Monday, December 29, 2008

MMM: Thank U 4 A Funky Time

I tell you, between the holidays and my recovery, I can't seem to take proper care of the site. With the new year fast approaching, it's time to declare those resolutions and maintaining my website will be in there...somewhere, I promise.

In the meantime, it's time to start the week off with a kick-ass groove. Those who know me, know this choice is a no-brainer even if it is a bit cliché. It goes without saying he is my favorite artist. He's been putting out CDs for nearly as long as I've been breathing and is still going strong with a new album nearly every year.

This selection may be obvious, but since we're ringing in the new 2009, why not remember what it's like to party like it's 1999? Prince had the right idea twenty-six years ago and though we've moved beyond the Judgement Day-millennium paranoia, I think the world's still screwy enough that the sentiment holds strong.

I grabbed this from the MTV website for it's high quality, though the lame commercial preceding it cannot be helped. Persevere through it and then rock out with the man and his awesome purple jacket.

Prince - 1999

Got any 2009 resolutions you want to share?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, December 22, 2008

MMM: Look Frank. It's a Toaster!

Hey Stargazers! Sorry but my recovery has me a bit out of whack with my timing. Better late than never I say. This week's mood music is an uplifting song that I cannot wait to hear when I sit down to enjoy my cache of holiday favorites.

This particular tune is sung by the cast at the end of the film Scrooged. As an added holiday bonus, I thought I'd present this nice little promo to persuade you to give this flick a look-see if you never have before:

Though this week's music selection is performed by the cast of Scrooged, the soundtrack version was a duet performed by Annie Lennox and Al Green. I know that's a bit of an oddball collabo, but it works. The video posted below, however, doesn't work as looks like a sort of epileptic barrage of snowflakes, movie clips and Christmas cheer. What do you want? It was the 80's. Never the less, I hope you enjoy...

Put a Little Love in Your Heart

Wow, doesn't that just ooze the Eighties?!

Happy Holidays!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Wrath of McCoy Ends!

Hey friends, readers and stargazers!

I know you've probably forgotten all about the Reel Whore since the auto posts died out over a week ago. Don't blame me, blame the doctors and the hospital.

After being sent home shortly after my last Monday Mood Music, I was on the road to recovery until a three day follow-up landed me back in the clink. After a week with little sleep, little food and many nights with an annoying roommate, I demanded to be sent home rather than waste another day of my life in that hole. I am home now, thankfully, and I am going to fight tooth and nail to avoid being readmitted at my next appointment. I have more tubes in me than a cyborg and my belly is carved up like a Turistas reject, but honestly, I'm doing much better now.

I'm well enough to enjoy the holidays and all the holiday movies that are being released. I have over a dozen posts in the queue that I hope to release over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I've got much catching up to do at the theaters. Maybe I'll see you there!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, December 8, 2008

MMM: I Can Sing, I Just Chose Not to Sing

*This post is on the Wrath of McCoy! auto-pilot.*

Recently, the television has been blasting one of my new holiday favorites, Elf. I haven't sat down to actually watch it yet, but plan will be to curl up with several other holidays faves and make a weekend of it.

In Elf, Zooey Deschanel played the thirteen-year-younger love interest to Will Ferrell's Buddy. Now looking to tap that, though with an even more questionable eighteen-year age gap is Jim Carrey in the upcoming Yes Man. While I'll save my critique of that film for another time, I want to focus on Zooey.

For those who don't know, Zooey is the vocals, piano and percussion in the duo She & Him. The wifey bought me their debut CD, Volume One, for my b-day and I have been grooving to it frequently since. Well, grooving is a relative term as it has a mellow, old-school country vibe and I find Zooey's voice quite soothing. This selection isn't my favorite from the album, but it's intriguing and bizarre and a perfect selection for this week's mood music:

Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

Enjoy the Zooey goodness.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, December 5, 2008

Trailer Trash: The December 5th Quickie

*This post is on the Wrath of McCoy! auto-pilot.*

This month's Gang Bang has been reduced to a series of weekly quickies not only because of the Wrath of McCoy but also because of the season. That's right, with so many films vying for your holiday bucks and Academy recognition, December is nothing short of a clusterfuck when it comes to releases.

Each week this month, I will be making an effort to report to you all major theatrical releases and any limited releases according to IMDB. Given that I'll be lucky to see any limited releases in my area by the end of December, I'll be skipping the elusive and highly exclusive LA/NY releases. Let's jump right in to this week:

Cadillac Records (limited) For those who don't know, Beyoncé is an ass hair away from a Face Punch. Still, this story about the rise and fall of Chess Records has too many great names (Mos Def, Gabrielle Union) not to see. I'm curious as to how a film starring Academy Award winner Adrien Brody and Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Wright manages to give Sasha Fierce an "AND" credit. WTF?!

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

Punisher: War Zone You'd think a comic character born out of the thrilling vigilante, above-the-law films of the last few decades wouldn't have a hard time adapting to the big screen. The old Dolph Lundgren flick came close, but the Thomas Jane-John Travolta fare was all kinds of crap. After that one, Ray Stevenson and director Lexi Alexander have miles to go to conquer that mountain of turd.

Exercise the Right To Cinematic Celibacy.

Nobel Son (limited) I'd never heard of this. The trailer looks fast and funny and has tons of under appreciated actors including Bill Pullman, Shawn Hatosy and one of my favorites, Alan Rickman. This could be more painful than it looks, but with Eliza Dushku starring alongside Rickman, I'll take my chances.

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

Short and not so sweet, but that's what a quickie is all about.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Repeat Bidness: An Inconvenient Truth

*This post is on the Wrath of McCoy! auto-pilot.*

An Inconvenient Truth

Release: 05.24.06
DVD Release: 11.21.06
Rated PG

1 hour, 40 minutes

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

In Superman Returns Lex Luthor wants to create a new land mass in the Atlantic Ocean because real estate means money and power. The problem with creating the new land mass is that it would effectively destroy Metropolis with flooding and tidal waves. Luckily for the world, Superman is there to fly in and save the day. It’s a great story line and a great movie that you should check out if you haven’t already. But you may ask yourself, why am I talking about Superman Returns in a review for An Inconvenient Truth? Because the premise is strikingly similar and not as fictional as you think. Researchers have been touting the environmental effects of global warming for decades. Global warming is reported to attribute to increased melting of glaciers and ice caps on countries such as Greenland. As the temperature rises, the ice melts and much of the planet’s frozen lands will be uncovered and readied for development. Of course, all that water will flood millions of miles of existing land and one thing’s for certain; we have no Superman to stop it.

Luckily, we have former Vice President Al Gore, and though he isn’t donning any tights or cape, he has taken to the skies to travel and educate the world about the impacts of global warming in the hopes that citizens will join together to make a global change. Director Davis Guggenheim (TV: Deadwood) presents Gore’s global journey in a documentary designed to take the message to audiences beyond the lecture hall. The documentary highlights Gore’s entire presentation, complete with visual aids and witticisms. Guggenheim does depart intermittently from the engaging presentation to delve into the orator’s history. The departures review Gore’s youth in Tennessee and Washington, D.C., his time as a senator, his son’s near-death experience, and his time as a presidential candidate, all of which help to depict Gore as a concerned individual who is reaching out to his fellow man rather than a politician or salesman with a ulterior purpose. While it is true that Gore is a politician and everyone has an agenda, the documentary successfully utilizes these segues to present the issue of global warming as pertinent to everyone.

Though it is a documentary, specifically a documentary centered on a presentation, it is engaging and at times amusing despite the weighty subject. Gore’s use of satellite imagery and historical photos help put the problem into an easily understandable perspective. For folks who may need more convincing, the documentary discusses specific research that supports the effect global warming is having on the planet. For audiences who are well-versed in global warming it is probably a little too simplified and may be a bit dull, but the average concerned individual should receive a solid foundation for understanding this issue.

Dirty Undies
Gore gets a bit passionate but not quite worked up enough to generate anything worthy of Dirty Undies status.

The Money Shot
The popular media will say that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that global warming is the cause of our increasingly hot summers. This documentary gives you the information to help you decide for yourself. Whether you come out a believer or not, going to see this film will, at the very least, spare you from the record heat wave we’re experiencing for a couple hours.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Than a Mouthful: factualTV

*This post is on the Wrath of McCoy! auto-pilot.*

First, I must apologize to Carl over at factual TV for neglecting his request for so many months. You see, Carl put me onto his website which I've found is a great place to find documentaries you may not have heard of otherwise.

Being the Reel Whore that I am, I had to check out one of the most popular documentary films, This is Rock Bitch.

This is Rock Bitch Trailer (NSFW)

Unfortunately, I have yet to finish the film, though not because it was painful to watch. I had some issues with the player, which I believe are more a function of my pathetic Vista-infected machine and a wonky Firefox upgrade than the factualTV site. I am hoping to find more time to finish this high-quality film and check out many of the others which can be found under topics ranging from biographies to culture to sports and more.

Once you sign up, you're given a number of credits which you can use to purchase any documentaries that are available for download. You can see trailers for all films. Some films are free, others you'll need to purchase but so far I've only seen films priced at $1.99 to $2.99 which isn't terrible. If you get the chance, you should give factualTV a look see.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, December 1, 2008

MMM: One you Can Really Party to

*This post is on the Wrath of McCoy! auto-pilot.*

It's hard to believe but I've been cranking out the Monday Mood Music post for well over two months. In all those weeks, I have neglected to showcase an artist from my state. It's time to remedy that oversight today.

A few weeks back I watched Bill Maher's documentary Religulous. While I haven't found the time to post my review of this entertaining film, one thing I enjoyed was the music. One appropriately matched song I instantly recognized as a tune created by a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This gentleman is especially well-known in the Triangle area of NC, but many may recognize him as the frontman of Ben Folds Five. This week's mood music selection, however, is from Ben Folds's 2005 album, Songs for Silverman. Welcome to


North Carolina Represent!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dammit Jim! 2: The Wrath of McCoy!

Just when

you thought

it was safe!

A little over two months ago, the doctors lured me into a world of slicing, dicing and drug-induced happiness to help remedy some chronic issues. Since that time, I have clawed my way back to normalcy, and to regular posting at the Whore.

The doctors think I am doing so well that I should come back to let them finish the job they started. As such, the site will auto-update beginning Monday and most likely continue for two weeks.

Like before, any posts made during this time will be marked by the auto-pilot heading. Don't think the Whore doesn't appreciate any comments you make during this time; just know it may be a while before I respond.

Also, when you stop by, don't forget to vote on this month's poll; I want to know "How will The Spirit move you?" In other words, what do you anticipate your reaction to be when you see The Spirit?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Save the Slut, Save the World.

Transporter 3

Release: 11.26.08
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 40 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

The Transporter, Frank Martin (Jason Statham, Death Race), is semi-retired, choosing to be more selective of his jobs. When his replacement 'stops by' his home and 'gives up' the gig, Frank awakes to find himself employed against his will. Fitted with an explosive bracelet that tethers him to his car, his only choice is to follow orders and deliver the package, Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), whenever and where ever Mr. Johnson (Robert Knepper, Hitman) instructs.

Though the director changes (it's now Oliver Megaton) the story stays virtually the same thanks to the writing of creators Robert Mark Kamen and Luc Besson. Like before, a simple job agreed upon under Frank's simple rules doesn't quite go to plan. As one character quips, "With you (Frank), it's always complicated." Transporter 3's stunts are especially complicated and barely plausible. The grandeur of the road chase on two-wheels and the BIG thug fight is instantly familiar as old Bond ploys. The train battle isn't nearly as ludicrous as Steven Seagal, a la Under Siege 2, with his speed-walk escape from the cascading explosion, but it's pretty close.

Even so, my biggest issue is with the premise that Frank's bracelet goes boom if he is farther than 75 feet from his car. I'm thinking that was a metric-to-standard conversion mistake. The intent had to be 75 meters. Otherwise, Frank and his package's arses would have painted the streets red ten times over. But that's the great thing about this series and over-the-top action in general; if you leave your brain at the door and just let the adrenaline rush consume you, it's great.

Dirty Undies
Statham's badass performance as Frank keeps you hyped. As a bonus he somehow manages to go shirtless not once or twice but four times! One of these tattered shirt, rippling muscle moments occurs during an intense fight sequence with Valentina watching. As Frank busts heads, Valentina's cute freckled expression transforms beyond bedroom eyes into fuck-me-raw-on-the-hood-of-your-sweet-ride eyes. At that moment I understood why Rudakova was chosen as Transporter 3's hottie. The action, while unbelievable at times, was still packed with excellently sequenced chases and fights with a smattering of explosions for good measure.

The Money Shot
Since producers are determined to turn Bond into a serious-natured commodity, action fans must turn to films like Transporter 3 to get that quick fix. As the holidays approach and theater screens become inundated with the emotionally heavy, award-hopeful fare, Transporter 3 is that serving of comfort food that helps leave those worries at the door.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Forever. Begins. Now." - Oh, How True.


Release: 11.21.08
Rated PG-13
2 hours, 2 minutes

Second-Run Seats ($$)

With her mom and stepdad traveling the country, Isabella "Bella" Swan (Kristen Stewart, The Messengers) returns to her hometown of Forks, Washington to live with her father, Police Chief Charlie Swan (Billy Burke, Untraceable). The aloof Bella receives a warm welcome in high school, but feels drawn to the odd Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). The strange boy and stranger attraction draws Bella into an inhuman world. As her romantic fantasy with Edward becomes real, an outsider, James (Cam Gigandet), chooses Bella as his next murder victim.

I haven't read the Twilight series. I tend to dislike movies if I've read the book first. For perspective, I accompanied a Twilighter (a fan of the series). We both agreed the movie really makes you want to read the book - just to have proof the tween phenomenon is not as bad as this adaptation. Like to hear why? Here it go:

During the first half, Bella's angst and yearning is impenetrable. Bella is greeted warmly by the most diverse group of students ever for a town with a population of 3,125. Bella, in return, is rudely indifferent to the Mouseketeers, repeatedly turning down invitations and ignoring them. Unbelievably, their onslaught of kindness never falters. When Edward shares the screen, the duo mostly share intense eye contact. Their occasional snippets of conversation end abruptly and cryptically. At one point, Edward confesses to Bella he can read everyone's mind except hers. That's because she has the personality and aptitude of a doorknob. This budding romance is so frustratingly slow that even the camera goes insane; it's like riding a carnival Orbiter on a dreary day.

Having to establish the prevailing series arc doesn't help the pacing either for director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen). Several characters are irrelevant, but need introduction for the inevitable sequels. The excruciating slowness picks up after the one-hour mark when Bella and Edward finally reveal their love and he, his secrets. Edward manages to stop looking nauseated around Bella and she actually smiles; both improve the tale by leaps and bounds. If you're like a few from my screening, it won't matter because you've left long before the climax.

Dirty Undies
This barely deserves its PG-13 rating. Their love is a chaste one, though the then under-aged Stewart is a little agressive. Us adults are free to stare at the other 'high schoolers'; the glittering chest of Pattinson or the slight cleavage of Anna Kendrick (Rocket Science) is about all the heat this steamy tale musters. The climatic final battle was pretty exciting, with a little blood and some insinuated brutality. It probably wasn't that great, but I was feening for a fight fix after sitting this long.

The Money Shot
Hardwicke portrays Bella as a strong, independent young woman, the one thing my Twilighter buddy found improved from the needy character in the books. If you, like me, are one of the contributors to Twilight's huge opening box office, I feel your pain. If you haven't anted up yet, save your money. Us dupes have helped to greenlight the sequel; I only hope we'll know better next time.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, November 24, 2008

MMM: There Can Be Only One!

One thing I enjoy most about the Monday Mood Music, aside from sharing my many favorite performers and songs with you, is always uncover interesting facts I never knew.

This week's selection was specifically written for a movie soundtrack by this great rock band. The film was most likely my first introduction to this band and their music still remains on our wePod today. On a side note, this particular film features Sean Connery, winner of my Favorite Bond poll. (don't forget to vote on the new poll!)

But my love for Connery and Highlander has nothing to do with this mood music selection. On this day, November 24, in 1991 Farrokh Bulsara, better known as Freddie Mercury the lead singer of Queen, died from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS (wiki). It's really a shame he is no longer with us. I'd like to think were he here, he would still be touring with the energy of the Rolling Stones and not resigned to make album after album of covers.

In honor of Freddie Mercury's passing seventeen years ago, here's Queen with Princes of the Universe from the Highlander soundtrack:


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bourne...Jason Bourne - Sorry, my mistake!

Quantum of Solace

Release: 11.14.08
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 41 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

Picking up shortly after Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig, Layer Cake) brings the villainous Mr. White in for questioning. After an attempt on M's life (Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal), White escapes and Bond is in hot pursuit. The trail leads to the environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric, Munich) and his lover Camille (Olga Kurylenko, Hitman). Bond must go rogue, disobeying MI6 orders, to prove Greene is part of a larger conspiracy known only as Quantum.

Bond 22 kicks off like a good Bond film should; with an action packed adrenaline rush that flows into the title sequence. The title sequence, a sandy silhouette of Bond, bullets and curvaceous babes was extremely satisfying for this fanboy. From there, the film continues with an action-heavy front end, though much of those scenes are an unrecognizable blur. One particular fight sequence instantly reminded me of the Bourne series. First, I blamed director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) for being unable to shoot action properly; having to rely upon a frenetic, indiscernible flurry of shots. Ironically, my research uncovered that second unit director Dan Bradley was hired specifically for his previous Bourne work. Many PG-13 films tend to rely on blurred action to keep the film short while maintaining a faux brutality. Personally, I'd rather have stretched the run time of Quantum over two hours if it meant clearly-shot fight sequences and well framed chases.

Speaking of time, Casino Royale may have clocked in an hour longer, but Quantum felt just as long. The beginning action had to diverge into a lengthy exposition of Bond, Camille and Greene's stories to give the climax the proper umph. Craig still approaches Bond as a no nonsense, unstoppable force of reckoning. Kurylenko played Camille as stubborn, her story tragic, and she pulled off the anger and sympathy while still looking amazing. Dench played the normally unshakable M with a tinge of vulnerability at the thought of a powerful, secretive society right under her nose.

Dirty Undies
Car, plane and boat chases, highlighted by plain ol' ass-whoopings were plentiful, even if the action was a jumbled mess more often than not. Kurylenko was oh so hot, even with the barely explained scarring. My friends would have preferred to have seen more Gemma Arterton (and I assume her character), but Kurylenko was the appropriate fit to match Bond's fixated and hurried pace.

The Money Shot
I like the homages in Quantum; the Universal Exports business card and the Goldfinger scene helped to remind me this was in fact a Bond film and not some Shooter, Bourne or Transporter wannabe. The superb acting, story and the few allusions to Bonds of yore make Quantum of Solace a formidable addition to the 007 history. I, with five friends in tow, went into Quantum with expectations high. When we all exited expressing similar misgivings about the dark direction of the series, it couldn't let it go unmentioned. Bond has been a spy of unparalleled prowess for decades, it's time he starts to act like one.


Creative Suggestions
I feel the conclusion of Quantum leaves the door open for the series to see a return to familiar ground. Here's a few things that will make this Bond fan extremely happy:

1) Hire a director that can balance well-developed story telling with coherent action sequences.

2) Get some new writing blood so you can lighten (just a bit) the weighty emotional turmoil of the characters.

3) M needs a Miss Moneypenny, if for nothing more than to give Bond a softer, more playful side.

4) We need a nearly unbeatable henchman. A big, burly mutha that Bond can't smackdown in five to seven seconds. He doesn't need any steel-rimmed hat or metal teeth gimmick, he just needs to present a challenge that can't be removed with fists.

5) Bring back the quips! A Bond is only as good as his banter and ability to laugh in the face of danger. I'm not saying go all "Snowboards and California Girls" on us, but a little fun is acceptable.

6) How about Bond have better gadgets than a cell phone that takes really great photos? Again, the car doesn't have to turn invisible, but can we get a tear gas pen?


7) Major Boothroyd a.k.a. Q must not be absent any longer! Hiring Ricky Gervais or Simon Pegg is a bit of overkill for such a small role. Might I suggest Alan Tudyk of Firefly fame or that naked stand-in from Love Actually, Martin Freeman. A charming fellow along these lines will help soften the rugged exterior of Craig-Bond. This, EON Productions, is non-negotiable.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Huh, huh, You Said "Poll" (11.20.08)

Wow! It pays to have a question worth asking. After dismal participation in my Ugly Betty poll, my James Bond poll yielded the highest participation to date; and ran for a fraction of the time! If you don't recall, I wanted to know which actor was your favorite Eon Productions' James Bond. With a total of 15 votes, here's the breakdown:

0 Votes:

Pierce Brosnan
, George Lazenby and Roger Moore got no love from the masses! Lazenby I totally understand given his single film turn. I don't get all the Brosnan haters. Like my buddy Will said, folks loved him when Goldeneye released but once Casino Royale opened folks were like, "Brosnan was shit!" Fine, be a fair weather Pierce fan, but there is NO EXCUSE for the lack of Roger Moore love. Sure, he was campy and he rarely did his own stunts, but damn if he didn't look and age better than Connery during his Bond stint. Plus Moore was smooth as butter with the ladies. For shame, people. For shame.

1 Vote:

Timothy Dalton
did get a single vote, but I assume someone's mouse finger slipped. Seriously, this man managed to re-energize the series in his first installment and murder it on his reprisal. To each his own I suppose.

3 Votes:

Daniel Craig came onto the scene swinging in Casino Royale and managed to score 3 votes solely on that performance (the poll closed before Quantum opened). I had my doubts monkey-face would have the sex appeal and swagger to pull off Bond, but he brought all that and more to his debut. Tune back in tomorrow to see how I thought he fared in his reprisal.

And the Winner, with 11 Votes:

Sean Connery blew away the competition. Damn straight! Connery set the tone for all Bonds to follow. He was suave and sophisticated, but wasn't afraid to beat a mo fo down, be it a nasty villain or sexy dame. Rugged and irresistible, he was the damn man.

I didn't vote in this poll. I have a rule of thumb about Bonds; the only great ones have made three or more films. That's right. You can't accurately judge a Bond on a couple of films. Sometimes Bond must be more debonair than destructive while others require tact more so than muscle. It can be difficult to balance all those elements in a single story. I have equal love for Connery, Moore and Brosnan. Connery is the no-nonsense original; the ultimate alpha male. Moore was the smooth operator; melt her panties instead of ripping them off. Brosnan brought class to the camp and sharpened the dulled edge of the character. I have much love for Craig, but until he turns in one more installment, he shall not attain true Reel Whore love.

*** New Poll ***

Enough with the Bond love...for now. It's time for a new poll to adorn my sidebar. I'll make this one simple. Everyone's heard the buzz about Frank Miller's The Spirit. Since its Miller's directorial debut I can't miss this film's debut. Still, my spidey-sense is tingling (I'd say I've got the whore itch, but that's just nasty). Anywho...

I'm wondering if we're seeing this Christmas release as not a sign of confidence in the product but as counter programming to Oscar potentials? How will The Spirit move you? Will The Spirit reach new levels of awesomenicity, will it sucka donkey balls or do you not give a damn? The poll will be up for a few weeks.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Quickie: WALL-E

Release: 06.27.08

DVD Release: 11.18.08
Rated G
1 hour, 38 minutes

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

The little robot that enamored summer audiences is now available for daily appearances on DVD. WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-class) is the only functional robot left on Earth to clean the mess left behind by the populace's ultra-consumptive addiction to Buy N Large products. One day a ship lands leaving behind EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). EVE makes WALL-E swoon; shirking his duties to follow her around even if it takes him to strange, uninviting reaches of the galaxy.

To me, WALL-E was instantly relatable. He took pride in his work, liked to collect nice things and watched movies in his spare time. Watching this dedicated little creature have his life turned topsy turvy in his courtship of a special lady friend is endearing and, dare I say, cute. When that adorable, budding relationship deteriorates into a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em chase plot with a heavy-handed green planet morality I lost all interest in WALL-E, his love story and the fate of humanity.

From all the rave reviews WALL-E garnered when released, its obvious many folks didn't take as much issue with the climactic third act as I did. Even my quibble with the awkward story shift is far from enough to make WALL-E unwatchable. It is, after all, a Pixar production which exist on a whole different level of excellence. Even if you're turned off by the conflicting premises WALL-E encounters, it'll be impossible to resist the lovable lugnut.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Quickie: Cloverfield


Release: 01.18.08

DVD Release: 04.22.08
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 25 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

I think I can safely say I'm one of the last movie buffs to see this flick. It was always the next movie to watch at the theater, which then became the next movie to rent from Netflix. Now, it's safely on its way to another renter's home.

In a New York City high rise, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) enters an apartment full of friends. Lily (Jessica Lucas, She's the Man), and her boyfriend, Rob's brother, Jason (Mike Vogel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) have organized a going-away party for Rob before he jets off to a new job in Japan. Rob's best bud, Hud (T.J. Miller), is documenting everything using a camcorder. They've even invited Rob's unrequited love, Beth (Odette Yustman, Walk Hard), who shakes things up. What really shakes things up begins in Lower Manhattan. The party deteriorates as the Big Apple comes under siege by forces unknown. As the city is evacuated, the friends must double back to rescue Beth and avoid being caught amid the destruction.

It's always nice to be reminded of all the beautiful people enjoying entertaining parties in the city that never sleeps. For that, you can probably thank director Matt Reeves's Felicity experience. The premise is a twist on the old Godzilla movies, only it exclusively follows the flight of a group of individuals in lieu of the city-wide panic. The jittery hand-held camera action was tolerable (mostly), but I couldn't help but cry bullshit more than a few times during the unfolding devastation. Hud repeatedly stresses the need to document the horrific events so people will understand what occurs. Personally, there comes a time in the escape--say, when I am trying to fend off attackers or when I'm attempting to traverse the roof of a near-collapsed building--that I'm going to say fuck posterity and shut the gorram camera off. Obviously, doing so would ruin the gimmick of the film and is therefore why the camcorder rests in the hands of the functionally inept character.

Overlooking that sticking point, Cloverfield is suspenseful and unrelenting. My only other issue is that Beth needed rescue sooner as she is way too sexy to be absent from this herd of hotties for so long. If you're looking for a decent adrenaline rush and can leave the expectation for realistic sensibilities and valid explanation at the door, Cloverfield is just the ticket.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, November 17, 2008

MMM: I Know She Can Beat Them

There's been much ado about James Bond in the Monday Mood Music these past two weeks but it's time for a change.

I finally watched Cloverfield this weekend and a review is forthcoming. During the movie, I couldn't help but remember fondly my weekend afternoons watching old Godzilla movies on the fuzzy UHF channels.

It also reminded me of a great song that only gets radio play on my old college radio station, WKNC 88.1. Sadly, it's a station I never fully appreciated until my graduate years and one that I now cling to amid the onslaught of corporate radio. College radio, Cloverfield and Godzilla, however, really have little meaning in this song. At any rate here's the Flaming Lips with:

Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots (Part 1)

Such a great song. Yoshimi may not have saved me from any rampaging robots or monsters, but the mellow melody drowns out Beyoncé's new Single Ladies that's been forcibly inserted into my brain.

Domo Yoshimi!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Repeat Bidness: Casino Royale

Casino Royale

Release: 11.17.06
DVD Release: 03.13.07
Rated PG-13
2 hours, 24 minutes

Full Price ($$$$)

After Die Another Day wrapped in 2002 Pierce Brosnan officially “retired” the mantle of James Bond. The search began for the new Bond and many names surfaced; Clive Owen, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Henry Cavill, among others. Ultimately, the role went to Daniel Craig (Munich). Many people, myself included, wondered if Craig could measure up to the role.

Casino Royale opens in warm black and white with Bond verbally sparring with a fellow agent. The scene's mood, much like that of the audience, is one of anxiety. Then, like a splash of cold water to the face, the dialogue is interrupted by flashbacks to Bond in a gritty fistfight with an informant. The sequence ends in a familiar way: Bond with gun in hand spins on his heel to face the camera, a shot rings out, and the bleeding gun barrel wavers into the title sequence. Even with one of the quickest and dirtiest openings in a Bond film, the question--can the blue-eyed, blond haired Craig be Bond--was yet to be answered.

Casino Royale is a return to the origins of Bond. Newly promoted to 00 agent status, James is on a mission to follow a trail of bombers and blood money to find the funding source for terrorists. After disappointing boss M (Judi Dench, Tomorrow Never Dies), Bond continues his search which leads him to the banker Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen, King Arthur). Bond, accompanied by HM Treasury agent Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), must infiltrate a high stakes card tournament in the hopes of defeating Le Chiffre, and thus destroy his organization.

Like many Bond films before it, Casino Royale incorporates the latest cultural fads to update this decades-old character. Bond plays Texas Hold ’em, villains text message, the buzzword is terrorism, and James even has an extended chase of a bomb maker where the two utilize their aptitude for the French extreme sport of parkour. But like every Bond film, the basics are still prevalent: the tailored tuxedo, the loaded Astin Martin, the dry wit and the martini shaken, not stirred. Director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye) reignites the series. He captures a look and feel of Bond reminiscent of the Sean Connery era. Scenes in the Bahamas have a vibrant, crisp almost Technicolor feel to them. Bond’s wardrobe is trim, stylish yet classic. In fact, a scene of Craig swaggering to the hotel in a white linen shirt and pressed, bluegray slacks immediately conjures an image of Connery. And if that isn’t enough for you, seeing Craig take a “spin around the block” in a 1964 Astin Martin will definitely hearken back to the films of yore. Much like Connery and Brosnan, Craig is a no-nonsense Bond. He meets danger head-on with unparalleled smugness and can spit lines that make women buckle at the knees. But when the time for talk is over, Bond throws down be it in slugfests or elaborate action sequences. Craig portrays Bond as a man on a mission, one which often requires that, without hesitation, he get his hands dirty.

As for the story, most classic elements remain. Aside from some spectacular cellular technology, Royale is fairly devoid of the standard array of Q inspired gadgets and Q himself. Even Miss Moneypenny got a holiday. Royale doesn't even have hat-throwing assassins or massive overgrown thugs to hinder Bond. At least, the film does have a brief appearance by Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright, Syriana). Mikkelsen has a seediness to his visage that’ll make Le Chiffre an instantly memorable Bond villain. And Le Chiffre’s special lady friend Valenka, played by Ivana Milicevic (Love Actually) says little but has an equally up-to-no-good look in her eyes. Speaking of women, Bond has a turn with breath-taking ladies Eva Green and Caterina Murino.

Casino Royale
sets the record as the longest Bond film ever made at nearly two and a half hours. It was only near the end that the length weighed on me. I am uncertain whether it was due to tidying a few unwieldy loose plot elements or if I just needed a bathroom break. Despite these few minutes of languid storytelling, I wasn’t about to excuse myself no matter how briefly, from this riveting film. The only fault I truly have with the film is that it had one of the weakest title sequences in years, though the title song by Chris Cornell was on point.

Dirty Undies
As mentioned, Milicevic, Green and Murino provide a wealth of Bond-woman hotness. Murino in particular makes you wish Casino Royale could have been the first R-rated Bond film! But Craig is no slouch himself. He gets several opportunities to prove that Bond has to look as good out of his clothes as he does in them. Whether he’s rising from the ocean or being tortured for his secrets, Craig’s rock hard pecs and abs will make you think twice, maybe even three times about messing with Bond. Craig uses those mus-kles to beat down the bad guys with a callous brutality. This Bond film definitely spills more than its share of blood.

The Money Shot
So with the film watched and all that said, is Craig Bond? I must admit to being a Craig skeptic from the moment he was chosen for the role. But having seen the film, I say with certainty he has the swagger, the demeanor and the charisma to be Bond. I personally still think his face looks like that of a battered monkey at times but only in certain lighting. Primate poutiness aside, I can’t wait to see where Craig and the new era of Bond take the world, and I hope you will be as excited as I am.

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Models and Porno

Not to disappoint you, but this is not a post about some amateur video starring Adriana Lima giving a Dutch Rudder after a night of too much green tea and appletinis. This post is actually a double team review of two comedies featuring a ton of Judd Apatow regulars sans the Apatow influence.

Role Models
Rated R
1 hour, 35 minutes

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

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Rated R
1 hour, 41 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

Having both these films out in theaters right now can be a bit confusing. I mean one features Elizabeth Banks alongside an adorable, clean-cut fellow while the other features Elizabeth Banks opposite a a cuddly, scruffy fellow. If the deciding factor is your Banks-able tolerance level, she's barely in Role Models but headlines as the Miri in Zack and Miri. If you want fun and spunky Elizabeth, Z&M is the sure bet.

In Role Models, Danny (Paul Rudd, 40 Year Old Virgin) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott, Road Trip) are spokesmen for the energy drink Minotaur. After ten years at the firm, Danny's increasingly bitter existence leads him to some destructive shenanigans, leaving both he and Wheeler to do 30 days jail time or serve 150 hours of community service. Chosing the supposed lesser sentence, Danny and Wheeler join Sturdy Wings, mentoring Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad) and Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson, Idlewild), respectively. The two most difficult 'Littles' paired with the two most inept "Bigs," what could possibly happen?

Miri (Elizabeth Banks, Seabiscuit) shares a dilapidated apartment with her best friend Zack (Seth Rogen, Pineapple Express). Niether are particularly motivated to do any more than amble through life until their water and power are shut off in the middle of winter in Monroesville, PA. Zack, having recently met a porn star at their high school reunion, decides he and Miri should make an amatuer porno to earn quick cash. Enlisting friends and hiring some talent, the movie really starts coming together until complications arise from the friends, um, coming together.

I expected the hilarity of Role Models to be saddled on the backs of a couple of characters. Surprisingly the four fellows each share the burden, getting equal time in the limelight. Jane Lynch (A Mighty Wind) has a funny albeit bizarre role as the Sturdy Wings founder, Gale. While her and others are recognized as recent Apatow faves, the film is a product of The State crew, including Ken Marino (TV: Reaper), Keri Kenney-Silver (TV: Reno 911!), and director David Wain. The resulting combination is effective, producing a steady stream of laughter...relying only once on some minor bathroom humor.

Though Banks and Rogen, along with Craig Robinson (Walk Hard), have gained popularity through Apatow's films, you know Kevin Smith (Jersey Girl) is behind the helm when Jason Mewes (Mallrats) and Jeff Anderson (Clerks) also star. As usual, Rogen plays Rogen, only there are times when you can close your eyes and swear it was Smith talking. If there's one shining performance it's Justin Long (Accepted) in a brief appearance as Bobby Long, the outspoken partner of Zack and Miri's former schoolmate. It's obvious everyone is having a blast, running around partially to completely nude, spouting tons of raunchy dialogue in an effort to hide the fact that Z&M is little more than a romantic comedy a la Clerks II.

Dirty Undies
Paul Rudd truly is adorable, even when pouty and pissy. Seann William Scott does tone down the Stifler act, but his sexual escapades exposes not only a few women's bare chests, but his extremely firm buttocks and body. If your offended by expletive spewing kids, or expletives in general, Role Models will undoubtedly offend. Some fighting occurs, both mean and good spirited, but the foam weapons used make it funnier than violent.

As with most Smith fare, Zack and Miri is sure to expand your carnal knowledge base whether you wanted or not. Sex scenes are more laughable than explicit, but can be disturbing for those tamer in the bedroom. Porn stars Traci Lords (Blade) and Katie Morgan dominate the sex scenes (especially Katie's assets). If you are bothered by lots of raunchy sex and sex talk, nasty bathroom humor and the male form then maybe you should pass this by.

The Money Shot
If I had to choose between the two Banks-able projects, just looking at the marquee would be difficult. With Role Models and Zack and Miri Make a Porno both having a sampling of my favorite comedic actors and writers, you have to turn to the execution of their stories.

In the end, Role Models wins for being a well-balanced tale of awkward children reminding the adults life isn't any less awkward when grown. It's a little sugary, but the live action role playing and KISS references add a few fun twists along the way.

Zack and Miri is no slouch by any means. Not a Kevin Smtih best, but hardly a worst either. If vulgarity and goofy hits your funny bone just right, you'll find your money well spent. This is a must-see for fans of Justin Long. Though his part is small, it's not the size that matters, its what he does with it.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, November 13, 2008

007 Memorable Henchmen Opposing 007

With Quantum of Solace just hours away I have returned with a list of my favorite henchmen (or should it be henchpersons?) that have opposed Bond over the years. Like yesterday's 007 Women post, I have a few caveats:

1) These seven thugs are in alphabetical order, not ranked.
2) The greatness of the Bond film is not a factor.
3) The character's gimmick is usually a major factor.
4) These are memorable, and not necessarily effective, henchmen.

Here are the Reel Whore's

007 Memorable Henchmen Opposing 007

Geoffrey Holder
Character: Baron Samedi

Live and Let Die (1973)

This was a close call between Samedi and Tee Hee, but the deep laugh and general insanity of Holder wins out. While Samedi goes out like a bitch, being dumped into a coffin of snakes, it's fun to see him get the last laugh.

Famke Janssen
Character: Xenia Zaragevna Onatopp
Movie: Goldeneye (1995)

A female assassin who kills men by strangling them with her thighs; how could Onatopp not make the Reel Whore list? Seductive and severely imbalanced, Janssen plays this Bond nemesis perfectly. If he had to die, what better way for Bond to go than between her thighs?

Grace Jones
Character: May Day
Movie: A View To a Kill (1985)

No one is quite as strange as Strangé. And who better than Grace Jones to play the lover of Christopher Walken's Zorin, May Day? Her hysterical laugh and flamboyance make her impossible to forget. Plus, she's one of the few women who seem more in control in the sack than Bond.

Richard Kiel
Character: Jaws
Movie: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979)

Richard Kiel has the distinction of being the only henchman to confront Bond in two films. He's massive, menacing and he's got metal teeth! Jaws, a force to be reckoned his first go'round, sadly becomes comic relief in Moonraker.

Lotte Lenya
Character: Rosa Klebb

Movie: From Russia With Love

Cold and calculating, Lenya portrays Rosa Klebb as the scariest freaking agent of SPECTRE. From barking orders to making her minions squirm, Klebb is one woman you don't want to be locked in a room with. Especially since her weapon of choice is a poison-tipped shoe dagger!

Harold Sakata
Character: Oddjob
Movie: Goldfinger (1964)

A character of no words, Oddjob was the manservant of Goldfinger, doing everything from caddying to assassinations. Oddjob's most memorable scene is beheading a stone statue by throwing his Metal Rimmed Hat.

Hervé Villechaize
Character: Nick Nack

Movie: The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)

The most diminutive henchman Bond has ever faced, Villechaize got no respect. Manservant to Scaramanga, Nick Nack filled roles from chef to assassin. He ran the island and all its psychedelic traps. Too bad his final fight was so utterly humiliating.

Once again, when I feared my memory had grown too fuzzy, I used the
James Bond Multimedia to get the facts straight.

Don't like my tastes? Let me know which henchmen you remember most!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

007 Hottest Women of 007

With Quantum of Solace a few days away I wanted to list who I felt were the best and most beautiful Bond women from the near half-century of films. I want to make a few points clear going into the list:

1) These seven women are in alphabetical order, not ranked.
2) The greatness of the Bond film is not a factor.
3) The character's name is never a factor...well almost.
4) I omitted Bond villainesses, choosing to swoon only for the good girls.

Here are the Reel Whore's

007 Hottest Women of 007

Barbara Bach
Character: Major Anya Amasova a.k.a. Agent XXX
Movie: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Bach plays the Soviet, female equal of James Bond. The best spy in the field, Agent XXX works with and against Bond to stop the villain, Stromberg. She is fierce and independent and looks amazing in every scene, especially during the flooding of Atlantis.

Halle Berry
Character: Giancinta "Jinx" Johnson
Movie: Die Another Day (2002)

Jinx, an NSA operative is also an equal to James Bond. She lives on the edge and isn't afraid to love 'em and leave 'em, even the sexually formidable 007. Her most memorable scene is without a doubt, the orange bikini-Ursula Andress tribute.

Honor Blackman
Character: Pussy Galore
Movie: Goldfinger (1964)

If ever a Bond woman's name added to their hotness, it has to be Pussy Galore. Despite the insane moniker, Blackman is a strong, defiant, enterprising woman (though the lesbian "conversion" scene is questionable). To this day, I agree with Mr. Bond's words upon first meeting her, "I must be dreaming."

Lois Chiles
Character: Dr. Holly Goodhead
Movie: Moonraker (1979)

With the most unfortunate name of any Bond woman, Chiles holds her head high in this so-so Bond film. As NASA astronaut and CIA Agent, the bright Dr. Goodhead teams with Bond to defeat the mastermind Drax and the brute force of his henchman Jaws; all while looking stunning in a yellow spacesuit.

Izabella Scorupco
Character: Natalya Fyordorovna Simonova

Goldeneye (1995)

A computer programmer in a Russian Space Control Centre, Natalya is as intelligent as she is sexy. Without her computer skills, Bond would not have been able to stop Trevelyan. Her most memorable work is watching her smugly trump her demeaning coworker, Boris.

Jane Seymour
Character: Solitaire

Movie: Live and Let Die (1973)

A fortune teller for New Orleans drug lord, Mr. Big, Solitaire isn't as strong as other Bond women. She blindly follows the Tarot, a weakness Bond exploits. Still, from Seymour's first scene to when she's flipped up into a train bed, there's never been a more stunning damsel in distress.

Akiko Wakabayashi
Character: Aki

You Only Live Twice (1967)

An agent of Tiger Tanaka, Bond's Osaka contact, Aki becomes invaluable to Bond in his pursuit of SPECTRE as well as his after-hours pursuits. Though Bond marries in the following film, her multitude of talents gives Aki the distinction of being Bond's first serious consideration of marriage.

I've seen these Bond films countless times over the years, but I found
James Bond Multimedia to be an invaluable source for clearing up the grayer areas of my memory. Reviewing my choices I find it funny that two of my choices were Soviet/Russian characters. Considering that Daniela Bianchi (From Russia With Love) was barely edged out of my Top 007 and that I am extremely excited to see Olga Kurylenko this weekend, methinks I see a trend.

Don't like my tastes? Let me know who you're fave 007 Bond women are!

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