Friday, February 27, 2009

A Quickie: Lakeview Terrace


Release: 09.19.08
DVD Release: 01.27.09
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 50 minutes


Second Run Seats



It took me a while longer than anticipated, but here is my review of Lakeview Terrace, which was selected by you stargazers during my January poll. I decided to skip the traditional review and opt instead for an abbreviated script which captures the film's essence. Enjoy.


SCENE - Abel Spies the New Neighbors.


Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson, Freedomland), peers into his neighbor's yard. A sexy, petite chocolate drop (Kerry Washington, She Hate Me) is draped in the arms of an older Suga Daddy. A young, strapping white dude (Patrick Wilson, Little Children) carries boxes into the house.

Abel: (mutters to himself) I'll Be Damned! My Brother Is Moving On Up!

As Suga Daddy inspects the pool, the 'mover' sneaks a Hershey's kiss from the sweet thing.

Abel: (mutters to himself) I'll Be Damned! My Sister Is Slumming It!



SCENE - Abel and the Mattsons Meet


Chris: Hi, I'm the eco-conscious but shallow husband character, Chris. This is my equally hollow character of a wife, Lisa.

Abel: I Thought You Were The Great White Hype, Doing All That Heavy Lifting!

Chris: I do swing some solid pipe, if ya know what I'm saying!

Abel: It's 'You' Not 'Ya.' Speak English!

Chris: What?


Abel: They Speak English In What?!

Lisa: (interrupting) Hello guys. Don't pay me any mind. I'll have less screentime here than in Common's I Want You music video.


SCENE - Abel and Chris Bond.


Chris: Um, Abel, me and the wifey can't get our groove on with your security lights blaring in our window.

Abel: I'm Sorry! Do They Break Your Concentration?!

Chris: Have I done something to upset you? Why are you yelling?

Abel: I Can't Stop Yelling Because That's The Way I Talk!

Chris: Never mind. (walks away.)

Abel: Later, Vanilla Ice!


SCENE - Chris and Lisa Talk.


Chris: Abel doesn't like me. I think he's mad I'm swimming in your chocolate waterfall.

Lisa: My poor boo. Come here, part the seas and give me a baby.

Chris: Not now, honey. I want to install these lights to piss off Abel.

Lisa: How about we turn on the blue light and go half on a baby?


Chris: In a minute. I need to plant hedges to keep Abel out of our business.

Lisa: How about you plant your seed in me? I want a baby!

Chris: I'm stressed. I need to smoke a cigarette and have a drink.


Lisa: But baby? Baby baby, baby baby baby baby.


SCENE - Abel and Chris Share Drinks.


Abel: Hey! White Devil! How The Hell Are You?!

Chris: (rolling eyes) Leave me alone, Abel.

Abel: My Friends Call Me Mr. Glass!

Chris: What?

Abel: I'm Just Rustling Your Cage, Cracker! Have A Drink On Me!

Chris: You are one crazy bastard.

Abel: Correctamundo! I'm A Mushroom-Cloud Laying Mothe
r-------! I Have Had It With Your Mother------- Snake in Her Mother------- Pants!


SCENE - The Mattsons-Abel Confrontation.


Chris: Run, Lisa! He's trying to kill us!

Lisa: Huh? What? Am I still in this movie? Why?

Abel: Yes, You're Still In It! You Deserve To Die and I Hope You Burn In Hell!

Chris: Yo Lisa, check it, I got this!

(Lisa runs.)

Abel: I'm Going To Crumble You Like Zestas in Tomato Soup!

Chris: Not if I put a bullet through your skull, you looney eight ball!

Abel: I'm Going To Be On You Like White On Rice!

Chris: Now you're not even making sense.

Abel: They Ate Me. A Freaking Shark Ate Me!

(Patrick Wilson throws hands in the air and walks off set.)

THE END

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh Mickey, You So Fine!

Fellow blogger, Monique Elisabeth of Movie Reviews by FAQs, put me on to this awesome clip of Mickey Rourke's acceptance speech at the Spirit Awards. He is the man!

In case you were wondering, this clip is not safe for work.


I totally agree with his Eric Roberts comments.

Also, WTF is up with Philip Seymour Hoffman rocking the 'boggan both here and at the Oscars?!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

People I Want to Punch in the Face, Vol. 4

This one's been a long time coming, folks! Her unneeded and unwanted appearance on the 81st Academy Awards placed her squarely in my sights. She must figure if she keeps showing up at the ceremonies they'll just give her a damn Oscar to stay away. She sure as hell won't earn one with her "acting talent."

She's the entertainment equivalent of Hurricane Katrina, and I'm living below the levees struggling to breathe. After finally burying that atrocity B'Day, she's now shoveling her latest crap album, I Am...Sasha Fierce, down our throats. The newest atrocity on the airwaves, Diva, reminds us that her ego is dwarfed only by her weave.

The plan was to save this for when her latest film, Obsessed, flops at the box office, but the combination of the new song, the Academy appearance and the inclusion of her Single Ladies song on Fringe has driven me to madness!

video

My brother-in-law may disown me but someone has to lay the smack down!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, February 23, 2009

MMM: A Case of the Mondays

The Oscars ran late last night; shock! This means I went to bed late and woke up tired, sluggish and not excited about heading into another week of work. Though, I am never bouncing off the walls with glee to head into work, so I shouldn't blame the Oscars. It's simply safe to say I am suffering from a case of the Mondays.

To rev me up a bit this morning, I needed some rocking guitar to get the blood pumping. I figure, who is more awesome than Jimi Hendrix? My next dilemma was to choose from all those great hits; would it be Purple Haze or All Along the Watchtower or Foxy Lady? Decisions, decisions. Ultimately, I went with a song that became an favorite of mine the instant I heard it years ago. It also fits surprisingly well for the condition my condition is in.

I couldn't find a great video for this, but the montage of photos works. As long as I can feel the notes reverberating in my brain, I am satisfied. Today's mood music selection is:

Jimi Hendrix - Manic Depression



Enough goofin' off already, get back to work!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Big 'O': Oscar Gang Bang

For us film fans, tomorrow is the big event. The 81st Annual Academy Awards will air, honoring some of the best films from 2008. I hit some speed bumps this year when it came to viewing all the nominees, but I managed to review these films in the running:

The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Wall-E, and Wanted.

These last few weeks I've been doing my best to to catch up on the other big nominees. While I've done a decent job of seeing these films, I've done a piss-poor job of reviewing them. In an effort to clean my review house, it's time that I show you my O-face. Because there are so many to review, I may forgo discussing in detail the various performance and technical merits. Given the vast number of nominations and awards already received by these films, I don't think you'll mind. Reviews are listed in alphabetical order.


Changeling

Release: 10.24.08
DVD Release: 02.17.09
2 hours, 21 minutes
Rated R

Full Price

In the 1920's, LA resident Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart) comes home from work to find that her son Walter is missing. She quickly contacts the LAPD who, in due course, begin searching for her lost boy. Ecstatic to learn they have found Walter, Christine is shocked to find herself being bullied into accepting a strange child in a ploy by the LAPD to generate positive publicity.

I'm a sucker for any film directed by Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino). There is an unmistakable amount of care and attention taken with all his projects and this is no exception. Jolie's performance spans the gamut of emotions without missing a beat. I'd appreciate it if she would gain about 10-15 pounds, but that's neither here nor there. Changeling hides some unexpected twists, twists that are very disturbing given the truth in which this story is based. What keeps Changeling from perfection is it stumbles in juggling multiple storylines over a long period of time. It may be true to the events, but the devil's in the details.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Release: 12.25.08
2 hours, 46 minutes
Rated PG-13

Full Price


Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt, Ocean's Eleven) is indeed a curious case. He's born with ailments of the geriatric but grows stronger, healthier and younger. As this unique man's journey crosses paths with people traveling in opposite directions, Benjamin learns to enjoy the moments where their time intertwines.

Speaking of time, The Curious Case is one long mo'fo' movie! Surprisingly, the beautiful spectacle of his life, and the need to know his life story, provides compelling reasons to sit through the film. The lovers-in-the-night romance between Ben and Daisy (Cate Blanchett, Babel) serves as the foundation for the extraordinary tale. Great performances and crisp visuals aside, I find it curious how quickly this film has faded from my memory and more curious that I don't care to see it again.


Doubt

Release: 12.12.08
1 hour, 44 minutes
Rated PG-13

Full Price


Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep, Devil Wears Prada), head nun and school principal, suspects Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Magnolia) of unscrupulous behavior with a black student. The implications of this in the recently integrated school along with the changing cultural climate of the Catholic church in the 1960's cause the Sister and Father to lock horns. Meanwhile, innocent Sister James (Amy Adams, Junebug) struggles to find the truth of the matter.

Adapted from a play, Doubt is driven by the high caliber of its performances and writing. It's easy to see why Streep, Hoffman, Adams and Viola Davis (Syriana) are all nominated as is John Patrick Shanley (Congo) for the adaptation. Though it is a talkie, the well-crafted exchanges and the unfolding mystery keep you on the edge of your seat. Pardon the pun, but there is no doubt that this is a film not to be missed.


In Bruges

Release: 02.08.08
DVD Release: 06.24.08
1 hour, 47 minutes
Rated R

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!


Ray (Colin Farrell, Phone Booth) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson, Troy) are two assassins fresh off a hit who are instructed by their boss, Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes, Red Dragon), to lay low in the small Belgian town of Bruges. While Ken finds the quaint town fascinating, Ray thinks Bruges is a shithole and their continued disagreement only escalates when Harry calls with their newest assignment.

In Bruges is a delight. It's full of profanity with a smattering of sex and drug use and some serious bloodshed. Writer-director Martin McDonagh even manages to toss in a surly dwarf without it seeming totally gratuitous. Farrell is hilarious and uncouth yet totally sympathetic. Gleeson was robbed by not being nominated. In Bruges is an unrefined gem that you simply have to watch to be entranced by its many facets.



Man on Wire

Release: 07.25.08
DVD Release: 12.09.08
1 hour, 34 minutes
Rated PG-13

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!


Man on Wire sits down to interview tightrope walker Philippe Petit, his friends and companions about the events that lead them to sneak into the World Trade Center, attach a tightrope and defy nature while astounding the world.

It's hard to believe that a man could have ever walked between the now non-existent Twin Towers on a thin length of cable. Not only must you see it to believe it, but you need also to look into the eyes of the man who resolved to accomplish it. Man on Wire retraces the birth of the seemingly impossible task and the earth-shattering impact it has on those involved.


Revolutionary Road

Release: 12.26.08
1 hour, 59 minutes
Rated R

Full Price


The story of Frank and April Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond and Kate Winslet, Little Children) occurs in a nice two-story home that rests on a hill on Revolutionary Road. Their friends all agree the Wheelers are such a great couple, but behind the facade are two horribly unhappy people trapped in the nightmare of conventional suburbia. The two bicker, fight and resolve to escape the fears that confront them at every turn.

Academy-nominated Michael Shannon (Bug) in a brief role is not the only memorable character in a film shunned for most acting accolades. The fiery combination of Kate and Leo works as they both love and hate one another. The main deterrent for many moviegoers may be the excessive arguing. If you can stomach their dysfunction, you'll find the Wheelers' extreme situation surprisingly relatable.


Slumdog Millionaire

Release: 11.12.08
2 hours
Rated R

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!


A young Mumbai man, Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), finds himself one question away from winning the grand prize on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Convinced the uneducated slumdog is cheating, he is hauled into jail to be questioned by the Police Inspector (Irrfan Khan, The Namesake). As they retrace every question, Jamal recalls the tragic events in his life that have led him to this amazing crossroads.

The clever storytelling, pulsing score and amazing scenery had my attention rapt from the start. Some will argue that it's a bit too fantastical to be taken seriously. All year long I watch ridiculous films with clichés of love and loss but the masses expect me to swallow that garbage. (I'm looking at you, Wild Hogs!) Slumdog depicts one man's resolve to rise above his station despite all the odds that are stacked against him. It may be a cliche, but it is something to behold.


The Wrestler

Release: 12.17.08
1 hour, 55 minutes
Rated R

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!


Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke, Sin City) is a professional wrestler from the days when 8-bit Nintendo was all the rage. Now, he wrestles weekends on the smaller ROH circuit. When he's forced to retire, Randy attempts to settle into a new life by making amends with his estranged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood, Thirteen), and creating a relationship with a local stripper, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny).

If you haven't heard by now, Mickey Rourke is awesome. For that matter, Marisa Tomei is awesome. Marisa Tomei's polework is pretty awesome, too. I was smitten with The Wrestler since the first trailer I ever saw and I promise it will not disappoint. Director Darren Aronofsky (Pi) crafts a tale so real and raw you can practically see the dirt under the nails, feel the cold New Jersey winds and smell the blood and sweat of every match. Powerful and phenomenal don't even begin to adequately describe this.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Photoshopping - Cross My Heart!

I was browsing Rotten Tomatoes when I came across this image of Mel Gibson at the 59th Annual ACE Eddie Awards:

What's worse?

That poor, poor Mel Gibson, while posing, just happened to cover up all but the edges of the ACE logo creating a rather dapper pair of horns for himself.

OR

That Mel, knowing his poor, poor reputation of late is knowingly sporting a twisty mustache and goatee that put both Al Swearengen and Dick Dastardly to shame!


*shaking my head in disbelief*

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jason Voorhees: Version 2.009

Friday the 13th


Release: 02.13.09
Rated R
1 hour, 35 minutes


Matinee




The date: June 13, 1980. It's Friday. It's dark and raining. A grief-stricken Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) goes all wack-a-doo, murdering the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake for letting her son Jason drown. As a young counselor enacts her revenge on Pamela, the allegedly dead Jason witnesses his mother's death. Fast forward to the present where an adult Jason (Derek Mears, Cursed) guards his Crystal Lake stomping grounds from carefree trespassers.

This reimagining wraps Friday the 13th Parts I, II and III all into one neat little package. Granted, Part I is summed up in about two minutes and what could pass for Part II is covered in the next twenty or so minutes. Maybe condensing the trilogy in this manner wasn't the intention of director Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but that's how it felt to this Friday fan.

However, the more densely packed story works well. Subtle inclusions such as young Jason's dusty shelf of archery trophies explains to viewers that the maniac has skills. Mentions of stolen kerosene prove Jason to be resourceful. Even ominous ramblings of townspeople explain Jason's territorial nature.

I was a little disappointed by the hollow-eyed Kewpie doll inhabiting Jason's childhood digs. This was reminiscent of the backwater The Texas Chainsaw Massacre home and not the toy of a boy from the late seventies. Honestly, with his love of archery where are his Bo and Luke Duke dolls!? Could he at least have had some Matchbox cars or a Colonel Steve Austin action figure?

As for the young adult victims, some are prattling, annoying douchebags so nothing's really changed over the past thirty years. But other characters such as Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki, House of Wax), Jenna (Danielle Panabaker, Mr. Brooks) and Trent (Travis Van Winkle, Accepted) are adequately developed, giving audiences an emotional connection to Jason's would-be victims. Not to spoil anything, but seeing one particular character scream like a little bitch is worth a full price admission alone!

Dirty Undies
Revisions to the Voorhees mythology and improvement of victim development aside, it really comes down to the slaughter. Jason is more sadistic than ever. Though his first killings occur offscreen, they quickly escalate to brutally graphic killings that gore lovers can relish. I'd have to count, but I wager there are as many F-bombs as in The Big Lebowski. This newest installment also returns to form by adding more nudity than were in most of the later sequels. Good Googly Moogly! The underwritten Bree (Julianna Guill) is most memorable, thanks to her extended sex scene.

The Money Shot
Friday the 13th is not without its problems. The desire to satisfy hardcore Friday fans' expectations totally ruined the ending for this fan. Also dedicating a few more minutes to the Voorhees history would have only improved the tale. Still, this is far and away one of the best in the series. I could nitpick, but the bottom line is that Jason is back, stacked and ready to hack!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, February 16, 2009

Huh, huh, You Said "Poll" (02.16.09)

The results are in! With seven out of eight votes, The Dark Knight has been crowned the best film of 2008.


The best, that is, from my #1 choice for each genre listed in My Secret Diary. Those films selected were:

Doomsday, Hamlet 2, Slumdog Millionaire, Quarantine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Dark Knight and Burn After Reading

A special nod to my wife who no doubt cast the single vote for Hamlet 2, just to give it the love that is so deserves.

In other poll news, I have not forgotten about the January release review I promised. The winning selection, Lakeview Terrace, sits in my DVD player as I type. Expect the review sometime post-Oscar Sunday.

Now it's time for a new poll! I am sure all of you know that today LeVar Burton turns 52.


LeVar Burton has made quite the contribution to television over the years, from Roots to Reading Rainbow. Whether he is endeavoring to teach children the joy of reading or stabilize the Enterprise warp core the question remains; where does your LeVar Burton love originate? The poll will be up for the next two weeks. I can hardly wait to see the results. Don't forget to wish Mr. Burton a happy birthday if you get the chance!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

MMM: And the Oscar Goes to...

We're less than a week away from Hollywood's big night; The Academy Awards. This year we have three selections in the category for Best Song. And the nominees are:

“Down to Earth” from WALL-E (Walt Disney),
Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel.

“Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight),
Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar.

“O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight),
Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam.

If you'd like to read a critique of the three songs, I suggest you venture over to the post LAMB Devours the Oscars - Best Original Song written by Kirby of Movie Dearest. It's a brief but concise prediction of the upcoming winner. In fact, if you have an Oscar Pool going at work or among your friends, the LAMB Devours the Oscars series is an excellent source to get a leg up on your ballot.

Reviewing these three songs, my personal favorite is not Gabrielle's Down to Earth, though I'm sure it will win. I've got nothing against Peter; I enjoy his music. I wouldn't have driven to Virginia for his concert if I didn't. No my choice comes from Slumdog Millionaire. I loved the peppy finale Jai Ho offers up but for me O Saya stuck with me long after I left the theater. A.R. Rahman's grooves combined with the lyrics of Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) were just spot on for the tribulations of Jamal Malik. That's what I think makes the best song.

If you've not heard it, now's your chance. I wanted to find an actual video for the song, but this montage of M.I.A. photos was the best out there. Not trying to knocking the vid's creator, but would it have killed you to throw in some stills of Rahman?

A.R. Rahman and M.I.A. - O Saya



I'd also love to see them win just to see if motherhood has changed M.I.A.'s fashion sense. I know folks were knockin' her Grammy outfit, but I got nothing but love for her and her individualized tastes.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, February 13, 2009

Liam Lays Down a Lickin!

Taken


Release: 01.30.09
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 34 minutes


Full Price
(New Rating!)




After years of putting work first, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson, Rob Roy), has retired from the government to be an active participant in the life of his seventeen year old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace, The Fog). To win her affections, Bryan agrees to let Kim summer in Paris with her bestest girlfriend. As Kim checks in with daddy dearest, the girls are abducted. Bryan, going only on their last call, has 96 hours to rescue the girls before they are lost forever to the seedy world of human trafficking.

Transporter writers Luc Bessson and Robert Mark Kamen craft an exciting character-centric action film. The abduction is the only sequence that doesn't feature Bryan. Early on the focus establishes Bryan's unease with being retired and with his ex-wife and daughter's new family. It's clear his passion lies in his work, though his love for his daughter rises above all else. When she is taken Bryan's love and anger spur him to action; combined with his particular set of skills he becomes a reckoning force on the streets of Paris.

Neeson hasn't kicked ass this much since Darkman. Sure, he was badass in Batman Begins but the adrenaline-induced, wrath of vengeance as Darkman better describes Taken's Bryan. More importantly, Neeson's talents give Bryan a depth of character that not any actor could have acheived. The supporting cast is window dressing. Famke Janssen (The Wackness) is becoming quite adept at the role of the indignant wife/ex-wife. Maggie Grace, though 25, passes for the virtuous teenage damsel.

Dirty Undies
Did I mention how much ass-kicking Neeson does? Each fuzzy clue Bryan uncovers yields more and more victims that meet either their demise or an EMT. Neeson is unrelenting and nigh unstoppable whether facing a hail of bullets, in an off-road car chase or tied up and outnumbered. Some moments do stretch the edges of believability but few action films manage to stay completely grounded. Director Pierre Morel (District B-13) proves once again that he can deliver intense and entertaining action. I'm most excited to watch Taken again on DVD, when it will no doubt be unrated to reveal more of the nasty cuts, bruises and bloodshed.

The Money Shot
I came out of Taken with no complaints. In the trailer, Neeson promises the abductor, "I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you." A simple premise, but one that Taken delivers at every turn for your enjoyment.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag!

To be more exact, stargazers, this 'new bag' means an updated ratings system and Papa, of course, means that I'm your Daddy! Ahem, anyways. As much as I like to believe, I am not always perfect. When I started this website nearly 250 posts ago, I followed one cardinal rule for my ratings:

"Seven's the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. Seven dwarves. Seven, man, that's the number. Seven chipmunks twirlin' on a branch, eatin' lots of sunflowers on my uncle's ranch."

Thus this system was born:

The Old Ratings System

Full Price ($$$$)
Full Price ($$) <> Matinee ($$)
Matinee ($$)
Matinee ($$) <> Second Run Seats ($)
Second Run Seats ($)
Second Run Seats ($) <> Group Rental ($)
Group Rental ($)

In all honesty, I never really cared for the "<>"symbols and I have come to learn that Blogger doesn't care for repeated "$'s". Blogger frequently removes the duplicates in an effort to "help" my writing.

I declare enough with the "<>", the "$'s" and my obvious fascination with "quotes!" It's 2009 and I think you stargazers need more change you can believe in. One change I won't be making is redoing my pre-2009 reviews...unless I find myself with a wealth of time on my hands (hahaha!). Instead, the following ratings will be effective from 2009 onward, or at least until my fickle ways spur me to change once again.

The New Ratings System

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!
Full Price
Matinee
Second Run Seats
A Netflix Night
Group Rental
Read a MuFu'n Book!

I haven't quite worked out what image will replace the "$" but I have a few ideas. I'm also open to suggestions, or criticisms if that's your bag. Enough blathering about the new ratings. Let's put this baby to work!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, February 9, 2009

MMM: Simultaneous Release

Morning Stargazers. Last week's mood music had quite a story accompanying it. This week I'll be brief.

I chose these fellas thanks to a MMM comment from fellow blogger Fletch over at Blog Cabins a couple weeks back. I've been enjoying them since I started high school. I wanted to reach back and pull one of their first big recognizable hits from the early nineties. However, my mind kept coming back to one of their later music videos which I absolutely love. This video is an homage to the evolution of rock with the Red Hot Chili Peppers sporting different outfits and themes from the Beatles to Hendrix to Nirvana. So RHCP fans, have no fear that another of their great songs will appear at a later date on MMM. Until then enjoy:


Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Dani California




Fun fact: RHCP's bassist, Flea, starred in the final two Back to the Future films and my one of my all-time favorite flicks, The Big Lebowski.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trailer Trash: The February-09 Gang Bang

The lackluster month of January is behind us; all hail the lackluster month that is February! The new releases listed at IMDB are really starting to show the strain of last year's writers' strike. Let's see if there's anything we'd want to touch with our ten-foot poles.

Exercise the Right To Cinematic Celibacy.

Pink Panther 2 (02.06) As Martin-Clouseau says, "Turdburger! Turdburger!" Even he can smell the stink on this one.


Push (02.06) A.k.a., Heroes: The Movie. I quit watching that show cuz it sucked, so no way will I pay to see these yahoos beat this dead plot-horse that is people with powers.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (02.13) Nothing like romanticizing away thousands of dollars in reckless consumer debt while the population at large loses their livelihood. Isla Fisher's breakout, this will not be.

Madea Goes to Jail (02.20) This could be fun fantasy fulfillment for those who'd like to see Tyler Perry incarcerated for his crimes against moviegoers. Then again, your money would go to fund his next abuse so maybe not.

Fired Up (02.20) I haven't seen a good high-school movie starring thirty-somethings in a while. Luckily, this doesn't look like a good high-school movie so it'll save me the disappointment.

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience (02.27) Sorry stargazers, but I couldn't bring myself to watch anything Jonas Brothers, especially 3D JoBros. I'll take your word for how good or bad this is.

It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

Coraline (02.06) I'm up for a good stop-motion film, especially when it looks dark yet whimsical. The RealD 3D leaves me more than a little gun shy.

The International (02.13) The world's largest bank uses its investors' money to kill people. Sounds better than banks taking your money and leaving nothing to show for it. If the bailout doesn't work, maybe Clive Owen can be the backup plan.


Moist With Antici...Pation!

He's Just Not That Into You (02.06) I'm just that into this for three reasons: Ginnifer Goodwin, Justin Long and Scarlett Johansson. Plus, the ensemble casting means Aniston and Affleck can't screw this up too badly.


Fanboys (02.06) This flick's release has been shuffled more times than a deck of cards in Vegas. Even so, the cameo-laden film about Star Wars geeks will be better than suffering through The Phantom Menace again.

Friday the 13th (02.13) Today is his birthday. Rather, re-birthday as Michael Bay & Co. attempt to breath life into the favoritest of slashers series. I'm just excited that he's sporting the flour sack!


Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li (02.27) I was addicted to this game and this character years ago. Hopefully, Kristin Kreuk will redeem her piss-poor Smallville days as Chun Li. It makes my must-see simply because I'm feenin' for some kung fu action.

***

I am being really, really generous with my anticipation, with the exception of Friday the 13th. Let's hope I'll be proven wrong this month. In the meantime, I'll finish catching up on all the Academy-nominated films before the big night.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

3D: Death, Depravity...and Dismal Technology

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Release: 01.16.09
Rated R
1 hour, 41 minutes

Second Run Seats (New Rating!)


I can't believe I'm admitting this, but this flick is the first 2009 release I saw in theaters...and I paid for it! Usually, my first three or four films of the year are all from free passes, but this year I broke tradition and shilled out for a matinee.. and sprung the extra $2.50 for the RealD glasses. The box-office attendant said the charge was not for the glasses but a "technology surcharge." More on that in a moment.

Years ago in the town of Harmony, a group of miners were trapped in, you guessed it, a mine. One dude, Harry Warden, went batshit loco, plunging his pick into the skulls of his friends like he was milking coconuts. Unconscious when rescued, Warden awakens in the hospital on Valentine's Day and proceeds to murder beaucoup people until supposedly killed in his mine hideout. Ten years pass and the kid responsible for the initial mining accident, Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles, TV: Supernatural), has returned to Harmony to sell the mine and put the past behind him...until the murderous Miner returns to kill again.

Back to the RealD experience. A few moments are pretty spanky; a couple of out-of-the-screen images might even make you flinch. Then there's a really cheesy eyeball scene that makes Friday the 13th Part 3-D's eyeball scene look spectacular. When the camera pans real slow, the 3D effects are solid, but once the camera or the subjects gain any momentum, it turns into a migraine-inducing blur.

I did take some time to shift my focus to the more thematic elements. The direction is decent; character establishment and the twisty story progression are strong for this type of B-movie horror concept. The acting is also mostly B-grade with more than a few C- and D-grade performances that are more distracting than supporting. Two shining lights are serial-sheriff actor Tom Atkins (Maniac Cop) and Roadhouse's Tilghman, Kevin Tighe.

Dirty Undies
Valentine excels in graphic excess. A massive maniac miner running around town, planting his pick in about every bodily location imaginable, provides enough blood and gory goodness to satisfy us depraved fans. The overreaching 3D moments rarely do the bloodshed justice; the severed hearts were far more creepy. Valentine only musters a single sex scene but I hope Betsy Rue got some serious cheddar. She spends the bulk of her screentime running around in platforms buck-ass naked.

The Money Shot
Is My Bloody Valentine 3D a great flick? Ha, not by a longshot! It is nasty, cheesy fun. I don't recommend pissing away the extra cash on the marvel that is 3D technology. I am hoping Valentine's problems are due to low budget and that James Cameron's $200 million budget for Avatar will be spooze-worthy (I'm not holding my breath). See it for the gore, but don't expect anything more.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

MMM: My Other Wife

Happy Monday, stargazers! Since last week was all about my 2008 Secret Diary, I thought I'd pass along one more confession to my readers.

Back in 2006, my then fiancé and I were scrambling to get all the ducks in a row for our big wedding in September. We were stressed and exhausted as most people are during this time. However, we had a bigger problem. My bachelor bucket list was still unfulfilled. I had not had the opportunity to occupy the same room as this phenomenal performer. As I had stressed to both my fiancé and our friends several times, I had no intention of going through with the wedding until my wish had been satisfied.

Luckily, she was touring and after hours of fighting with Ticketmaster's crappy online service, I scored a pair of tickets...at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. If you don't know, we live in North Carolina but this was the closest and best venue. The first of September we hopped the Amtrak and railed our way up to that uh, 'unique' city. The winds and rain that weekend were insane, the remnants of Hurricane Ernesto still lingered along the Atlantic Coast. That didn't stop us from making the trek out of our hotel and finding our great seats at stage right, less than a hundred feet from the stage.

The lights dimmed and Shakira's Oral Fixation concert began. It was awesome! At one point, she went stage left into the audience and performed in the exact mirror of my location. I was pumped to think she would similarly bless our side with her presence, but devastated when she never did. Still, it was a phenomenal evening. We weren't quite lucky enough to run into her while walking the Boardwalk which is probably for the better. Had she had the opportunity to meet me, I'm certain she would have been instantly smitten. I would have been whisked away with the tour and all those months of wedding planning would have been ruined.

Shakira hit it big in the US back in 2001, though her first official hit was released in her native country of Columbia in 1995. Shakira is an astounding performer. She has done little wrong in my eyes in her career (well, except for not venturing stage right that night). Today, February 2, she turns 32 and I'd like to treat everyone to that first hit from her album Pies Descalzos:

Shakira - ¿Dónde Estás Corazón?



I could go on at length about her career, her greatest videos and my favorite songs, just ask my wife. Instead, I'll save that for another mood music. FYI, the translation of the title is Where Are You, Love?. I was stage right querido, I was stage right.

Happy Birthday, Shakira!

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Secret Diary '08: Confessions Part VII

Whoops, I've let the Super Bowl distract me. Just kidding. Time to dispense with the jokes and make with the venti-sized Finale.

Award #11: 2008 Dirty Undies Award

Those who frequent the Reel Whore know that I enjoy any film that gives me something dirty to talk about. I try to acknowledge any appreciable measure of violence, gore, sex, nudity and general foulness in a film, though it's getting harder and harder in this kid-friendly, PG-13, over-the-pants-hand-job most films aspire to nowadays. Still, there are a good number of films that give up the goods. This award commends those films steeped in Dirty Undies.

The Sloppy Seconds:

sex drive zack_and_miri mmtrain
rambo-poster ruins-poster-girl inbruges_poster

Sex Drive; Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Midnight Meat Train; Rambo; The Ruins; In Bruges

And the winner of the 2008 Dirtiest Undies Award is:

Doomsday

doomsday_movie

Unlike 2007, this year's decision was very difficult. Each film managed to solidly claim one or two of the Dirty Undies elements but none quite mastered all the major excesses. In the end, Doomsday was such insanely depraved fun that it edged out the competition. It also helped Rhona Mitra command much respect for being a hottie and a badass.

Every year, I like to point out the movies that I feel were misjudged. A handful of films seem to never leave the theater, making beaucoup dollars despite being mediocre. 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 2008.

hamlet2 hellboy2poster midnight-meat-postsm

Severely Underrated

Most Overrated

Hamlet 2

WALL-E

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Twilight

Midnight Meat Train

Hancock

WALLE_teaser_poster twilightposter hancock-poster

Drumroll please!

It's taken seven days but I now present to you...


Award #12: 2008'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 two also-rans, and finally, the single worst film that robbed minutes away from my life.

ACTION
doomsday Best: Doomsday

Sloppy Seconds: Quantum of Solace
Sloppy Thirds: Transporter 3

Worst Attempt: The Forbidden Kingdom

Quantum had little chance of topping the perfection established in Casino Royale, and I say this as a huge Bond fan. Though decent, it couldn't hold a candle to the action-packed mayhem and hysteria of Doomsday.

For the second year in a row, a Jackie Chan film scrapes the bottom of the action barrel. I need to pop in Legend of the Drunken Master to remind myself of the good times.

COMEDY
hamlet2 Best: Hamlet 2

Sloppy Seconds: Kung Fu Panda
Sloppy Thirds:
The House Bunny

Worst Attempt: Strange Wilderness

That's right. There is no ultimate love for Tropic Thunder, Step Brothers or Pineapple Express by the Reel Whore. Those three had hilarious moments with a lot of middling, overcompensating gags. With Hamlet 2, Kung Fu Panda and The House Bunny, I laughed harder and more consistently from beginning to end. Why waste time on uneven comedy?

As I look back on 2008, I am surprised to find that no other comedy sunk lower than Strange Wilderness. I really wanted to like this Steve Zhan flick, but the few scattered jokes really didn't improve with age.

DRAMA
slumdog Best: Slumdog Millionaire

Sloppy Seconds: Doubt
Sloppy Thirds:
The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button

Worst Attempt: Meet the Browns

Drama is always the most difficult category for me to judge. I must have been raised on too many Sly Stallone and Bill Murray flicks. But I know a winner when I see it, and Slumdog still sparkles in my mind with superb storytelling. Doubt narrowly fell to second though its performances were unmatched. Benjamin Button, despite its three hour runtime, is such a charismatic tale that you can't hate it.

I will give Tyler Perry credit for making some enjoyable films during his recent fame. However, Meet the Browns ain't one of them. Melodrama aside, severe miscasting and poor, poor technical execution will make your head hurt for days.

HORROR
quarantine Best: Quarantine

Sloppy Seconds: Cloverfield
Sloppy Thirds: Midnight Meat Train

Worst Attempt: The Happening

All three of these films will have you on the edge of your seats, but Quarantine's heart-pounding mystery and graphic images rise to the top.

Last year, the worst horror film was Captivity, which I unaffectionately referred to as "CRAPTIVITY." It is fitting that this year's film has also received a re-dubbing, "The CRAPPENING." M. Night Shyamalan's latest disappointment earned its title for every moment it stole from me.

ROMANCE
forgetting_sarah_marshall_movie_poster Best: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Sloppy Seconds:
Elegy
Sloppy Thirds: Vicky Cristina
Barcelona


Worst Attempt: Over Her Dead Body

2008 was really a great year for romance films, but none had as much emotional depth, believability or Jason-Segel ball sack as Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Honestly, I don't even want to think about the suckfest that was Over Her Dead Body. Paul Rudd is dreamy but not even he could float this sinking turd.

SCI-FI/FANTASY
dark-knight-poster Best: The Dark Knight

Sloppy Seconds: Hellboy II:
The Golden Army

Sloppy Thirds: Iron Man

Worst Attempt: Max Payne

I don't think I need to explain my choices here.

I think I whipped this dead horse plenty just last week. I'll just say again, any film that wastes Mila Kunis and Olga Kurylenko deserves no love.

THRILLER
burn-after-reading-poster Best: Burn After Reading

Sloppy Seconds: In Bruges
Sloppy Thirds: The Bank Job

Worst Attempt: Untraceable

It was a true photo finish between Burn After Reading and In Bruges. On the one hand, Bruges had the bottle scene and the shortarse. But Burn had the power of the Coens, the inanity of Brad Pitt and Sledgehammer. What more could you ask for?

Oh Untraceable, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways. Actually, let's skip all that and just hope that all my readers out there were lucky enough to dodge this bullet.

As with every year, I always find that a few films don't fit into my set genres. This year, five films were excluded from my established genre count. These films were: I.O.U.S.A.; Man on Wire; Religulous; Shine A Light; and Young@Heart. My personal favorite was Young@Heart though Man on Wire is a spectacular story. Of the five, I.O.U.S.A. comes off a bit dry but is so factually disturbing, especially given our current economic situation. I feel comfortable urging you to rent all of these great flicks.

***

That's all I wrote, folks. Agree? Disagree? Indifferent to it all? I'd love to hear what you have to say. In honor of my Top 7 of 2008, I have set up a poll on the right. Take a minute to vote on which of these seven films was the best. I'll be returning to my regular format tomorrow.

Thank you all for continuing to stop in and enjoy my site. Also, many thanks to those who have helped the site grow in 2008. I am looking forward to watching many, many 2009 films and cranking out some spanky reviews.

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