Monday, March 31, 2008

The RW Quarterly

It's hard to believe but today marks the 13-week mark. We're already a fourth of the way into the year! As a rule, I do not always write about everything I see. If I did, I'd have no time for family, for work, or for watching TV and would probably end up alone in an alley, crying because the theater's emergency exits are all locked to keep vagrants like me out. Still, I thought it'd be nice to provide a complete list of all the movies I have watched to date in '08. I've linked back to all those films I have reviewed, but if you see one you think deserves the full-whore treatment, tell me.

The Reel Whore's Movies Watched
January 1 to March 31, 2008

1. I'm Not There
2. 27 Dresses
3. War
4. There Will Be Blood
5. The Savages
6. El orfanato (The Orphange)
7. Untraceable
8. Black Sheep
9. Rambo
10. Over Her Dead Body
11. Strange Wilderness
12. Smiley Face
13. Hatchet
14. Definitely, Maybe
15. Spiderwick Chronicles
16. Jumper
17. Atonement
18. Vantage Point
19. Semi-Pro
20. Death Sentence
21. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
22. Saw IV
23. Cars
24. Daddy's Little Girls
25. Starting Out in the Evening
26. Fletch
27. Horton Hears a Who!
28. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
29. The Bank Job
30. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
31. Doomsday
32. Fido
33. Feast of Love
34. Drillbit Taylor
35. Legend
36. Dog Soldiers
37. Alien
38. Married Life
39. Audition

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A Quickie: Married Life

Married Life
Release: 03/07/2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 30 minutes

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

Pierce Brosnan (The Matador) is Richard Langley, narrator and best friend to Harry Allen, played by Chris Cooper (Breach). Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April) plays Pat, Harry's wife whom he loves very much. The trouble is in all their years of marriage Harry has never felt that his wife has given him the emotional fulfillment he needs. Enter Rachel McAdams (The Family Stone) as Kay, a radiant, young woman Harry has fallen deeply in love with. Kay gives Harry all those wonderful emotions lacking in his married life, but for the pair to be truly happy, Pat must be hurt, which is unacceptable. To spare Pat the pain and humiliation of divorce, Harry decides the kindest solution is for her to go painlessly in her sleep with the help of poison. As Harry plots and plans, our narrator and swinging bachelor, Richard, sets his sights on his next conquest: the lovely Kay.

Married Life is completely character driven. The sole reason to see this is for the stellar performances. The actors aren't flashy or outspoken; rather, subdued and poised. Chris Cooper wells with emotion and Brosnan swaggers about with effortless charisma and devilishness. Clarkson and her auburn locks exude sexiness, and McAdams is both loving and mildly mischievous though her platinum blonde hair is a bit off-putting. Next to the acting, the 1940's- era costumes and settings are superb. The gentleman wear well-cut suits and wouldn't be caught dead without their hats. Bulky cars and every hand complete with a lit cigarette echo these signs of a different time.

It's a simple story with a smidgen of excitement and the thrill of emotional uncertainty. Nothing visually spectacular that must be seen on the big screen but a must-see for anyone who enjoys these talented actors.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Flawless Victory: Sirens of the LAMBs

A quick post to let you know my femme fatale of choice, Baby Firefly from the films House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects has sailed into Round 2 of the Sirens of the LAMBs bracket. I'm a little sad that Princess Nausicaa lost the nerve to even attempt to fight me, but if you know Baby, you know it was for the best. Still, I hope you all take a moment to check out my battle prose over at the LAMB.

In Round 2 my opponent will be the only other chick in the bracket remotely as twisted as Baby Firefly. That opponent who survived her Round 1 encounter with Catwoman from Batman Returns; Asami Yamazaki from the film Audition. If you're into sick, twisted and gorific details, you're in for a treat when the two of us square off. I'll let you know when the smackdown is under way!

I do have some sad news to report. River Tam of Serenity was also in Round 1, but lost to the Bride from Kill Bill. I am a ginormous fan of Summer Glau so I am sad to see her go but glad that I won't have to go head-to-head with her!

Baby Firefly's Round 1 write-up

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Spank Bank: Summer Glau

Thanks again to all you stargazers who voted in the poll that decided the subject of this post. I love watching movies but I especially love watching television and films featuring certain charismatic women and men. Everyone has those special actors or actresses that draw them to a movie. Hell, I'd go see Scary Movie XVII if my flagship Spank Bank'r Matt Damon was starring but we've been there.

The second inductee of the Spank Bank doesn't have quite the extensive
portfolio as her predecessor but that doesn't mean she is any less deserving. On the contrary, I feel this young woman hasn't gotten enough attention. I hope my post only furthers her career and, if it does, she remembers me fondly. My newest Spank Bank inductee is the one and only:

The First Time My Eyes Met:
Third season of the television show Angel in the episode "Waiting in the Wings." Summer played the Prima Ballerina. Sure, a minor role, but those who know me know I am a sucker for a talented dancer (she used to be a prima ballerina). I didn't know I could be down with ballet until she pirouetted into my life.

She had me at ‘Hello’: As River Tam in the shamefully short-lived TV series Firefly and the follow-up feature Serenity, Summer proved she could be delicate, deadly and bizarre. I was smitten within minutes of River's awakening from the box. It also helps that River was given the chance to do things like this:

and this:

Sexiest Movie/TV Moment:
Playing the cyborg Cameron Phillips on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes her game to a whole new level. You'd think playing an emotionless hunk of metal would leave viewers cold but damn if she ain't hot doing it! I already have many favorite moments but the best goes somewhat as follows:

Sarah's ex-lover Charley storms out of the garage after talking with Cameron. Sarah enters and asks what just happened.

Cameron matter-of-factly replies, "I freak him the hell out."
Sarah responds, "I bet you do."

Oh boy does she, and trust me, its in all the good ways.

Let’s Never Speak of This Again: Some people would look at Summer's limited career and probably think that the Sci-Fi television movie Mammoth and the ABC Family remake of the Initiation of Sarah are things she'd like to forget. As someone who's seen both of these, I'd have to say she has nothing to be ashamed of thus far. Sure Mammoth was cheesy but damn it was funny. In Sarah she was absolutely scrumptious in a cast full of yum-o! Here's to more quality roles!

It Brings a Smile to My Face: Whenever a role has her smiling or laughing. Summer is a champ at playing...peculiar characters; characters who typically do not have reason to laugh or be happy. For me it's quite refreshing to see moments that pep her up.

My Biggest Regret: Seeing as how I've only missed three of her guest TV spots and one minor film role, my choices are slim. Still, having not seen the episodes on The Unit in which she portrayed Crystal Burns is my biggest regret. I don't really know anything about the show except that Dennis "Cerrano" Haysbert stars. But this is reason enough to kick myself for missing out:

Her Winning Feature: Tough decision. I love her dazzling smile and I'm putty for cute, pouty lips so you'd think it'd be a no-brainer. However, they come in second to her legs. Whether she's playing an emotionless cyborg or an emotionally scarred killing vixen, it's the way she moves that truly mesmerizes me. The combo of dancer skills and sexy gams are my kryptonite.

If I could walk in his shoes: I'd have to replace Adam Baldwin in Serenity. The moment would be from the video above around the 1:13 mark. I by no means have a pain fetish, but I think I could enjoy it if she were in charge.

Most Anticipated Upcoming Project: I must confess. I was only mildly interested in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles when I first heard about it. Then I saw the comic book ad with Summer. I had to tune in. While there's no legit buzz on her upcoming projects, here's hoping the show is picked up for a full season so I can enjoy her weekly.

There is a rumor that Joss Whedon is developing a ballet movie called The Serving Girl where Summer would be the star. Hey, Joss let me know if you need help getting this project going.

My Dream of Working with the lovely Summer: I can see it now, I'm lounging on a plush leather couch, the only illumination in the room comes from my laptop screen and the glow of the fire. Summer enters, gracefully gliding across the room to sit beside me. We have been brought together by our mutual friend Joss to work out a few of the finer details on her first starring role in one of her dream pics, a western. To make sure we don't get too, um, stiff on the couch, she gets me up to stretch. Before I know it, she's teaching me to tango. We dance, we talk of plots for a romance vehicle for her, there is electricity in the air. Then, as if in the Chronicles or Firefly, there's this discordant ringing filling our head, drowning out the music.

Damn, it's my alarm. I hit snooze and head back to the couch...

Ahh, now where were we?


P.S.- Summer if you're reading this, I love me some westerns and would totally develop an idea that would help you expand your range and avoid a lifetime of type-casting. Seriously, call me.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Trailer Trash: The Incredible Hulk

I saw The Incredible Hulk trailer on my PC a few weeks back. Two weeks ago, I got the big screen treatment on the front-end of Doomsday. Just last week at Drillbit Taylor, I was treated to my third viewing. I can't hold back any longer! In ten frames, here's my thoughts on The Incredible Hulk:

"I've got a problem."

I'll say! You've got to save a comic franchise from the furtherest depths of suck. At least Edward Norton fits the bill of tragic scientist Bruce Banner more so than Bana. Oh wait, we aren't supposed to mention that other movie are we?

Green means go! Hells yeah!

Hulk Smash! This is shaping up nicely.

"What is my motivation as Betty Ross?"
Um, well. You see you're... She is...
"Am I here just to be pretty?"
That's right Ms. Tyler. Keep up the good work.

Couldn't we have at least kept Sam Elliot as Thunderbolt Ross?!
Fine, fine. I'll stop bringing up the first stinker.

"What the hell was that?"

My thoughts exactly. I'm starting to miss Nick Nolte's Absorbing Man.

Bruce Fall. Bruce Crash. Guess it takes a lot to make him mad nowadays. This is a great teaser ending to the...

What?! It's not over?!?

"Mommy, why does the Hulk still look hella lame?"
"I don't know Timmy. I thought they learned the last time."
"Yeah, right lady. All those Strongman competitors, wrestlers and HGH-infused baseball players out there and we get stuck with another Crayola Creation. Genius."

"Hulk Mad! Hulk look like used Douche!"
"Crappy CG Hulk Want Smash Crappy CG Things."

This looks familiar. Oh yeah, it's one of the most cliché action sequences created since the advent of CG (Thanks, Matrix). Maybe Hulk and Abomination can do a nice slow-motion walk down the street when the fight is over.


This trailer started so full of promise. It was like bungee jumping with regular rope. How complicated would filming have been with a real person as the Hulk? They managed it for years on TV! Still, it really can't suck as hard as
Hulk 2003? Can it?!

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

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dull Drillbit Doesn't Pierce the Funny Bone

Drillbit Taylor

Release: 03/21/2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 42 minutes

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

Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon) portrays Drillbit Taylor, an AWOL Army Ranger who's made a life for himself panhandling and dumpster-diving. When he's evicted from his ocean view lean-to, Drillbit decides it's Canada or bust. Before he can go north, he decides to scam some kids out of their money by agreeing to be their bodyguard against the high school bully. Torn between his homeless colleagues' ruthless intentions and his growing conscience, Drillbit 's carefree life is in danger of being filled with hard-learned lessons and emotional fulfillment.

Hollywood's latest golden boy, Seth Rogen (Superbad), co-wrote Taylor with help from Tom Green Show scribe Kristofor Brown and '80's teen icon John Hughes. When you hit it big like Rogen, it's inevitable that the crap in your portfolio will rise to the top. I wish I could be so lucky that even my shit ideas were produced, but Rogen is and audiences are not. I enjoyed Drillbit Taylor. I remember laughing many times. That's all I really remember. Well, that and Wilson's ass, but that's for other reasons. Within two hours, I found this movie nearly all but forgotten. Why?

The dialogue doesn't snap, but there are moments when you know Wilson is just shoveling it from off the cuff. The situations are bland. Again, Wilson peps up moments that seem far-fetched and forced. All, and I mean all, the characters are one-dimensional. The school bully, Filkins, played by Alex Frost, is the most sadistic and overbearing person on the planet. It is impossible a student like him could exist without some sort of authoritative intervention. Even worse, the writers want us to swallow that parents will side against their children?! I know the kids were bullied in the movie; now let me bully Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile (Good Luck Chuck), and David Dorfman (The Ring), too. Boys, it helps not to laugh when you're supposed to be irate. Granted, sometimes a comedic talent like Wilson can have you so in stitches that it can't be helped, but I wasn't laughing nearly that hard, and you shouldn't have been either.

Even worse is that so many supporting actors are wasted. Leslie Mann (Knocked Up) is little more than a blow-up doll for Wilson's amorous ways. Danny "Bust-Ass" McBride (Hot Rod), Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911!), Lisa Lampanelli (Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector), and Stephen Root (Idiocracy) do little more than fill the gaps between funny moments. All these problems I blame on the writers and on director Steve Brill (Mr. Deeds) who could have (and should have) given us material worthy of the Knocked Up/Superbad promotional hype.

Dirty Undies

I think I've already mentioned Wilson's ass, which is featured as prominently as his crooked nose. Some brutal teen abuse at the hands of an insanely maniacal bully and lots of foul 'ball' and 'shit' references makes you feel like you're right back in high school, at least some extreme version of it.

The Money Shot
I admit I am being harsh to a movie that was pretty funny; heck, far funnier than many flicks I've seen. Two days later, the only things I remember most are that the bully was a mega-douche and Wilson's funniest moment came when he whipped out the line "crap on a shit sandwich." I rest my case.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ms. Mitra, Tear Down This Wall!


Release: 03/14/2008
Rated R
1 hour, 45 minutes

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

It's 2008, and a decimating virus dubbed "the Reaper" spreads through the populace of Scotland. Afraid of the disease spreading across the Isle, the British government works quickly to erect a huge wall isolating the infected from the healthy. Nearly thirty years pass, and a second outbreak of the virus has been discovered. In a last-ditch effort, the Government, knowing survivors exist behind the wall, decides to send an elite military team to recover any information about a cure before they have to seal off another chunk of British real estate. Highly recommended and highly rebellious Major Eden Sinclair, played by Rhona Mitra (Shooter), leads her highly trained fodder, um, team into the unknown with less than forty-eight hours to save humanity...or not bother returning.

You ever find yourself watching a movie and you realize that its creator is really having a good time? Writer-director Neil Marshall (Descent) createss himself such a landscape in Doomsday. An elite team of ass-kicking soldiers complete with future tech square off against a forgotten people who have fashioned themselves into an army of tattooed, leather-clad, Road-Warrior style cannibals. That alone is a enticing premise, but why not go one more and give audiences a rival faction of survivors who have reverted to the Middle Ages (complete with knights on horseback) who even live in the castles of yore? The average director would have been satisfied, but not Marshall. For good measure he even throws in a wicked car chase, some funky '90's Brit pop, and I'm sure I spotted a kitchen sink in one scene.

Sure, Marshall was having a blast, but what about me? I loved it...mostly. Establishing the necessary premise for the film was thorough, but left me scratching my head on some of the finer points. Then with each new, wild layer, I felt my brow furrowing at the logistics of it all. But by the end, I found the explanations satisfactory enough, was rolling with the punches, and enjoying every minute of the glorious insanity.

Rhona Mitra does her best acting to date. Maybe it's because she gets to use her natural accent, or maybe it's because she gets to kill anything that moves. Either way, it's a good look for her. Marshall includes Bob Hoskins (Unleashed) and Malcom McDowell (Halloween) to add some much needed name recognition and acting cred, but not much else. Craig Conway (Descent), who plays Sol, has solidified his place in the halls of film's loco leaders.

Dirty Undies
Savage, sword-wielding punk women, armor-clad knights, leather-clad gimps and even '70's style drug runners; Mitra takes on all comers without flinching. If the movie excels at one thing above all else, it's the gratuitous violence. I lost count of how many heads rolled, how many vehicles exploded, how many bodies were crushed and how many bullets ripped people apart. The best part is Marshall captured every last gory detail and even threw in a bit of tongue-in-cheek to lighten the mood. All that, and Rhona Mitra was hot, too.

The Money Shot
Doomsday is Neil Marshall's wet dream. It may be too outrageous a concept for many people, but I have a feeling its eclectic concept is one that will solidify its cult classic status. Problems not withstanding, Marshall manages to entertain while injecting some social commentary. If he had only avoided the time-stamping dilemma suffered by Demolition Man...

Large Association of Movie Blogs

More Than a Mouthful (03.20.2008)

It feels so good to be jacked in again. Work had me traveling into the mountains of North Carolina where I found myself without Internet access for what seemed an eternity! It's not that the technology hadn't reached that far; it was that the hotel's router was fried, and tried as they might, the managers were unable to repair the issue during my stay. Now I'm back, but with days lost, I have to give you a quick and dirty update of the goings and comings.

Oooh, that's huge news!
My blog buddy, Nick, has created a battle bracket of sorts for movie characters over on the LAMB. The first event pits femme fatales nominated by LAMB contributors against one another, and is appropriately titled Sirens of the LAMBs. The first battle, Kyra from Chronicles of Riddick versus Nikita of La Femme Nikita, posted on Monday. Head on over to the LAMB, read the opposing confrontations, and vote for the one you love best! My special lady friend, Baby Firefly from House of 1000 Corpses, has not yet been posted, but I'll let you know when she needs your support!

The Business End:
Thanks to everyone who voted in my Spank Bank poll last week. Though the votes were close, a winner has been chosen from among the contestants and the lucky lady's induction will be posted next week.

Also, I have added a rather nifty button that allows you to share my site with whatever social networking site(s) you frequent. I have yet to try it out (I thought it'd be a bit vain and somewhat kinky to digg myself) so give it a try if you see anything worth sharing!

What the Fuck?!
I have noticed a disturbing trend the last few weeks. It all started with this movie called Bar Starz, followed by Never Back Down, and this week it's Joshua Jackson's Shutter. You may ask, what do these films have in common? The answer: advertising-wise, they all materialized from seemingly nowhere about a week to ten days before their release dates. I assume to some extent I don't frequent the websites and TV channels that promote these movies extensively, but I also wonder if the studios behind these films keep them hidden until the last possible minute. It's a sort of advertising grenade if you will: pull the pin, throw the adverts into the general populace and hope that a shrapnel of the concept lodges into someone's brain before their self-preservation kicks in to steer them away from the poorly-adapted, tween-friendly, Asian horror remake vehicle for Pacey. Duck and Cover!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, March 14, 2008

And the Next Box Office #1 will be….

I’m unsure how many of you stargazers caught The Idol results show Wednesday. Jim Carrey attended the broadcast. Carrey was wearing a pseudo-elephant outfit complete with trunk and ears. I felt sorry for the folks sitting behind that huge headpiece! Fox's shameless cross-promotion did get me to thinking, how would The Idol judges critique the new animated feature Horton Hears a Who!? I wonder… (strokes his beard in contemplation)

Horton Hears a Who!

Release: 03/14/2008
Rated G
1 hour, 28 minutes

Full Price ($$$$)

Hello America. If you’re just tuning in, our next feature is expected to be a box-office juggernaut, and not just because of its massive main character. I am, of course, referring to Fox’s new animated sensation based on the popular Dr. Seuss book of the same name. Everyone give it up for Horton Hears a Who!

If you’re not familiar with the tale, a kind-hearted elephant, Horton, discovers that the entire town of Whoville exists on a tiny speck. Horton warns the Mayor of Whoville about his people’s predicament and vows to transplant the town to a safer location…no matter the danger involved. Steve Carell, who also voiced Hammy in Over the Hedge, plays the wacky Mayor of Whoville and the titular pachyderm is voiced by the Grinch himself, Jim Carrey.

Our judges were granted a special advance viewing of the film. We’ll find out what the judges thought, after the break

Horton Hears a Who - Trailer

Ryan: Welcome back. Now let’s hear what the judges have to say. First up, Mr. Randy Jackson.

(audience cheers)

Randy: Okay, so check it. This story is, like, my kids’ favorites. You don’t know how many times I rocked them to sleep with Horton so I was expecting big things from this movie, and I gotta tell ya, you brought it!

I wasn’t really feeling Carrey as Horton, though, man. I felt he wasn’t the right voice choice for the role. Whenever you hear Horton’s voice you expect those wild Carrey antics, know what I’m sayin’? And you know what, man, I don’t know if I’d hired Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill for the minor roles they had. Those guys are comedy powerhouses and you don’t really hit their potential. But you know, I was totally groovin’ to Carell as the Mayor, dawg. Awesome voice, really brings in that frenzied vibe they were going for. The music was banging! I especially dug the 80’s throwback number. I can totally see this as the number-one box-office hit.

Ryan: High praise. I wonder if Ms. Abdul agrees. Paula?

Paula: Ah, I loved this movie! I mean, uh, when I was watching this…the colors…they were so, they were just so bright and colorful. Well, umm, the look…the voices, the whole…You know what? (hits table with her hands) It was sooo charming!

You know Jim, umm, Jim. I’ve enjoyed him from the very start …when he first, he um, he’s such a funny guy! Really, all the voices are just wonderful. So much energy! Everyone, ah…um they all, really…really captured the heart, um, the feeling of the story.

You know what, people…people will say, they may think…they may not adore you but that’s why you got to be true to your. Self. And your heart. And…I think…and you know what you did that, um and…it was adorable.

(jumps to her feet)

I loved it, loved it! It was just too cute!

(audience claps loudly)

Ryan: Sounds like an enthusiastic YES from Paula. Simon Cowell, what say you?

Simon: I have to be honest with you…

Ryan: Let me guess. You don’t like children’s movies.

Simon: (scowling) Brilliant deduction. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of children’s movies.

(audience boos loudly)

Simon: Oh, be quiet. I’m not a fan, but that said, Hudson is surprisingly good. It…

Paula: Horton. It’s Horton.

Simon: What?

Ryan: The name’s Horton, not Hudson, Simon.

Simon: (rolls eyes) Whatever. Horton, Hudson. The point is, and I agree with Randy here, I wouldn’t have made all of the casting choices that were made. I think some of the choices were totally forgettable. I think some of the better voices were wasted. Personally, I would have liked to have heard more from Amy Poehler. The animation is excellent. Some of the scenes are a bit put on. But

(audience boos again)

Simon: BUT when you tell a story like this, it’s unavoidable. The big musical number at the end was indulgent. It was all a bit karaoke for me. I mean, who was that put in for, the children or was it pandering to the adults in the theater?

(audience boos yet again)

Ryan: So do we take it that’s a thumbs up?

Simon: Yes. (giving a dismissive wave) It was good enough..

Ryan: There you have it America! The judges’ opinions, for what they are worth. But the real judge is you. A special thanks to Mr. Jim Carrey for being with us tonight. From all of us here at the Fox studios and The Idol, and from Mr. Carrey, we hope to see you in the seats this weekend!

"You like me, you really like me!"

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Glamorous. The Flossy-flossy.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Release: 03/07/2008
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 32 minutes

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

Our story begins on the eve of World War II. After being discharged from her services as a governess, Miss Guinevere Pettigrew, portrayed by Frances McDormand (Friends with Money), finds herself once again at a London unemployment office. Pleading and desperate for work, she snatches the card of a potential employer. The card leads her to the flat of Delysia Lafosse, played by Amy Adams (Serving Sara). From the moment she arrives, Miss Pettigrew is sucked into the sordid social circle of the aspiring actress-singer. The hungry and penniless Pettigrew is swept into a glamorous world of delicacies and extravagance as fantasy and reality collide.

Frumpy. Dowdy. Haggard. Unkempt. All are excellent words to describe the initial impression of Miss Pettigrew. However, McDormand breathes a combination of determination, ingenuity and compassion that shines through the muck and the mire. Good thing for her because Amy Adams sparkles. Adams commands the screen as the easily panicked but outwardly cool Delysia. She’s a saucy minx who dangles her affections amid three gentleman callers who bear gifts of love, fortune, and celebrity. The three suitors don’t really matter; it’s the apparent contrasts between the women that fuel this engaging affair.

The scenes pop with the décor and fashion of the period. The story moves quickly thanks to the snappy dialogue and the actresses’ skills. Visually, the camera is sluggish in comparison to the sizzle of the surroundings; a shame given the fiery performances. I got the sense the director was trying to capture the simpler feel of films from that era, but since I know nothing about said films, I cannot say if he accomplished this goal.

Dirty Undies
Oooooohhh, so close! There’s a very, very nice bathtub scene that reminds me of the Birth of Venus painting. The scene reveals a lot of Adams’ curves and for the briefest of moments I thought we’d get a glimpse of those redwoods, but it was not to be. However, costar Tom Payne does give us an eyeful. The only other noteworthy moments are Adams’ randy conversations and sensual mannerisms.

Folks may recognize actress Shirley Henderson playing Delysia’s friend, Edythe. You may be more familiar with her as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter series.

The Money Shot
Certainly not the best made or most clever film I have ever seen but one that’s worth watching on the merits of its stars. I do know that despite being predictable, it was a delight being along for the ride.

P.S. I am beginning to wonder if my medication is thinning out the manliness in me because this makes the third romantic comedy in as many months that I have enjoyed.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Repeat Bidness: The Number 23

Looking at this week's list of releases I noticed that both Jim Carrey and Rhona Mitra have films opening, Horton Hears a Who! and Doomsday, respectively. It dawned on me that a little over a year ago these two shared the big screen. So for those living the Netflix life, let's take a look at:

DVD Release: 08/03/2007
Rated R
1 hour, 35 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

"It Doesn't Quite Add Up"

Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) stars as Animal Control Officer Walter Sparrow who, thanks to a last-minute stray dog pick-up, is late to pick up his loving wife, Agatha, portrayed by Virginia Madsen (Candyman). His tardiness prompts Agatha to browse the neighboring shops and find a book, The Number 23, which she buys for Walter. He quickly becomes engrossed in the story of Detective Fingerling and his growing obsession with the number 23 after a brief encounter with a Suicide Blonde. But Fingerling’s fixation soon passes to Walter who feels the author is speaking directly to him. Agatha becomes worried for her husband whose behavior becomes increasingly erratic as he searches desperately for a deeper meaning within the book.

Aside from a few catty remarks, Jim Carrey is in rare, non-hijinks form. Instead of contorting his body into bizarre comical shapes, Carrey instead focuses on portraying Walter as your typical, mild-mannered husband. Walter evolves into a man gripped by fascination and struggling to separate himself from the eerie images the fiction instills within him. Carrey is also called upon to play the role of the surly, jealous Detective Fingerling as the movie steers the audience between Walter’s conscious mind and his uncontrollable recreations of the book’s gruesome events. Carrey does an excellent job at weaving these two characters together as Walter’s persona is infected with the growing paranoia instilled by the author’s details. Madsen holds her own by playing both the role of Walter's doting, concerned wife, and Fabrizia, Fingerling’s bed buddy and erotic thrill junkie.

Director Joel Schumacher (Falling Down) follows Walter’s scrutiny of the novel by interlacing key elements of the story into the larger story of the Sparrow family. These segues into the novel are high contrast scenes. Characters are darkly clad and their surroundings barren and shadowed. The cinematography has a hazy, dreamlike aura that emphasizes the imagined element. Strangely, as Walter uncovers the reality of the book’s hidden nature, the film takes on a more expository form. The final explanation feels like it takes forever, which detracts greatly from a film that would have otherwise completely piqued and thrilled audiences.

I don’t know if I should lay the blame on rookie screenwriter Fernley Phillips or Schumacher for adding several elements into the story that never quite fit smoothly. Just one example is NED, the nasty evil dog whose presence supposedly adds cohesion but instead unravels this tense tale of suspense.

Dirty Undies
The murky, smutty mystery moments provide a wealth of disturbing images. Suicide jumpers, slit throats, and repeatedly stabbed characters litter the screen. The buckets of pooled blood far outweigh the gratuitous sex appeal. Accusations of murder and adultery come tainted with vulgarity you haven’t heard uttered by Carrey in his usual family-friendly fare. Virginia Madsen, Rhona Mitra (Highwaymen), and Kate Mara (50 First Dates) all prance around in some not-quite-revealing lingerie. Carrey dishes out his own shirtless, manly swagger but given his gaunt physique, it isn’t nearly as appealing as the ladies.

The Money Shot
The Number 23 is an intriguing mystery that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats for the majority of the film. Its Achilles heel lies in the execution of its prestige; its lengthy bow wrapping leaves too much time for the detail-oriented viewers to punch holes the size of Mack trucks into a promising story. If you appreciate a good thriller and do not get too caught up in the details, Carrey’s latest film will add up to an enjoyable time.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, March 10, 2008

"A Heist Gone Wrong...In All the Right Ways"

The Bank Job

Release: 03/07/2008
Rated R
1 hour, 50 minutes

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

I should let everyone know that I write this review having broken one of my cardinal rules. Over the years one thing I have adhered to before watching any film is that:

I never read any critic's review of a film before I see it and especially before I write about it (assuming I plan to see and write about it).

That said, I was forewarned by a fellow blogger that I would be disappointed with The Bank Job. I came close to reading his review, but abstained, grabbed the wifey and headed to the theater. When we came out, we were digging it and I couldn't help but think what about this bugged my blog buddy?! Hastening home to the PC, I broke my rule and read his review, then the review's comments, and then the review of another blog buddy with a similar position. I agree they both have some valid points, but now I must suffer the error of my ways. All these opinions have caused me to think way too much for way too long about Bank Job, a film not completely deserving of the attention. Here's my attempt to salvage what is left of my initial opinion.

Based on true events in 1971, Bank Job follows David Statham (The Italian Job) as Terry Leather, a London car dealer with loan-shark debts. One day his mate Martine Love, played by Saffron Burrows (Enigma), a right fine bird with bedroom eyes, gives him the scoop on a bank ripe to be robbed. Even though he and his shady buds aren't quite proper villains, Terry believes they can pull this off without a hitch. What Terry doesn't know is that Martine is being used by a government spook to retrieve compromising photos of a prominent royal figure from the vault.

Numerous con/heist movies, including Heist, Snatch, Confidence, and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen are full of clever twists, turns, and the unanticipated missing piece that makes audiences tee-hee with glee once unveiled. The Bank Job is fairly lacking in these tumultuous, chest-thumping and mind-bottling moments. Instead, the film focuses on the rather serious task of robbing a bank with a few basic tools and without a lot of flash and attention. This lack of spectacle and uber-smooth safecrackers strengthened the 'true events' side of the tale. Obviously, the British government's D-notice (a news media hush-hush), a sealed secret file on Michael X (the photographs' purported owner), and a lack of verification from the heist's culprits makes it hard to discern the truthiness of these events. For all intent and purposes, the lack of bedazzlement gave this film a bit of grit and edge lacking in more polished heist films.

One problem with the film is a subplot involving secret agent Gale Benson, played by Hattie Morahan, as she tries to delve into the sordid world of drugs and prostitution surrounding black radical Michael X, played by Peter De Jersey. One assumes it serves the purpose of establishing the evil of Michael X and giving further historical accuracy. Unfortunately, it takes away from the details of the post-heist complications because it doesn't really progress the major plot, i.e. the bank job. The other issue I had with the film is that it features rather poorly chosen music. Sometimes, the music builds tension at inappropriate moments and is generally forgettable.

Dirty Undies
I knew there would be nudity in this; I just didn't realize it'd be out on Front Street within the first minute of the film! The film features a few clips of completely nude women, save one. I was disappointed that Saffron Burrows, for all her purported promiscuity, manages little more than passionate kisses. The plot would have been much better served by showing Saffron's sexcapades instead of the Government Gale tale. The post-heist scenes are brutal due to some mildly graphic torture. Statham gets the chance to bring his patented fighting skills to the table...I gotta tell you that cranium of his could pulverize walnuts!

The Money Shot
I enjoy a spectacular heist film as much as the next person (my DVD collection proves that). I also enjoy a dramatic film that keeps my attention without resorting to the usual sparkly bag of tricks. I'm not saying this is a must-see event, but its worth putting your own two cents.

-By the by, did anyone else think the vault attendant looked more than a tad familiar? I can't get no satisfaction until his celebrity identity is discovered!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, March 7, 2008

Huh, huh, you said "Poll"

Hey Stargazers! I thought this comment from my March Gang Bang warranted a more thorough response:

Anonymous said...

"I'm really starting to wonder about your taste in women. You must love that Carly chick on Idol. BTW, when are you gonna give us another poll?"

In regards to Carly "Magically Delicious" Smithson from the Idol, I think she is very talented and cute enough, but if she keeps wearing those funkdafied pants with the waist up to her teets she can kiss her flat arse goodbye.

To address my taste in women and my lack of a new poll, how about I combine the two? The poll to the right lists five of the many, many female candidates in the running for my Spank Bank column. Over the next week, I want you to select which special lady deserves the honor of a Spank Bank profile. If you think you know my tastes all too well, I will also accept write-in suggestions from the comments section of this post.

So there you have it "Anonymous." Happy now?!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Trailer Trash: The March Gang Bang

It's time to get yourselves lubed up and get in line. I have taken in as many March trailers as I could handle. This month was far more enjoyable than February's onslaught, but I'm tingling with excitement because we are that much closer to May.

As before, my commentary on limited release films is sparse since we don't get that many in my neck of the woods. If one of the films I abstained from interests you, let me know and I'll let them join in. Now, let's see which movies are ready to ride.

Moist with Antici...pation!
The Bank Job (03/07) It’s been a minute since we’ve had an intriguing heist film and this based-on-true-events tale whets the appetite. I’m not expecting Statham to repeat a Snatch or Lock, Stock… type affair, but I think it’ll deliver on the violence, comedy and plot twists.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (03/07 ltd.) Dowdy McDormand is at it again! For a change Amy Adams gets to play a sultry minx instead of her usual goody two shoes. Let’s give it up to two great actresses in what is sure to be a hoot and a holler! (I can’t believe I just said that.)

Married Life (03/07 ltd.) Everything about this movie looks awesome, except for Rachel McAdams’s platinum blonde dye job. But hey, at least she’s back onscreen and she’s sharing it with some big guns. This sordid tale of forbidden love and necessary murder should help bring the passion back into marriage.

Doomsday (03/14) Neil Marshall created one of my newly favorite horror films, Descent. Now he’s gone and created a revamped and super-amped Road Warrior-style film for us to devour. The little-sexy-engine-that-never-quite-could, a.k.a. Rhona Mitra, gets to be in the driver’s seat. I may need to stay seated a little while longer...

Drillbit Taylor (03/21) This one has been a long time coming. We won’t speak of why it was shelved. We’ll only revel in Owen Wilson’s return, his pairing with the hot and funny Leslie Mann, and enjoy how he plays off these crazy goofy kids.

21 (03/28) This movie looks too cool for school and it may just be too cool for my hard earned cash, but with Kate Bosworth looking so cute that I didn’t recognize her usually anemic frame, I am intrigued. Plus, I always enjoy Spacey’s dickish characters and this one promises not to disappoint.

It's Friday, I don't want to be alone.
Snow Angels (03/07 ltd.) David Gordon Green, NC School of the Arts alum, brings us his latest tale. North Carolina Represent! Looks like yummy Kate Beckinsale and smooth Sam Rockwell are acting all growed up for a change. My only hesitation is that Green’s lingering camera work makes my ass feel like I’ve been sitting in the theater for days.

Horton Hears a Who! (03/14) Could it be possible that after several less-than-stellar live-action Dr. Seuss films, someone got the novel idea of making an animated Who film?! Sometimes it takes a roomful of geniuses, or a story with a big honkin’ elephant. The teaser got me stoked, but the official trailer drained the excitement from my being. Let’s hope for the best, all together now…Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze!

Funny Games U.S. (03/14) A whole line of family torture movies is heading down the pipeline and this one has risen to the top. This is being remade by its creator Michael Haneke and while that is promising, I am much more excited to see Liv Tyler’s The Strangers this May (I hope).

Stop Loss (03/28) This flick is from the mind of Boy’s Don’t Cry creator Kimberly Peirce, and that’s the only thing keeping this on my radar. Ryan Phillippe and Abbie Cornish do good work and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a personal fave, but movies tinged with Iraq just don’t sit well anymore. I’m curious though; if they were looking for bad Southern accents, where was James Van Der Beek during casting call?

Flawless (03/28) I said I was looking for a good heist film and I still think The Bank Job is our best bet. I can totally see what draws Ashton to Demi, but I can’t figure how her accent drew her into this role. If this has a prayer of success it will come from Caine’s captivating charm.

Exercise the right to Cinematic Celibacy.
College Road Trip (03/07) I gotta give props to Raven-Symone for managing to stay clean, given Disney’s track record for child stars (read: Lindsay, Britney). I’d normally support this endeavor but she had to go and make Martin Lawrence her pops.

10,000 B.C. (03/07) I won’t let nifty-looking mastodons and saber-toothed tigers sway my position on this. The Neanderthals look too damn pretty (though Camilla Belle in animal skin piques my interest); it’s like Project Runway: The Prehistoric Edition. Need I remind you the last Emmerich movie with CG prehistoric monsters was Godzilla?! Do we really want to go there again?

Meet the Browns
(03/21) I am all for supporting uplifting black cinema instead of the latest Martin Lawrence-Queen Latifah-Ice Cube shuck and jive, but damn, enough is enough. Much to my chagrin, I have seen every Tyler “Tired Plot” Perry production to date and it’s time I just say no. Angela Bassett is a great actress, but I can’t suffer through another onslaught of clichés and stereotypes. Perry needs to don his Madea façade and figure a way to whup his own ass for his foolishness.

Run, Fatboy, Run (03/28) Simon Pegg – yeah! Hank Azaria – hells yeah! Thandie Newton – mmm, at least she’s cute. Despite those three, this trailer leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t think this movie knows what it is, but I know whose money it’s not going to get. The title reads more as a warning to me; run, Fatboy, run away from this!

Superhero Movie (03/28) There was a time when The Naked Gun meant something. Now they’re just dragging Leslie Nielsen down with them. Granted, the official trailer looks far better than the TV spots but that’s not saying much. When will the madness end?!

The five limited release films left by the wayside this month are:

CJ7 (03/07 ltd.); Paranoid Park (03/07 ltd.); Sleepwalking (03/14 ltd.); La misma luna (Under the Same Moon) (03/21 ltd.); and The Hammer (03/28 ltd.)

One final note: given there are two films offering sexy, savage women, I'd like to leave you with one more reason why 10,000 B.C. doesn't hold a candle to
Doomsday as my March must-see event:

I mean, after you've endured the gang bang , you kinda got a yearning for tattoos and fire-play.

Large Association of Movie Blogs