bizarre visual accompaniment. Stick it through; her third outfit is not to be missed.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, September 12, 2008

People I Want To Punch in the Face, Vol. 3

'My blog buddy Friend Mouse reminded me just the other day that "Life is too short for junk tv." Knowing this, I can't believe I wasted two hours and thirteen minutes on some washed-up starlet's infomercial. You may know it better as the 2008 MTV VMAs. The wasted time did stir my ire:

video

Shitney Beers a.k.a. Britney Spears


I feel so much better, y'all.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cruz Crushin' - Part 1

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Release: 08.15.2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 36 minutes

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



LAMBScore:



Before I begin, I mu
st admit that I never really warmed up to Penélope Cruz until I saw her in Volver. Since then, my appreciation has increased, especially after seeing her portray two very different women in two films in the span of one weekend. Hence, this review is titled Cruz Crushin', Part I. Yeah, Hence.

***

Woody Allen (Match Point) brings to the screen his latest project, which centers around best friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall, The Prestige) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson, Scoop) as they summer in Barcelona, Spain. Sensible Vicky is there to study for her masters in Catalan identity. Bohemian Cristina tags along, searching for her artistic voice and whatever will excite her in life. That excitement introduces himself as painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men) and offers to fly the women to Oviedo where they can wine, dine and make with the sex. Vicky is insulted, Cristina titillated at Juan's sincere offer. Ultimately, the trio take flight and the inclusion of Juan Antonio rattles the ladies' plans, especially when his ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz, Volver) and Vicky's fiancé (Chris Messina, Rounders) unexpectedly infringe on their holiday.

If it acts like Woody Allen and sounds like Woody Allen, should I feel guilty that I enjoy it more when it doesn't look like Woody Allen? The dialogue is unmistakably Allen despite his absence from the screen. Hall and Johansson take turns emoting the nervously neurotic inflections of the director. Bardem and Cruz give the words a natural heat; the two ooze sexuality even though reading from Allen's script. I have to mention Patricia Clarkson (Married Life), who appears briefly as Judy, an old family friend who encourages the ladies to enjoy all Barcelona has to offer.

Allen also wisely chooses to focus on the beautiful landscapes and architecture of Barcelona. The cinematography is warm and inviting, probably the best tourist commercial the City could hope to have. Thoughtful discussions of love, loyalty and human nature fit appropriately against the romantic backdrop.

However, the narration does not seem to fit, if you ask some people. I quickly grew accustomed to the omnipotent narrator filling in the story gaps, but wasn't quite sold on the 60's era educational inflection. My wife, on the other hand, had no qualms with it. To each their own, I say. The narration is only a small element to this easily approachable film.

Dirty Undies
It'd be stiff competition for sexiest performance between Vicky, Cristina, Juan Antonio and Maria Elena (no pun intended). Bardem's eyes express an intense passion and just watching him swagger into a scene will make one swoon. Cruz may play a crazy lady, but her frank and honest attitude shows even as she sits spread-legged or tosses her lion's mane of jet black hair about.

I can't help but wonder if Allen isn't piecemeal pimping Ms. Johansson to audiences. She's been oiled up bareback (Match Point), lifted wet and shimmering from the pool (Scoop), and here she not only has rather liberal sexual relations with her Spanish friends, but nearly exposes her ample breasteses to the world. I figure at this rate she'll be fully nude by their fifth collaboration. If it's for our benefit, great. If it's for his benefit, Soon-Yi best keep an eye out!

The Money Shot
Vicky Cristina Barcelona is exactly that, a film about two women lost in the alluring fantasy of a beautiful City - even if only for a short time. Like a romantic evening, it's full of tasty treats and warm lighting; there's great conversation and some anxiety; and there's a little sexual exploration before reality returns.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

When You Wish Upon a Star

I normally avoid getting political on my blog. But when People's Sexiest Man of the Year and inaugural Spank Bank inductee Matt Damon takes the time to voice his concerns about issues surrounding the upcoming election, I think we need to sit down and listen.

Here's a brief commentary by Damon as reported by the Associated Press:


Love the Disney comparison, btw.

Regardless of how you choose to vote, choose to be informed about your vote! I now return you to your regularly scheduled Reel Whore content.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Quickie: The Fall

The Fall

Release: 05.09.08
DVD Release: 09.09.08
Rated R
1 hour, 57 minutes

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



Remember that Jennifer Lopez film, The Cell? I didn't think much of the story, J. Lo's believability as a psychotherapist or Vince Vaughn's tortured yet creepy Agent Novak. Given all that, you'd be surprised to learn that The Cell is in my DVD collection. It resides on my shelf because I am still mesmerized by the beautiful direction of Tarsem Singh. The bizarre dreamscape Tarsem creates -the vibrant colors, wonderful imagery- are reason enough to warrant repeat viewings.

Eight years later, Tarsem has found a far more endearing canvas with The Fall. Set in a California hospital in the 1920s, the story follows an absolutely adorable little girl, Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), as she pokes her nose, and broken arm, in whatever nook or cranny she can find. One such cranny houses an dentured, elderly old man, a hypochondriac, and a recently paralyzed stuntman named Roy (Lee Pace, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day). An instant spark develops between Alexandria and Roy. He enchants her with a grandiose tale of five mythic heroes, whom she imagines as even more fantastical than he describes. Roy withholds the tale's conclusion from Alexandria, bartering for medications that she can steal from the pharmacy. As the reality and fantasy merge, their relationship is strained to its limits.

Did I mention that Catinca Untaru is impossibly cute?! Tarsem has said he scoured the world looking for the perfect child. I think his patience paid off. Lee Pace is similarly compelling as the tragic Roy. I also found comfort that Alexandria's imagined heroes were lifted from her hospital surroundings in a sort of Wizard of Oz tribute. Tarsem excels at crafting a visual masterpiece, and does so with no special effects. If you watch this, you will find it difficult to believe such a thing of beauty is possible, especially in our current age of CGI over saturation.

I found the tale as striking emotionally as it was visually. Marilyn of Ferdy on Films, etc. had the pleasure of attending a Q&A session with Tarsem after viewing The Fall and gives a far more elegant and thorough critique than I could ever muster. I highly recommend you check it out if this film interests you.

The larger the screen available, the better the enjoyment of The Fall's spectacular imagery. But no screen, no matter how large, can hold the emotional wallop the film lands.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Than a Mouthful (09.08.08)

I'd like to take a moment to update you on some important information dealing with the Reel Whore. First, the latest poll results are in. Because there were very few horror flicks opening between now and Halloween, I asked you, my readers, which of the following upcoming releases scare you the most. Here's what you said.

Care Bears Creepy (tie, 0 votes):
My Best Friend's Gi
rl, Eagle Eye
It's a shame, but the charismatic appeal of Dane Cook and Shia LaBeouf helped us sleep safe with these picks.

Gremlins Gory (tie, 1 vote):
The Family That Preys
, Nights in Rodanthe
Out of the ten votes cast, only two people cringed at the thought of sitting through another Tyler Perry production or Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

Michael Meyers Massacre (2 votes):
Ban
gkok Dangerous
Looking like he was auditioning for the sequel to The Wig, Nicolas Cage managed to freak out only a couple of folks. Surprisingly, Fletch of Blog Cabins wasn't afraid of no Cage.

And the overwhelming winner is:

Fucked Up, Leatherface Style (6 votes):
Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Be afraid, stargazers, be very afraid. Behold the chihuahua without all the Hollywood flash:

That's some scary shit right there.


Moving on. In LAMB news, we've crowned our Top 10 Western films. The best news is that Reel Whore really knocked this category home, having nominated five of the ten winners. My personal Top 10 Westerns are:

10. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
09. A Fistful of Dollars
08. High Plains Drifter
07. Tombstone
06. Unforgiven
05. My Name Is Nobody
04. The Magnificent Seven
03. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
02. Outlaw Josey Wales
01. Once Upon A Time In the West


Next up, we LAMBers will be voting on the Top 10 Musicals. Needless to say, I'll be spending the weekend watching about six more musicals so I can complete my list beyond The Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Moulin Rouge!, and Rent.


If you're like most people, you avoided seeing Nicolas Cage's Bangkok Dangerous this past weekend. Maybe you are truly a Cage fan but couldn't get down with that wackadoo, or maybe you just loathe the man like others I know. Either way, the Reel Whore will be taking part in the ultimate fair shake for Cage. Blog Cabins will begin CAGEFEST this week so swing by and revel in the pros and cons of Cage's career.





Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time I take a break to soak in the glorious return of Summer Glau in the season 2 premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Join me, won't you?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trailer Trash: The September Gang Bang

Gather 'round stargazers and let us stare at the horrors unfolding in September. According to IMDB, we can expect thirteen major releases this month with another eight in limited release. While some of those limited films pique my interest, I have committed to giving lip service, nay, full service, to the thirteen. How truly unlucky I am.

It's as if everyone's attention will be fixed on the premieres of quality fall television programing, leaving us avid film sluts at the mercy of the smelly, snaggle-toothed riff-raff that answered the open call. Let's just get this over with.


Exercise the Right To Cinematic Celibacy.

Bangkok Dangerous (09.05) I don't know what's more ridiculous, Cage portraying a callous assassin with a sudden attack of conscience or seeing him do it with that hair! The hair isn't even the worst of it, check this:
Yeah. I have no desire to see 'Tex' ad lib his own Sukiyaki Western Django nor do I care to see this hella-lame version of last fall's Hitman. If this whets your appetite for more Cage-centric banter, head on over to Blog Cabins for CAGEFEST all next week!

The Women (09.12) This is the story of four gal pals living the ups and downs of life in the Big Apple. It's also the tale of a struggling actress pleading for remembrance (Meg Ryan), a writer who hasn't browned her Murphy in over a decade (Diane English), and an excuse to have a black lesbian named Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith). In reality, it's the tale of Hollywood's blatant grift of women's money after the estrogen-induced fervor of Sex & the City but before new episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

Igor (09.19) John Cusack lends his voice to the lead hump in this flick out to prove that Disney's hunchback flop was a fluke. I wish I knew who decided there needed to be an animated kids' film every month of the year? They should be strapped down and forced to watch every slapped- together piece of animated sludge until they can imbibe the jellied remains of their own eyes through a straw.

My Best Friend's Girl (09.19) Kate Hudson's range as an actress is about as narrow as her behind. Even though I do enjoy me some Dane Cook, seeing this trailer makes me feel as if I've discovered someone has shit on the coats. I've got nothing against Biggs; he's gotta get work when he can even if it's for playing 'Guess who's in my mouth?"


Eagle Eye (09.26) Eagle Eye has to be an experiment by Spielberg to prove LaBeouf can carry a film. That's why we don't know anything about the characters, the plot or why Julianne Moore is channeling the Jigsaw killer. While Rosario and I are like this, son!, I can't help but feel this stink-ola film of Shia's will inch him ever closer to Face Punch territory.

Nights in Rodanthe (09.26) Ever hear the expression there's nowhere to go but up? Diane Lane has, too, though an adaption of a Nicholas Sparks novel may not cut it. On the plus side, she's got James Franco, Richard Gere and the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina (represent!) all supporting her attempt to climb out of her Jumper/Untraceable funk. If it doesn't work, she can always be trampled the wild horses of Corolla.


It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.
The Family That Preys (09.12) I mentioned back in March that I have shunned Tyler Perry films, instead choosing to watch, well, good films. Being a Southerner, the prospect of Cole Hauser playing modern day masta to the cast is not an appealing one. The prospect of watching Sanaa Lathan, however, is a very appealing one and I can't help but feel Alfre Woodard's five fingers are gonna say SLAP! to the side of someone's face by the film's end.

Righteous Kill (09.19) I should be just a "lil bit" "whoo-ah" over this film given that DeNiro and Pacino play the leads; tough NYC cops. They even pad the odds with stellar supporting actors Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, the yummy Carla Gugino and Donnie Wahlberg...um yeah, those first three are great. Still, the story feels stale and I'd wager a guess as to who's the vigilante, but I won't waste my money (on that bet or this movie).

Lakeview Terrace (09.19) I'm Samuel L. Jackson! I'm the star of this here mutha-fuckin' movie! In it, I'm the PO-LICE! You have to do what I say! You will go see this mutha-fuckin' movie! If you don't you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my five-iron upon thee!

Why am I yellin'? Oh yeah, this is the way I talk!

Ghost Town (09.19) I looked at this trailer a lot and I'm still waiting to start laughing. With Ricky Jervais, Greg Kinnear and what looks like cameos by Aasif Mandvi and Kristen Wiig, I should've had the giggles for days. Instead, I think my sixth sense is all ghost whispered out.


Moist With Antici...Pation!

Burn After Reading (09.12) Did someone say Coen?! That's all I needed to hear to be first in line. The brothers are back to penning their own material and gathering a cast, some familiar, all fantastic, to deliver the quirky lines and frolic in scenes reminiscent of Fargo, Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski.

The Lucky Ones (09.26) I know you're wondering how a film about three Iraq vets, two on leave and one retired, heading to Vegas warrants my must-see list. It's not cuz McAdams is a cutie (although she is). Rather, it's because she, Tim Robbins and Michael Peña make interesting and enjoyable movies. It looks funny, warm-hearted and slightly sappy, but Illusionist director Neil Burger may be able to pull off that combination.

Miracle at St. Anna (09.26) I'm not sure if this is Spike Lee's rebuttal to Eastwood's WWII companion epics or his rebuttal to Stiller's under-representation of black actors in Tropic Thunder. Regardless, this looks intense and I am curious to look at war through the eyes of Mookie.

***

Okay, let's agree to never do that again. I'm going to need some extra-strength Listerine to wash this month's taste out of my mouth. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry in the shower.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Quickie: Then She Found Me

Then She Found Me

Release: 05.02.08
DVD Release: 09.02.08
Rated R
1 hour, 40 minutes

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




Producer. Director. Writer. Actress. That's a lot of hats for a single person, but Helen Hunt (Pay It Forward) wears them all in Then She Found Me. Hunt portrays April Epner, a middle-aged, devoutly Jewish, elementary school teacher in New York. The adage when it rains it pours must have been created for April; her husband Ben (Matthew Broderick, The Stepford Wives) leaves her, her adoptive mother dies suddenly, she discovers she's pregnant, and her biological mother, Bernice Graves (Bette Midler, Get Shorty), appears on her doorstep looking to learn about the daughter she gave up. In the column of almost-plusses, she begins dating Frank, (Colin Firth, Bridget Jones's Diary), the father of a student at her school, who has been similarly abandoned by his wife.

With this cast of heavy-hitters it almost seems redundant to say the film was well-acted even if some roles were undemanding. Midler's turn as an Oprah-esque talk show host requires her to essentially be the spunky breath of fresh air she does so well. If you ever need an actor to play the perfect man, Firth is at the top of Rolodex. Still, Midler and Firth attack the subject matter with passion. Hunt in particular wears the weighty role of April heavily on her shoulders, though her beleaguered features may have been due to her excessive self-involvement in the picture. Her directorial debut of a feature is decent; Then She Found Me is visually unimpressive, instead focusing on the performances with a style that is steady but unpolished. If anything, Hunt could have used a touch of make-up to hide a few of the worry lines. I'm just saying, when Midler, two decades your senior and playing your mother is more sexually appealing, maybe, just maybe, you want to spruce up a tad more.

The appeal of Then She Found Me is that April is not the tragic martyr you'd expect nor does she receive resolution deserving of a Disney film. Hunt, along with writers Victor Levin (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!) and Alice Arlen (The Weight of Water) adapted Elinor Lipman's novel and made April a woman not without faults of her own. The whirlwind tale of this climactic period in April's life leaves a lasting impression, in large part due to the melodramatic though relatable characters. Hunt poured all of herself into this film; the least you can do is check it out to see why.

Large Association of Movie Blogs