Friday, July 30, 2010

FMK Friday: The Wives of Mad Men

I dropped the FMK ball last Friday, but now it's time for a new round of Fuck, Marry Kill! Trust me, this new round's pairings were worth waiting the extra week.

To play, I present you my readers, with three people. You must decide which person you'd like to bed, which you'd wed and which you want dead. It's not always as simple as it sounds.

Apparently Round 3's Rising Stars of Community were either not up to snuff, or few people are fans of these fellas. Don't sleep! Despite receiving only five votes, these guys are not to be ignored. Let's see how Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong, and Donald Glover fared:

Fuck Ken,


Taking a closer look at the votes we see:

Fuck Danny & Ken & Donald: Despite Ken winning it all in the individual voting, with my vote all three fellas would be tied for fuckability. It was probably my toughest decision, but I believe Donald's bro rape skills in the bedroom would be too tempting to pass up.

Marry Donald: Even though I'd prefer Donald between the sheets, everyone else wants to marry Mr. Donald Glover. Donald does look sexy sophisticated in his spectacles, but Ken Jeong would have to be the Chuck to my Larry. He's so cute, cuddly and crazy who wouldn't want to fall asleep every night curled up with a little Ken?

Kill Danny: I'm sorry Danny! I think you are super funny and talented, but someone had to take one for the team. Like they say, sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes, well, he eats you. Not sure where I was going with that, but Danny had to die and it will be a sadder world with him gone.


Onto Round 4. With Season 4 of Mad Men officially underway what better time to pit the sexy spouses against one another. Why wives and not the more generic ladies, you may ask? Well, Peggy's great, but she's a different class of woman to Joan and Betty. Plus, comparing Peggy to those two would mean I couldn't include Trudy Campbell and who could say no to that adorable face? So, slip on your sharpest rings ladies and let the cat-fight begin!

Fuck, Marry, Kill
The Wives of Mad Men

From left to right:
Betty Draper; Blonde, bitchy and a bit of a booze-hound, but being married to Don Draper is a task no mere housewife could handle. Through it all she still manages to look classy.

Joan Harris; A rep for being a bit of a slut, but she's sly, smart and sassy. Joan's the type of woman you hate to see go, but you love to watch her leave. The doc's lucky to have landed the ultimate ging'.

Trudy Campbell; Trudy's sweet and petite, but I get the feeling Pete doesn't wear the pants in their chic apartment. As lovely as Trudy is, I wouldn't be surprised to find a big harry pair beneath her petticoat.

Round 4 will run for two weeks, I hope that gives everyone ample time to ogle, um, I mean compare, these characters. Choose wisely.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Triple Team'd: Baru-chel-Shocked!

This feature is normally known as Double Team'd, but when preparing to review my recent barrage of Jay Baruchel vehicles, I realized I'd never written a review for She's Out of My League. Thus, Triple Team'd was born. Let's see which of the geeky-guy-gets-the-blonde films was most worth watching.

She's Out of My League

Release: 03.12.10
DVD Release: 06.22.10
Rated R
1 hour, 44 minutes

Second Run Seats

Goofy, awkward Kirk (Jay Baruchel, Knocked Up) goes through the daily grind as a TSA agent while pining away for his ex, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane, Over Her Dead Body). A cellular ringtone jars him from his rut when the phone's owner, a breathtaking traveler, Molly (Alice Eve, Sex & the City 2), asks him to keep her phone safe. Being a nice guy, Kirk delivers the cell and Molly repays his kindness with a date. While sparks seem to fly, Kirk's self-doubt and his pessimistic friends and family may jeopardize the best thing that's ever happened to him.

The story does a decent job of establishing Kirk as an all-around great guy who's hesitant to stand up for himself. Kirk's more likable than his obnoxious buddy, Stainer (T.J. Miller, Get Him to the Greek), but not nearly as memorable as his silly pal Devon (Nate Torrence, Get Smart). There's a third buddy (Mike Vogel, Cloverfield), but he's underutilized and unnecessary. The quartet's banter, scribed by Sex Drive writers John Morris and Sean Anders, is funny in parts, but largely fills space until audiences can ogle Alice Eve once again.

Eve has her own foul buddy, Patty (Krysten Ritter, 27 Dresses), though her talent's somewhat wasted. TV fans will be disappointed that Fringe's Jasika Nicole and That 70's Show's Debra Jo Rupp also have little to do. Most of the supporting cast take a back seat to Baruchel's fidgety gesturing and nasally hemming and hawing.

Dirty Undies
Alice Eve in lingerie is reason enough to see this, but catching a glimpse of Baruchel's bony ass (or his double's) may (or may not) sweeten the pot for you. Stainer and Patty are sputtering fountains of vulgarity, but unfortunately there's nothing overly explicit to write home about.

The Money Shot
She's Out of My League attempts to be offensive and edgy, but its sugary sweet center makes it more of a sappy romance than a raunchy comedy. One isn't necessarily better than the other, but in this case, mixing the two waters down the whole.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Release: 07.14.10
Rated PG
1 hour, 51 minutes

Second Run Seats

Goofy, awkward Dave (Jay Baruchel, She's Out of My League) goes through the daily grind as a grad student of physics, though he wasn't always this way. When he was younger, he encountered the sorcerer Balthazar (Nicolas Cage, Con Air) on a field trip. Dave was meant to be Balthazar's apprentice, but Dave accidentally released the evil Horvath (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2) which led to significant emotional scarring. Ten years later, Balthazar and Horvath have returned; one to start a mystical apocalypse, the other to train the timid geek to prevent it.

Director John Turtletaub (National Treasure) spins an entertaining, though wholly predictable yarn with just enough explosions to make Jerry Bruckheimer give his nod of approval. Molina out chews Cage in most scenes; something I thought impossible. The displays of magical prowess are sparkly and nifty, which goes a long way to masking the uninspired writing the small battalion of writers cranked out.

Baruchel balances his time between weakly cracking wise on Cage's tutelage and wooing the dream girl from his embarrassing childhood. Lost infatuation Becky (Teresa Palmer, The Grudge 2) re-enters his life as student in need of physics tutoring. Becky's there to simply accept the magical side of Dave's life (though it's invisible to her eyes and should sound completely crazy). She also shows that Dave isn't a complete loser.

Dirty Undies
Another utterly wasted female role is Balthazar's lost love, Veronica, played by the lovely Monica Belluci (Brothers Grimm). While we're talking about underwritten and underused women, let's not forget Alice Krige (Reign of Fire) who played villainess Morgana la Fey. The women were added to be seen, and by the scant amount of lines given, rarely heard.

The Money Shot
In the end, I couldn't help but think how much more I preferred young Dave (Jake Cherry, Night at the Museum) to the poofy-haired, nasally hemming and hawing of adult Dave. The Sorcerer's Apprentice was nothing more than a cheap magician's trick; a lot of smoke and mirrors that felt entertaining at the time, but makes you feel cheated once you walk away.

How to Train Your Dragon

Release: 03.26.10
DVD Release: 10.22.10
Rated PG
1 hour, 38 minutes


Goofy, awkward Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel (Fanboys) goes through the daily grind as the apprentice to the blacksmith, Gobber (Craig Ferguson), while pining to be the best dragon hunter of his village. Unfortunately, his inventive methods cause more problems for his Viking kin than they help. His father Stoick (Gerard Butler, Reign of Fire) finally allows Hiccup to train, but only after he has befriended the most fearsome of dragons, a Night Fury he names Toothless.

Hiccup's friendship with Toothless gives him privileged insight into dragon mastery. It makes him the envy of his classmates, except for the star pupil, Astrid (America Ferrera, Our Family Wedding). The fantasy tale is fairly engaging and I doubt the target audience cares that the voices of the Viking village make them seem a bigger melting pot than New York City. Americans, Canadians, Brits and Scots make for an odd mix of natives, but if no one else cares, should I?

The computer animation is mediocre by today's measure. I wasn't too fond of Toothless's salamander-esque stylings, but it made for an inoffensive friend for young Hiccup.

Dirty Undies
Being a kid's movie, there shouldn't have been anything offensive, but something about hearing Gerard Butler's brutish brogue made me feel like he and Craig Ferguson were sitting around buck-ass naked in the recording booth, having a wank. There's a good bit of action, and it's a little more violent than you'd expect for kiddie fare with some surprisingly heavy outcomes.

The Money Shot
While the animation didn't portray it well, Baruchel's nasally hemming and hawing made Hiccup seem all the more helpless. It's altogether fun and easy to follow, assuming you don't get tripped up by the accents.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Hump: No. 81

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Huh, Huh, You Said "Poll"

On the first of July, Reel Whore crossed the 500 post mark. In honor of this milestone, I asked you faithful stargazers if the old girl needed a little work. I've been pondering putting the site under the knife for a substantial overhaul, but I'm glad I posed the question to you all first.

Of the 9 votes, what say you?

0 votes - Bitch needs a serious facelift!

8 votes - A little nip/tuck couldn't hurt.


1 vote - There's nothing like the original!

Either you all really are mostly pleased with the shape of things, or you're being very, very nice. No matter; my fans have spoken! Throughout August I hope to tweak the sidebars and clean up some outdated linkage. As for a new poll, I've got no burning questions to answer at the moment. Stay tuned. I'm sure something will pop up before long.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, July 26, 2010

MMM: Stopped Before Started

Morning stargazers. I can't believe my last post was Wednesday! I had planned to drop three more posts by last week's end, but it's Monday so obviously that didn't happen. Best laid plans and all that. Here's hoping this week I'll start and finish strong.

Thinking about abrupt endings led me to this week's artist. French singer and actress, Stéphanie Sokolinski a.k.a. Soko, was a rising star in the music business back in 2007 thanks to her song I'll Kill Her. The song became a hit in several countries. Soko went on to tour with MIA and continued to tour with various other artists throughout 2008. Things were looking up, but in 2009 Soko decided to quit the music business despite having recorded a double album.

She has since returned to acting and was even nominated for a César award earlier this year. Whether singing or acting, seems like she's a natural. Maybe we'll get that to hear that album one day, but until then we can still enjoy the song that started the ball rolling.

Soko - I'll Kill Her

Got any projects you're looking to pick up again? Now's as good a time as any.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Hump: No. 16

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Quickie: Cop Out

Cop Out

Release: 02.26.10
DVD Release: 07.20.10
Rated R
1 hour, 47 minutes

Second Run Seats

When veteran cop, Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis, Bandits), goes to sell a rare baseball card, the store is robbed. Jimmy and his partner, Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan, TV: 30 Rock), hunt down the thief so Jimmy can cash it in to pay for his daughter, Ava's (Michelle Trachtenberg, Eurotrip) dream wedding. The thief, Dave (Seann William Scott, Role Models), leads them to the card's new owner, which conveniently lands them in the middle of the case that got them suspended.

Blending action and comedy is old hat for Willis, and Cop Out proves he could do it in his sleep. Surprisingly, Tracy Morgan isn't as annoying as the trailers made him out to be. Well, he and Seann William Scott were both annoying, but in a quirky, funny kinda way. The "big bad" of the film, a thug named after a New Orleans delicacy, Poh Boy (Guillermo Diaz, The Terminal) did get on my last nerve. I assume director Kevin Smith (Mallrats) asked Diaz to give it his Ray- Liotta-in-Wild-Hogs-over-the-top all, but he could have reeled the crazy in a lil bit.

It's a weak, goofy premise masked by raunchy jokes with direction that makes the story feel all over the place. More than a few funny actors, Kevin Pollack (The Whole Nine Yards), Jason Lee (Jersey Girl), and Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man) get wasted to make room for more of Morgan's shenanigans. It's not the genius of the Keystone Kops, but Cop Out can detain your attention on a lazy afternoon.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, July 19, 2010

MMM: Blessed are the Cheesemakers

Odd title for today's mood music selection, but if you watch the Cooking Channel's show Unique Eats featuring the Grilled Cheese Truck, you'd have cheese on the brain, too. I'm going to plan a trip to LA specifically to try their Cheesy Mac and Rib; a sandwich stuffed with macaroni and cheese between slices of cheese with bbq pork and caramelized onions. My arteries are hardening just thinking about it. But what's the point of life if you can't enjoy it?

Since I'm on the subject of life, death and television, another show I caught this past weekend was the season finale of the Graham Norton Show on BBC America. It airs after Doctor Who and, when the guest is interesting like this episode's Janet Jackson and Tyler Perry, I'll watch. Always looking for a good laugh, I was also curious about comedian Marcus Brigstocke. Brigstocke was there to promote the UK tour of Spamalot in which he plays King Arthur.

The best part of the show was when Spamalot creator and member of Monty Python, Eric Idle, popped in to hype the production and sing a little ditty. It wasn't a song from the musical, but the most remembered song from Monty Python's Life of Brian. Fun fact: In less than one month it will have been 31 years since the Life of Brian opened in theaters? Now you know, but I digress. While a great ending to the movie, the song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, gained the most popularity as a football chant (that's soccer to us Americans) in the early 90's.

Watching Eric Idle perform his song ruled! Now I can't get it out of my head. Why don't you give a whistle with me. Oh! If, for some insane reason, you haven't seen Life of Brian in these past 31 years, but are planning to do so;

1- what the hell are you still waiting for!
2- this might spoil the ending just a bit.

Eric Idle:
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dirty at 30, Kristen Bell Hopes to Clean Up

Good evening stargazers. If you didn't know, Kristen Bell turns 30 today. If you haven't already, you still have time to wish her a wonderful day.

Happy Birthday Kristen!
That's one way to do it.

Another way is by contributing to Kristen's 30th Birthday charity. She wants your help to get the dirty out of drinking water. If you've got a minute and a few bucks, swing by her charity and help. Let's make her ecstatic on her birthday; maybe not as ecstatic as the Yosemitebear Mountain Giant shown below, but pretty darned happy!

And if you want to make one more person happy, let Kristen know I sent you. Who knows, maybe she'll send me a big 'ol cyberhug.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Double Team'd: My Brodacious Weekend

It's good to have a second-run cinema in my city. The cheap tickets make it possible to catch a matinee of a second-run film and a new release for about the same price as an evening show. Last weekend it was fortuitous that Adrien Brody's June flick, Splice, resurfaced at the cheap theater on the same weekend Predators opened. Was that too much Brody for any moviegoer? You'll have to read to find out.


Release: 07.09.10
Rated R
1 hour, 46 minutes

Full Price

Ever have those dreams where you're falling? You wake up and all is okay. Well, the mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody, The Thin Red Line) has it worse. He wakes up to find himself in a freefall over a jungle. His chute opens automatically just as he plummets through the canopy. He lands next to an enforcer named Cuchillo (Danny Trejo, Desperado). After a series of awkward icebreakers, seven of the baddest mofos from Earth and one spazzy doctor (Topher Grace, Spider-Man 3) band together on an alien planet to defend themselves from being shredded by a group of Predators.

You would think a small group of highly-trained killers armed with a variety of weapons would be unstoppable, but the Predators' massive size, hunting skills, and advanced tech makes these folks look like children with slingshots. Surprisingly, the underdogs turn out to be quick learners, surviving far longer than you might expect. That, in large part, is due to Royce and his super-mercenary skills. For a lone gunman, he quickly brings the group under control, guides them through the foreign terrain, and even identifies the many hunting techniques being employed against them. The only ability he didn't have was using that ginormous bill to sniff out the cloaked creatures.

Like any diverse array of victims, um, I mean characters, they won't all go down in a shining blaze of glory. I was mostly pleased by each person's encounter with the Predators. The first casualty totally pissed me off; not in execution (pardon the pun), but in the executed. My only major qualm with the choices of director Nimród Antal (Vacancy) is that he fails to capitalize on one particular character in earlier scenes. Had this character been better established, it would have made for a stronger climax. Sorry for being vague, but I'm trying to not ruin anything for audiences.

Dirty Undies
Tense and violent, Antal really captures the hunted vibe of the original Predator. The creatures look amazing and if anything has changed from their original look, it's that they are more menacing. I have to agree with Walton Goggins (TV: Justified); Alice Braga (I Am Legend) does have an awesome ass. She can also kick ass with the best of 'em. But, of all the gun-toting, ass-whooping humans on the planet, nobody beats Goggins's portrayal of death row inmate Stans. Had the man actually had a firearm, I can only imagine the hurt he would've put on those aliens.

The Money Shot
Predators is not without its problems, but did anyone seriously expect it to be a masterpiece of cinema? No. I went in expecting Predators to kill some folks, but also get what they had coming to them, and somewhere along the way, see some shit explode. It achieves all three while staying true to the heart of the original concept. What more can you really ask for?


Release: 06.04.10
Rated R
1 hour, 44 minutes


Clive (Adrien Brody, King Kong) and Elsa (Sarah Polley, Dawn of the Dead) are hipster scientists on the cutting edge of gene splicing at the pharmaceutical company, N.E.R.D. (yes, seriously). Their success with creating a new animal hybrid give sthe duo the itch to throw a little human DNA in the mix. Though the company denies their request, a few test tubes, basters and incubators later, Dren (Delphine Chanéac, The Pink Panther) is born. When emotions interfere with scientific methodology, Clive, Elsa and Dren's relationship becomes life-altering.

Though it's been nearly a week, I still find myself rolling the concept of Splice around in my mind. I'm fairly certain the writers and writer-director Vincenzo Natali (Paris, je t'aime, segment Quartier de la Madeleine) had something prolific to say, but I'm also fairly certain the message got scrambled along the way. The shifting dynamic between Clive, Elsa and Dren is thought provoking. In many ways she is their child, but equally she is an experiment that should be carefully monitored in case things go awry. As "first-time parents," Clive and Elsa should expect to make mistakes, but as scientists they should recognize that mistakes can be detrimental.

Having waited so long to see the film, I'd been told things kind of go left in the final act. Thankfully, no one divulged the details. I'm not sure if I wasn't that shocked because I was waiting for a shock, or if I understood where the movie was coming from (if you're curious about my take, see my Spoiler Addendum below). Honestly, the twist bored more than bothered me. Once the premise of the third act is revealed, Splice degrades into a movie where audiences have to wait for characters to play catch up. What did bother me was the whole hipster-scientist motif of Clive and Elsa. Clive's checkered suits and the ironic, iron-on patches on his lab coat bugged me. Maybe if they spent less time worrying about how not-cool they were, and reviewed the data logs, they might have been on top of their geek-game.

Dirty Undies
The creature effects are pretty amazing. Dren went from a TMNT Mouser-looking beast to a pretty sexy, genetically engineered species (if you can look beyond the multi-jointed legs and forehead crevice). Chanéac and her exotic look deserves most of the credit. This is obviously pre-Predators since Brody is his usually bony self. The bulk of the violence is backloaded into the final act and then it's off-screen. Depending on your sensibilities, Splice could be considered too depraved. I know I found Fred & Ginger to be a little too "scrotesque" for my tastes.

The Money Shot
Splice is a movie that will keep you talking; I'll give it that much. Two-thirds of the movie is absolutely worth watching, but the jury's still out on that final act. If you're the adventurous type, give it a shot, but don't say you weren't warned.

Splice Spoiler Addendum: I can't really fault Clive for succumbing to Dren. There was obviously some unexplained pheromones at work even before she presented her plumage to him. With Elsa being cold and distant, any geek worth his salt would instinctively follow the Kirk mantra; if it's human-ish, screw it. Spread those wings and ride, all in the name of science, of course. One could argue he was like a stepfather to Dren and that's just creepy, but that's not nearly as taboo as the Oedipal issues Elsa had to endure.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Quickie: Toy Story 3

Release: 06.18.10
Rated G
1 hour, 43 minutes

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!

Andy's all growed up and his favorite childhood toys are worried what their fate will be once he leaves for college. Woody (Tom Hanks, The Simpsons Movie) assures Buzz (Tim Allen, The Santa Clause) and the gang they'll be stored safely away in the attic. When a mix-up finds the gang at the curb, they all jump trash bag for the box, donation box that is, bound for the Sunnyside Daycare where at least they'll be played with. When it turns out their new home isn't all it's cracked up to be, Woody must rescue his friends from a fate worse than the trash bag!

In case you've been stored in a duct tape-sealed box in the attic for the past month unable to hear the latest movie news, Toy Story 3 is about as darn near perfect a film as you're gonna find this summer. Heck, maybe even this year. Over a decade has passed since the previous installment, but right out of the gate, the tale brings audiences up to speed and into the current plight of Andy's favorite toys. The buddies convey their sadness, fear and anger over the changes through excellent animation and voice work (kudos to Michael Keaton's (Multiplicity) Ken and Ned Beatty's (Shooter) Lotso), but never lose their goofy qualities that make them lovable toys.

I appreciate that Pixar doesn't shill for adults the way other animation studios do. They cleverly use adult motifs, like the ominous horror-monster vibe to make a certain toy seem dark and dangerous, but they never overplay their hand. Even Ken's fashion show, while alluding to adult fads, still has a playful silliness kids can dig.

Woody, Buzz and the gang will make you laugh, will have you worried, and you'll fight back the tears watching this whimsical, yet emotionally satisfying tale. It makes me wonder how difficult could it be to produce more films with the same standard of quality. If Toy Story 3 doesn't land a Best Picture nod from the Academy next year, something is seriously wrong with the world.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

The Hump: No. 5

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Quickie: Our Family Wedding

Release: 03.12.10
DVD Release: 07.13.10
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 30 minutes

Group Rental

Lucia (America Ferrera, Lords of Dogtown) and her fiancé Marcus (Lance Gross, Meet the Browns) are headed home from college; it will be the first time either has met the other's family. It won't be the first time their parents have met. Lance's dad, Brad Boyd (Forest Whitaker, Vantage Point), is a radio DJ who recently had an unforgettable run-in with tow truck driver, Miguel Ramirez (Carlos Mensa, TV: The Mind of Mencia). Miguel, of course, is Lucia's papa. When the two fathers learn they are to be in-laws, the wedding plans become a pissing contest that dampens the couple's affections.

Ugh, just trying to recollect this movie is painful, but let's start with the good. America Ferrera is lovely and talented as always. As Brad's best friend Angela, Regina King (Ray) doesn't have much to do, but she is looking fit. She'll be giving Angela Bassett a run for her money in the toned arms department. Let's see...oh, yeah, there's a goat (GAG Represent!). That's about it.

Carlos Mencia has never been funny. Wedding proves he'll never be an actor, either. The initial conflict between fathers is trivial and whenever they make peace, another nonsensical fuss manifests. The reception just won't end! That's not a spoiler, by the way; the movie has wedding in the title. The run-time must have been too short, so director Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar) just used all the footage he had left.

Our Family Wedding is tedious and trite. It'd require a lot of patience to sit through this for the few laughs and touching sentiments the film produces. America Ferrera and many (not all) of the others deserve so much better than this.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, July 12, 2010

Screw the Candles, Blow Me!

Just thought you should know two really important things about the sexy hot, super-badassedness known as Michelle Rodriguez:

1) Today, she is 32. If you catch her channeling her inner Rain she'd tell you to "screw the candles, blow me!"

2) Come September, she'll be sharing the big screen alongside Danny Trejo in Machete. Best go get your tickets now, bitches!

Happy Birthday MRod!


Large Association of Movie Blogs

MMM: Come Aboard, We're Expecting You.

G'morning stargazers and welcome to another edition of the Monday Mood Music. Thanks to today's selection, I got quite the edumacation and I hope you will too.

Show of hands, how many people have seen The Fifth Element? It's a sci-fi adventure film from Luc Besson starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. I'll spare you the plot synopsis. A futuristic film like this needs to create a fantastic vision of our daily lives to be, while still being familiar. A perfect example of how Besson achieves this balance is the musical performance by Diva Plavalaguna.

The Diva character was a minor one. I always assumed she was played by some opera singer, because it seemed simplest to just hire one woman to sing and be onscreen for four minutes. I was wrong. The Diva Plavalaguna is played by Maïwenn Le Besco, an actress and mother to one of director Luc Besson's daughters. Interesting fact, Ms. Le Besco is rumored to be Mr. Besson's inspiration for Mathilda from his film, The Professional.

Part of what makes the Diva's performance so memorable was the exotic look and crazy gestures of Ms. Le Besco, but now you have to wonder, who did the singing? That credit is due to opera soprano, Inva Mulam though she was not the first choice. Besson wanted to use a 1950's recording of Maria Callas, but the quality was not good enough. Michel Glotz, agent to the late Callas introduced Besson to Mula and the rest is history.

Which brings us to the song itself. The Diva's performance in The Fifth Element is actually two different songs. The first part is titled, Aria of 'Lucia di Lammermoor' and it comes from Gaetano Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor: "Il dolce suono" which is apparently known as the mad scene of Act III, Scene II. I know nothing about opera, so that's the best I got. Actually, this part of Mula's performance was accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor Frédéric Chaslin, so I got that, too. But that's it.

The second part of the song is The Diva Dance. Mula still performs, but the piece was created by Eric Serra, composer for much of the music for The Fifth Element. While listed as two separate pieces, the Aria of 'Lucia di Lammermoor and The Diva Dance are combined in the film to appear to the audience as one seamless piece. The effect is one funky opera/dance song that pairs well with the interwoven Jovovich fight scenes.

Who knew? Now we all do. Enough edumacating, it's time to enjoy:

Aria of 'Lucia di Lammermoor'/The Diva Dance -
Inva Mula and the London Symphony Orchestra

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, July 9, 2010

FMK Friday: Dissed Community

A little late in the day, but as long as it's Friday we've still got time to for a new round of Fuck, Marry Kill! To play, I present you my readers, with three people. You must decide which person you'd like to bed, which you'd wed and which you want dead. It's not always as simple as it sounds.

Two weeks ago, the three randoms were the women who were so crazy over Tom Cruise that they married him. With nine total votes cast, it's time to see how Nicole Kidman, Mimi Rogers and Katie Holmes fared:

Fuck Nicole,


Taking a closer look at the votes we see:

Fuck Katie: Despite Nicole winning it all in the individual voting, the consensus is that Katie Holmes is your go-to gal for steaming the sheets. I had to pass on fucking Katie. Instead, I chose to roll around with Mimi. How nice would it be to work yourself into a lather and then collapse into the warm softness of her flesh pillows?

Marry Mimi: Everyone wants to marry Ms. Rogers. I'm sure she'd be a great companion, but considering she's on her third marriage, I feel Katie is truly the marrying kind. You'd have to be a stepfather to "Tom's child," but at least Katie's workload isn't so hectic that you couldn't share the responsibilities equally.

Kill Katie: What has Katie ever done to you?! I think this is just a knee-jerk reaction to the unfortunate press surrounding Cruise's craziness. Given the chance, I'd whack Nicole. Certainly a great actress, but the woman looks like some sort of scrawny banshee. I wouldn't be surprised if attempts to end her life wouldn't end with a pox upon your entire bloodline!


Round 3 of FMK is a reflection on this week's Emmy nominations. While I was ecstatic that Glee, Mad Men and Modern Family ruled, I'm ticked one of my favorite shows, Community, was snubbed. All movie fans should adore Community. It's chock full of pop culture references and whip smart dialogue. If you didn't know, now you know. To show them much respect, it's time for you to decide...

Fuck, Marry, Kill
Rising Stars of Community
From left to right:
Danny Pudi, As Abed, he's socially awkward, but the ultimate pop culture junkie. He's so in tune with entertainment he can out-Draper Jon Hamm;
Ken Jeong; One might argue his stars at its pinnacle, but trust me when I say, he's just getting started. He may have the body of a fifth grader, but his comedy is so ferocious they call him el Tigre;
Donald Glover; Troy may be a jock riding the fumes of his high school accomplishments, but Donald is on the way to being an all-star of comedy.

Round 3 will run for two weeks, plenty of time to get to know these up-and-comers. Choose wisely.


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Special Request: Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead

The following review is by special request from Jason of Invasion of the B Movies and Andy the Time Lord of The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek. Thank them for the insanity which follows.

Attack Girls' Swim Team Versus the Undead

Release: 12.09.08
Rated UR
1 hour, 28 minutes

A Netflix Night

It takes a special kind of cinephile to even consider a movie titled, Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead. By the way, it's also known as Joshikyôei hanrangun in its native Japan and Undead Pool by IMDb and the international community. My interest was spawned by a trailer preceding the film, Siren. Never heard of it? Both are Japanese horror films starring adult video (AV) stars. Interested now?

Attack Girls features AV star Sasa Nada as Aki, an orphan raised by a madman and trained as an assassin. Aki wanted more from life; specifically, she dreamed of being a normal high school girl. One night she escapes the complex and slips into a nearby high school. She makes fast friends with a student who encourages her to join the swim team. It just so happens, one of their members has fallen ill and they'd have to forfeit the meet without another swimmer.

Aki agrees and everything seems to be going great. Aki even discovers that her new friend shares a similar birthmark on her chest, leading them to realize they were twin sisters separated at birth! Nothing good comes without a price, however, as the sick swimmer was not an isolated incident. Most of the students and teachers have fallen ill. The strange disease causes those aflicted to turn into shambling, flesh-eating zombies. For reasons unknown, the rest of the swim team seem unaffected by the virus. Under Aki's leadership the girls go on the offensive, trying to stay alive long enough to find a cure.

Is that plot dense and crazy enough for you? If so, don't worry about the hateful swim coach who is brutally murdered only to return unscathed as the nicest teacher on campus. Or let's not ponder why one teacher, when zombified, only speaks English (and yet still gets subtitled)! Attack Girls is a pool of insane ideas that forms a gooey, gushy, sexy, steamy, awkward mess instead of congealing into a poorly executed film. Problems range from minor ones like Aki's vanishing 'birthmark' to a crazy corkscrew mindfuck of a third act where absolutely anything, and I mean anything, goes.

Dirty Undies
Attack Girls is also a misnomer for our band of high school heroines. They should be called Attacked Girls because they are just a group of swimmers who join forces under the leadership of Aki, the only girl with any true fighting skills. Aki does get in a few solid blows, but director Kôji Kawano seems more inclined to have Aki recollect the flute-induced sexual rutting her old mentor gave her at the complex.

The steamy bits aren't all bizarre rape sequences. Any shamelessly exploitative movie rife with teenage girls wouldn't be worth its salt if it didn't include some girl-on-girl action.

The gore and zombie effects aren't much to write home about either. There's a good deal of heavy makeup and colored corn syrup splashed about, but it's all so hokey it could never be considered cringe-worthy.

The Money Shot
I've only scratched the surface of all the problems Attacks Girls suffers from. That said, it's the kind of twaddle that you can't appreciate without having seen it. I recall feeling it was confusing, never-ending crap as the credits rolled, but since then I've found myself smirking at the outrageous silliness of it all. Sometimes terrible movies reach a noteworthy plateau of their own. Would Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead qualify as one of those? You decide.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Love It When a Movie Comes Together!

The A-Team

Release: 06.11.10
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 57 minutes

Full Price

When a mission in Mexico goes south for Templeton 'Faceman' Peck (Bradley Cooper, The Hangover), Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson, (Taken) recruits the aid of disgraced Ranger B.A. Baracus (Midnight Meat Train) and pilot H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley, District 9), to complete the job and pull Peck's ass out of the fire. Eight years and eighty successful missions later, the guys are unofficially recruited for a black ops mission; a mission that goes, to put it lightly, badly. The A-Team, now incarcerated in separate maximum-security installations, promptly escape in an effort to clear their names.

Given the formulaic nature of the A-Team television series, the camaraderie of the cast had to be on-point to attract audiences. And for nearly one hundred episodes, it was. The great thing about the feature length movie is Neeson, Cooper, Jackson and Copley strike that same harmonious chord. Mind-bending missions, thrilling chases, and daring escapes work so well because the foursome jibe and antagonize one another as if they were genuinely the best of friends.

A relationship that doesn't work onscreen is between Peck and Sosa (Jessica Biel, Stealth). There is a complete lack of chemistry. An exchange in a photo booth between the two was uber-creepy instead of romantically tense. Maybe the extreme close-ups during that sequence failed to capture any emotion, but I fear there wasn't any spark to film. Given that Sosa is external to the guys' plight, she can easily be written out of future installments.

Dirty Undies
With respect to the thrill factor, director Joe Carnahan (Smokin Aces) has a above average handle on crafting an action flick. That said, my one quibble, one that I often have with contemporary action movies, is once you set the bar for a certain level of over-the-top scenarios, don't exponentially surpass those constraints. Case in point? The finale, which strains even the most liberal reality.

The uneven quality of the special effects and choppy edits plagued many of the outlandish sequences. At times I was caught up in the riptide of hard-hitting action while other times, the shoddy look of the scene took me totally out of the moment. It didn't ruin my overall enjoyment of the A-Team; it's just something to be mindful of in future installments.

The Money Shot
Children and adults of the eighties know all too well that if you had a problem, if no one else could help, and if you could find them, maybe you could hire the crack commando unit known as the A-Team. Hollywood reached out to these boys and they have rescued the summer box office from being a complete wash.

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Bent Until Nearly Broken

The Last Airbender

Release: 07.01.10
Rated PG
1 hour, 43 minutes

Second Run Seats

In a world of martial arts and elemental mysticism, the four kingdoms, Water, Earth, Air and Fire, live in harmony. While members of each nation are masters over their respective elements, balance is maintained by the Avatar; a person capable of controlling all four elements. When the Avatar vanished, the Fire Nation waged war. One hundred years later, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone, Twilight) of the Southern Water Tribe have stumbled across a boy and his flying bison frozen in a sphere of ice. Once young Aang (Noah Ringer) thaws and proves himself to be the last Airbender, it isn't long before word spreads that the Avatar, and the world's last chance for peace, has returned.

The Last Airbender is based on the award-winning animated Nickelodeon series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The adaptation was written, directed, produced and fucked by M. Night Shyamalan (Lady in the Water). Twenty episodes of mythology to draw upon and yet the man couldn't even regurgitate the story in a compelling way! As a fan of the series, maybe my expectations were too high, but I can easily set my qualms about his reimagining aside to criticize the plethora of other problems.

Casting is the obvious issue. I didn't buy into the racist spiel/media hype surrounding his choices. I didn't care the Water Nation was comprised of white folks; I did care that not a single cracker could act their way out of a wet paper sack. In more than one scene, Katara seemed to read lines off a cue card. Aang wasn't much better. It wasn't just the kids. I love the comedy of Aasif Mandvi (The Proposal), but Commander Zhao is an unhinged badass, not a man with a deer-caught-in-the-headlights stare. It's like he wanted to exclaim, "Look Ma, I'm in a big boy part!" The only smart casting choice Shyamalan made was not putting himself in the movie.

The film's budget was definitely dumped into the special effects and it shows. Appa, the flying bison and Momo, the winged lemur looked great, even if they were only set decoration.

Dirty Undies
To the good, the action sequences were decent, just way too showy. If all benders spent that much time posing and articulating to manipulate the elements, a quick gut punch or kick to the groin would end most battles before they start. All the flourishes were probably meant to keep the PG rating rather than explore the mystical world of bending.

Even though a healthy dose of action can overcome the worst acting, it can't make up for a jumbled plot. Shyamalan crafted a few shot-for-shot scenes, but left the spirit of the series on the cutting-room floor. Levity is one of the most important elements to the cartoon. Aang's childlike innocence is infectious. It serves as a counterbalance to the serious, anger-driven motives of the Fire Nation. Shyamalan also spent far too much of the story's runtime relying on character voice-overs to explain backstory. You know, the medium of film can also be used to create these wonderful things known as flashbacks. Next time, use them instead of boring the audience to tears with exposition.

The Money Shot
I hoped The Last Airbender would be the beginning of a fantasy franchise I'd actually care to follow. I also thought it would restore my faith in Shyamalan's skills as a director. I can safely say that I won't waste another dollar on future installments as long as Shyamalan is at the helm.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Hump: No. 32

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Monday, July 5, 2010

MMM: Crazy Coinkidink

his morning I woke up with a particular song buzzing in my head. Maybe it was planted into my subconscious by my radio as I dozed off last night, but considering the station my bedroom radio is currently dialed to, I doubt that is the case. Either way, I immediately knew this would be my Monday Mood Music.

So how freaky is this? I settle in to dig up a video and do a little background research and what do I discover? Today's artist has a new album dropping this week! Crazy coinkidink? Possibly. It makes me want to post the new single from Kylie Minogue's eleventh album, Aphrodite, but I will instead stick with my original intention.

Though not featured today, check out her new single, All the Lovers. Not being able to embed the video had NOTHING to do with my decision. What is the big deal about embedding videos, anyway? You'd think artists would appreciate the free advertising. But I digress.

Whether she's singing catchy pop-dance music or making appearances in movies like Moulin Rouge! or shows like Doctor Who, I quite enjoy the diminutive Aussie. She's had quite a life; she's appeared on soaps as a child, released nearly a dozen albums, performed at the 2000 Olympics, survived breast cancer, and shows no signs of stopping. There's so much to say about Ms. Minogue. Instead, let's just listen to the song rattling around my brain:

Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My Head

As a bonus, here's a steamy commercial Kylie filmed for Agent Provocateur lingerie which was banned for some crazy reason:

By sight or by sound, I'm sure you won't be able to get Kylie out of your head for the rest of the week.


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Friday, July 2, 2010

The Spank Bank: Paul Rudd

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trailer Trash: The July Gang Bang

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed June's releases. That may have had something to do with only seeing two of the eleven releases last month. Was it a fluke or a sign of great things to come? Only July will tell.

This month brings ten major releases (according to IMDB). I'm definitely far more excited by these prospects than the past couple of months, but there is still some shady-looking fare out there trying to pass itself off as entertainment. Let's take a look.

Exercise the Right To Cinematic Celibacy.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (07.30) Fuck me, Hollywood? No. Fuck you!

Despicable Me (07.09) I wasn't sure when this was billed as an evil genius out to take over the world. I still wavered when it was two masterminds competing for the world. I'm dumbfounded to see the villain will also be raising some orphans. Complicated much? I expect audiences will react like this:

Charlie St. Cloud (07.30) This looks to be an extremely emotional tale with its success teetering on Zac Efron's hunky shoulders. The story appears painfully dull and predictable. When forced to decide between playing with your brother's ghost in the woods or getting some snatch on a boat, it's all hands on deck.

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

Ramona and Beezus (07.23) Ramona is an imaginative tyke and this appears to capture her creative spirit without making it annoying or stupid. John Corbett and Josh Duhamel will be extra hot as they show their softer, child-rearing side. Pervs can be happy Selena Gomez will be 18 when this opens, so drooling over her won't seem so skeevy.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (07.14) Jay Baruchel is determined to be the next Hollywood go-to-guy by perfecting the Orlando Bloom-Pirates formula. While it's smart to hitch your star to Disney, his success hinges on the Curse of Cage's Long Hair! Will Cage's mop be long and greasy enough to reach Con-Air greatness, or will it choke the movie in Next and Bangkok Dangerous absurdity?

Moist With Antici...Pation!

Salt (07.23) Based on the results of my summer movie poll, there is some serious Anti-Lina sentiment in the air. I don't know; I'm digging the thrilling pace and ass-kicking of Salt. It's like Jason Bourne with boobs. I can't hate on Angie; who knows when I'll be sent back in time to the set of Hackers to play out my Acid Burn fantasy.

The Last Airbender (07.01) I'm a fan of Avatar: The Last Air Bender. I'm giddy to see Aang master Water, Earth, Fire and Air on the big screen even if the action-heavy promos lack the goofy innocence that makes the series great. The big gamble is trusting Shyamalan-a-dingdong's storytelling after he bro raped me with the Crappening.

Dinner for Schmucks (07.30) After hearing this premise, I half-expected this would get bumped to early 2011 release. Now that I've seen the supremely silly trailers, I think this will be the must-see summer comedy. Rudd and Carell look to have great chemistry and who wouldn't want to see Zach G sporting a dickie?

Predators (07.09) How am I supposed to believe a rag tag bunch of thugs, led by Adrien Brody, will survive a battalion of Predators when Arnie & his team of brick shithouses barely made it? Hard to swallow, but I'll still go hoping for two things:

1) To see Danny "Fuckin" Trejo rip the head off one of these bitches.
2) To watch a Predator peel Brody like a banana.

On equal footing? Seriously?

Inception (07.16) Trailer after trailer and I'm still not exactly certain I understand the premise. That's okay. I actually prefer going into a movie blind rather than being spoon-fed the highlights. Nolan's a trusted source for entertainment and just look how cool this poster is:

It didn't hurt it also stars Marion Cotillard. The lady would melt you like hot butter on breakfast toast.

If you were looking for my The Twilight Saga: Eclipse rundown, that was technically a June release. Here's to a great Fourth of July weekend and, fingers crossed, an enjoyable month at the movies!


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