-Starring British Dude from Lost, Ron Perlman, and Larry Fessenden, about two graverobbers in a Victorian era where the dead springing back to life in all different forms is common place among the city's underbelly. In the beginning, we see Willie Grimes (Fessenden) beheaded, and Father Duffy (Perlman) coming to take the final words of Willie's partner, Arthur (uh...Dominic Monaghan). Here, he explains how he and Willie got into the business, and furthermore, how they got accused of murder.
-Now, see, this movie is funny. Like, really funny. And also terrifying in places. There's their first encounter with the undead, a vampire who twitches about, and it's scary, but also kind of hysterical as Willie and Arthur try to wrangle her. I wish they had more scenes like that, with just these two supposed seasoned professionals (even though they border on bumbling) deal with the vampires and zombies and aliens they find in the graves. I would dig that.
-But, no. A whole subplot involving a rival gang, the House of Murphy, these vicious, showy dudes who, admittedly, do get an awesome backstory scene. But really, it slows shit down, gives the movie some semblance of a plot. Which, y'know, fuck plots. Plots are for pussies and old people. I want morons beating zombies to death with shovels, damn you!
What was the point of the character of Fanny, anyway? She's there for maybe five, ten minutes, before getting a knife (or a ninja star...? Let's go with ninja star) to the forehead. Like, seriously, Glenn McQuaid (god, how Irish is that?), what up? She's, like, the scapegoat for Willie and Arthur, the only one of them who does any killing, the one who convinces them to go to the island to get some lost zombie crates. Basically getting them in their current predicament, and adds some cleavage, and some Irish-chick stereotypes. Then she dies. The entire plot could've gone on find, smoothly, without her. She doesn't even add any emotional shit for the main two, she gets mentioned twice after the fact as 'what about poor Fanny?' Then, nothing. God, producers, just except some bromance.
-Still, this movie is kind of awesome. Go rent it or whatever.
5:30 PM By Simon
I, being a hypothetical person (and, yes, that means I am typing this in theory, just like my existence is but a theory), like to toil away in my head whaty established actor might play a given person within history. For instance:
Diane Arbus. Now, who do you think would play her, physically and/or acting wise? Yes, I am aware that Nicole Kidman played her in Fur, but that was a leap, y'know? More to service the story than any real resemblance. Here, in the face, if we touted her down a bit:
Yes. Scarlett Jo-whatserface. Seriously, have her lose the makeup, smile, and give her a butch haircut, it just might work, dammit. Now, we'll have to work on the acting side of it...
So, my pretties, who would you cast as who?
-Okay, so, since many of you probably never heard of this movie--I only heard of it cruising Blockbuster looking to burn off a free rental I had and avoiding homework--this is about a bunch of people, all romantically troubled, wondering the streets of New York on New Year's Eve 1981, all heading for the same party, connected by a jive-talking, disco-loving cab driver played by Dave Chappelle. Courtney Love and Paul Rudd (right!?!) are two platonic friends dealing with unresolved sexual tension, Kate Hudson is a 19-year-old recently deflowered by womanizer cursed with all the women who he sleeps with falling in love with him (Jay Mohr, back when he was somewhat hot property in these kind of too-hip-for-you movies), Casey Affleck and Guillermo Diaz or punk dudes who start flying around town with two gratingly-accented, but wonderfully played, Ronkonkoma teens (Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffman, in garb that looks less like they live in the eighties and more like they're going to an eigthies-themed party) who have lost the address to one of their cousin's party (The Party, as it were). A whole bunch of others.
-Aside from some of the over-the-top costumes, this movie kind of emerses itself into the strangely random year its set itself at. The cultural bits aren't shouted from the rooftops, but mentioned in passing, with posters or TV shows or commercials really giving away the time period.
-Nonetheless, it was not very good. Amusing, sure, but a rather flat script left on the shoulders of the day's (1999's) hottest up-and-comers does not a good movie make. Despite spirited performances from Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Christina Ricci, and maybe Kate Hudson (everyone else gets honorable mentions, but don't do anything very extraordinary), it just flaps about uselessly, with characters either unbearably obnoxious or fucking boring. It starts up all these supposed plot points, then drops them, and you have things that sound like they should have been mentioned before. Like, one character, upon finding out that Elvis Costello had been at her party, freaks out, saying how her hero, her favorite musician of all time, had been there, and she missed it. Now, this is totally random, and I think them might've cut a scene out explaining this, because it's the sort of thing that should be mentioned again for comedic effect, at least.
-You could do worse. It's no offensively bad.
7:00 PM By Simon
-So, thanks in part to a tip off from good ol' Travis, I went to Blockbuster with a free rental coupon and a dream: to reap the benefits of a washed-up business, bless em. Yes, I planned on digging through their 3 for 20, 4 for 20, 5 for 20 bins of pre-viewed DVDs. And dug I did, dig? So, in the 3 section, I found many a spoil: The Box, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Informant!, Crank 2. But, no. I found my prizes among these. (500) Days of Summer! I Sell The Dead! And this. My beloved. The movie I shall hold dear to my heart until the next great zomromcom comes. A joyous day, 'twas.
-So, when we (I, Danielle, and Parental) went to this in theatres, I told them ahead of time, I said, "We gotta stay after the credits, yo. There's an awesome scene afterwards." So the movie ends, and these two jokers, they stand up to leave. After I explicitly told them benefits await if only they were to stay seated. I know!
So I tells em, I says, "Were you not listening? There's awesomeness lying underneath these credits!"
They says, "MRAWWWWWWW!", because they're pterodactyls, duh. But I tells em I'm staying whether they do or not. So they basically have to stick around because, y'know, I'm their world. So we hover about the entrance, everyone else has left (suckas), and these two yahoos are getting fidgety. I tells em to hold their fucking horses, yo! They keep saying, we indulge you, I, because we loves you, you're our High Priestess, bitchez, but we know for a fact you're wrong. And I'm all, bah humbug, skalliwags, you'll see!
So the song credits have gone by, advertisements almost done, and they begin to leave. And I'm all, garrrrr!, and they're all, mrawwww!, and I'm all, sssssssssa!, and they're all, szjhfsxf!, and basically it's down to who can make the weirder sound.
And then the credits end.
And. I. Won.
Seriously, my lovelies, I told them were they could stick their mrawwwws, I lost my shit. I wish I had recorded the victory dance I had done just then, oh, what a glorious dance it was!
-Go Tallahasse. That is all.
-Would I call this drama, psychological horror, or avant-garde?
-Last image, thoughts, because I have none.
-I'm not very sure I like this. I mean, it's oddly engrossing, watching Carol's (Catherine Denueve) descent into an unexplained madness, and the soundtrack--in which, at first, you can't tell if it's music or a noise within the film--is great, very atmospheric and appropriate. But it also drags in places, and I'm never sure if I'm supposed to sympathise with Carol or not. Also, the entire end was a mindfuck. I'm so confused.
11:00 PM By Simon
Danielle: I want to be a journalist.
I: Since when?
Danielle: Since always. I want to do stories about [insert some random war-torn thing I can't remember].
I: Fine. Don't get me kidnapped by Koreans.
Danielle: I'll do my best.
Have a nice night.
4:04 PM By Simon
-Watching River Phoenix movies makes me sad, okay? He was a, like, crazy-good actor, he was in a Gus Van Sant movie, he was mini Harrison Ford (ahem), he was in Stand By Me, quite possibly the corniest, most awesome movie of the eighties (in that kids-rule genre people ate up). Let's get that shit out of the way.
-It involves what might possibly an offensive stereotype--Kevin Klein with an obnoxious, if funny, "meat-a balls and spa-ghett-i!" Italian accent, working at a pizza parlor, a promiscuous lova and extremely bad Catholic--but, as I am either Jewish or Irish (depending on who you ask), I don't really care.
-It would appear Keanu Reeves has finally found his nook. Good for you, son.
-Go. William. Hurt.
-Why isn't Tracey Ullman acting more? She's so great in this, funny and honest and mad and sad and one of the few characters who aren't caricatures. Damn.
-Seriously, everyone here is a stereotype of something. The New Age hippie guy, the bumbling junkies, the traditional, foreign mother who pisses about the kids of today, the aforementioned Italian lothario. And yet, it works, somehow. It's not winning any awards, but it's a harmless, stranger-than-fiction, endearing, sometimes laugh-out-loud mini-caper. Sure, it spends a long time hm-hawing over the build up--our guy Joey cheats on his wife a lot, which takes up the pre-title scene, he loves his kids and wife, blah, blah, he's just a man!, but once things get going--as Rosalie and her mother Nadja try to hire some guy to beat Joey to death on his way home from another tryst, then try rigging his car, then try poisoning his food, then try shooting him, as they pull more and more people into it--the mind can't help but boggle at the 'Based on a True Story' sticker on the DVD.
7:41 PM By Simon
-I'm going to get this shit out of the way right now: their are four rape scenes in this. The first one is bearable, certainly not nice to watch, but I wasn't fumbling with my fastforward button. The ones after that, though, include a very rough sodomy over a rock, are fucking vile. Asides from the obvious moral-grounds, decency, whatever, it is uncomfortable to watch because it looks so painful. Even for the guy, it looks like it's some twisted middle ground between pleasure and sticking your dick into a pencil sharpener.
-I wouldn't call this a feminist film, per se. While it certainly has the overtones, it doesn't seem to aspire for it very much. During her first rape, for instance, our poor heroine, Jennifer Hills, is fighting back in that completely useless way women always seem to in movies from the seventies--you know, embarassingly weak little slaps and punches, not even making use of the legs, basically falling down a lot. As if she knew that this was necassary as a plot device, and ahead of time, that she had the sweet promise of gory castration when it was all over.
-Right, so, it's more exploitation that feminist revenge. The kind of flick seemingly designed to inspire the future Quentin Tarantino in his Kill Bill movies. It does get kind of awesome at the end, when Jennifer goes stony-faced killa on her rapists, but this is preceded by a much longer sequence of rapes (first one, stumble around, harmonica which probably inspired Deliverance in some way, second rape, stumble around, rape, throw things, left bleeding and for dead. This all takes a better part of an hour).
-That said, I kind of loved it. So cheesy, and yet it has a reason for holding up its notoriety up against all the other sexploitations of the seventies and sixties. It resonates, for some weird reason.
12:45 PM By Simon
Oh, we all know the story, yes? Vivien Leigh plays the fiery southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, Clark Gable plays the charming, maybe-asshole, maybe-bipolar, maybe-awesome Rhett Butler, and Hattie McDaniel plays Uncle Tom's wife, kind of. The former two begin a whirlwind romance that takes them through the chaotic Civil War era, from the cushy view of the famous Tara plantation. Also hanging around dramatically are Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), the object of Scarlett's mutual obsession, and Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) his wife and Scarlett's eventual best friend.
Good god, this movie is the film equivalent of a doorstopper. Clocking in at 224 minutes (238 if you count the overture, entr'acte (which, yes, is an actual word with actual nightmarish grammar), and end music), one of those old epics that required an intermission (the only other one I've seen is Seven Samurai). And, I will admit, it's a chore to not skip past some of the sweepier bits.
Vivien Leigh, we know, is a star thanks to her iconic protrayel of the shrilly lass named Scarlett. She is at times a wonder, at times a shrieking monster, at times simply exasperating. I don;t want to get capped or anything, but I don't think Leigh's acting holds up well to modern audiences--the kind of melodramatic, hand-waving thing you now see marginalized to shitty daytime soaps. Yet, with a breathy voice, a guise of innocence, and conniving eyes, she reminds you why, exactly, she's earned her Oscar.
Clark Gable plays a variation of your typically dashing man of money, a guy willing to follow Scarlett--and her determination to survive the war--to the ends of the earth. Initially, yeah. We all know how that shit went down.
That all said, I have no strong feelings either way towards any other aspect. I refuse to give it a rave review based off its reputation, but I'm not going to disparage it for the sake of disrupting things. How well Wind has managed the test of time is entirely up to you, people, but to me, it just represents the days of epic's past and nothing more.
Fin, of course.
Ever wonder what Poker Face would be, acapella and with a bunch of sweaty young men, many of whom are Asian? Look no further.
2:37 PM By Simon
Okay, so ya'll know my casual worship of the man that is Nedroid, right? He drew this, and naturally, it is awesomely adorable.
Howdy, all! This is your fearless leader, Simon/Ripley/Whatever, bringing you what probably none of you were waiting for! Like, in the least! But whateva!
Here, I shall continue the (ahem) epic saga of Chuck Norris vs. Katharine Hepburn. Joining me are three awesome folks Le Sugary Cynic of the eponymous, who's kind of awesome plus the aforementioned awesome, which makes it awesome to the second, or A^2, Mattsuzaka, proprieter of the Chuck Norris Ate My Baby blogathon, which started this shit, as you know, and Robert of His Eyes Were Watching Movies, who is my Internet Homeboy, by age approximation proxy. I know! Craziness!
So, let's get down to business. Where we last left off, Kate and Chuck were at a deadlock. One win each, and one tie. Katharine dazzled with her beauty, Chuck with his kicking of ass. We were stalled when neither I nor my late partner Tom could decide between the two in the category of Awesome. Because, y'know.
Not to ramble, let's get on with the show! Yays!
(and, yes, I realize how ridiculously past 'next Wednesday' it is)
Over in this corner (the one locked from the outside), we got Chuck Norris, in his Sunday chaps. Leather vest, fingerless gloves for some reason, something dangerously close to a mullet. He's got his game face on, that's for sure. Let's see what the judges think.
SugaryCynic: I’d have to say I’m deeply frightened, but also strangely aroused
Robert: You had me at Fingerless Gloves. Someone needs to bring those back into style...who better than Chuck Norris?
Mattsuzaka: He looks very strong today, and his beard certainly looks as thick and course as I've ever seen it...if this were a pots and pans scrub off, he would definitely have the advantage.
Indeed. Now, over in that corner, the only other one by process of elimination (or is it?), Katharine Hepburn's in Adam's Rib mode, and she knows what to do with it. Stripping her silken cape and ninja sword holders off to reveal her wifebeater, cargo pants, army boots, and brass knuckles. See, that's how you dress for war!
Mattsuzaka: Hepburn's wrinkles are looking very deep, but it does not show in her eyes what so ever. She looks ready to make burger out of this Chuck.
Robert: (Obnoxiously cheering) Yea Katharine! Yea! That's how you make an entrance! ...Sorry.
SC: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner…to kick some ass!
-Katharine and referee, let's call him Theodore Roosevelt, an inaudible squabble, lot of punches thrown. Finally, Katharine, seeing Chuck dare squint at her, gives in and hands over her butterfly knife, previously hid in the nether pockets of her pants-
I: Woo! That could've gotten ugly!
Mattsuzaka: Ouch, she sure is a sneaky one. Maybe someone should check her birthday suit pocket for nun chucks!
Let's get on with this shit. See the gimp walking over with his little hammer, ready to ring the bell. Aw, he's so cute! Coming up to the mike is Morgan Freeman, our announcer:
"Are you ready to ruuuuuuuuumble!?!?"
I: We are! We are ready to rumble!
"Do you want to get mean!?"
Hell yeah! Go Morgan Freeman, in this uncharacteristic bout of aggression!
SC: Few people know this, but Morgan Freeman actually holds the world heavyweight mixed martial arts title.
Mattsuzaka: He also has really weird freckles...what's up with those things? Maybe they are used as a distraction to win MMA fights?
*some more wrestling jargon I'll think of later*
"In this corner, weighing in 250 pounds of muscle, the Texas Ranger, the Walking Fist, the Red Scare, put your hands together for CCCCHHHHUCK NOOOOOOOORRRRRRRIIIIISSS!"
*gives it up*
"And in this corner, weighing at (ahem) pounds, the African Queen, Diana of the Hunt, Hep C-to-the-K, it's KATHARINE HEEEEPPPPBBBBUUUURRRRNNNN!"
*up it gives*
Yes! I agree!
-Morgan Freeman is screaming really loud now, and I'm wondering if it's really Morgan Freeman or that hobo that loiters around my house. Morgan Freeman's white, right? Oh, dear-"THEN LET'S KICK THIS FUCKER OFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!"
-Cutie pie Gimp feebly bangs bell-
SC: D’aww! Where’d you get him? I want one!
Mattsuzaka: Funny, my dad has that same gimp costume...hey!
Chuck starts with a signature roundhouse kick in Katharine's direction.
*Crazy awesome roundhouse kick*
Mattsuzaka: Oh yeah, this is the spin kick that stopped the cold war and could mean the end of Kath if he lands it just right...
Oh, miss! I don't even know who that guy is, but it appears he just wandered on stage in a suicidal trance and left himself to god. (if I can butt in here) S.C.: You know what they say, “the Good Chuck giveth and the Good Chuck taketh away” Let's pray for him, folks...what the fuck?
-Chuck Norris has stopped his leggly crusade, kneels and prays in front of the bleeding guy-
I: For fuck's sake.
Robert: Did not see that coming.
Meanwhile, Katharine, in a move I can only characterise as using her brass balls to knock the conservativeness right out of Chuck's skull-
Ohhhhh! Damn, that had to hurt!
Robert: I really would have used silver myself, but brass is a bold choice.
SC: We can only speculate as to where she was keeping those!
Mattsuzaka: From what I've read, there's room for a whole weapons cache in her nether regions.
-Chuck, not to be made the fool, rights himself and...-
-...punches Kate in the face. With his third fist. Y'know, the one on his gloriously bearded-and-clefted chin-
*half the crowd cheers, other boos-
The crowd did not like that!
(more like decidedly mixed feelings)
Mattsuzaka: I've only seen Norris use that third fist when with three women at once and certainly not in a violent way.
SC: The 3rd fist can only mean that Katharine’s got him on the ropes! He’s getting desperate!
-Katherine, too, rights herself with an angry, some would say ungraceful, grunt, and lights herself a cigarette with the dexterity and speed only found in children of the 30s-
*some 30s-style newspaper-jibber that leaves Chuck, this announcer, nay, the whole stadium baffled*
-A look is shared by the two rivals, now temporarily allies, in their quest to create such smoldering competition as to shock the audience into an abrupt, dazed silence-
*picture of Katherine looking intense*
*Picture of Chuck looking intense*
Powerful stuff, ladies and gentlemen.
SC: Now make out! I wanna see some tongue!
Mattsuzaka: Are they fighting with their minds?
-the moment is broken by a single redneck with a Walker, Texas Ranger T-shirt (Robert: wat da hellz!?). He throws a half-empty beer can at Katharine's lovely cranium (Robert: how DARE he...), wear it bounces off like it had hit the hood of a car, and he whoops a misogynistic comment we won't repeat here, how vulgar, not in my house! Neither Chuck nor Katharine will take such flack-
Lemme tell you, guys, I do not envy that poor fuck right now.
-A battle of brawn has turned into a battle of honor, as the two warriors make their way over the crowd, they appear to float, in their grace. Reaching the man at the same time, the duo pick him up by the collar and drag him, still flying despite the bulk, back to the ring. There, they proceed to whoop his flabby butt in ways I, a measly narrator, dare not repeat. It speaks for itself, yeah-
Robert: Yeah, that guy's definitely On Golden Pond now...a golden pond...of...urine...? Okay obviously the puns aren't really working.
SC: I haven’t seen an ass-kicking of such proportions since the Golden Girls brawl of ‘88
(am I the asteriks, the dashes, or me? Who knows. Not I)
-and like that, the offender is tossed back into the crowd, a broken man, a changed man. Never shall he forget the day he was destroyed by the most deadly team since Batman and his belt-
Robert: That's the truth, that's one for the scrapbooks right there.
Truly, a profound event this is turning out to be. We've gotten blood, gore, prayer, wits, honor, karatay, and rednecks--
Robert: Sounds like a typical friday night for me!!!
I: Thank you, Robert.
--Are you people still insatiable?
Robert: I'M NEVER SATIATED!!!! GRRRR
Very well. It goes against not only the law, but my very moral codes (Robert: Not mine). But I shall continue to allow this battle. Gimp! The bell!
*it's the gimp from Pulp Fiction, ya'll*
SC: So then I should talk to Zed about how to get one (possible Bruce Willis intrusion claiming “Zed’s dead, baby”)
-Gimp smacks bell, chimes a little-
Corners are replenished, third knuckles are cracked, hair is curled, tobacco is spit, war paint re-applyed--
Robert: Hey, I thought this was a wrestling match, not the sequel to Avatar! Bwahaha.
I: Take your pills, Robert.
Our two champions swagger to center stage, a dislike renewed into hatred, it would appear. What a show.
-they shake hands, nails digging into each other's. Chuck's beard twitches, one can only imagine what he's thinking of. Katharine squints a calculating squint, jaw clenched. A clench that screams 'bring it on, guy! *more 30s jargon*'-
-A roundhouse here, the slap there, cigarettes smoldering into unprotected eyes, muscles flexed into guts, a heel breaking said bicep down to the bone (where'd she get a heel?). Shit's getting real, yo-
Mattsuzaka: Kathy is holding on well and the choice to wear a sports bra was a good one too...we all saw what happened two years back when she rumbled with MR. T.
SC: Chuck’s bringing The Lone Wolf McPain! …What? Too obscure?
Robert: OMG were those Prada heels?!
Up, looks like the ref is none too happy with the dirty play.
-Teddy storms on stage, stylish suit only surpassed by his Mustache of Fury.
Robert: (More Obnoxious cheering) YEAHHH TEDDAYYYYY!!!!
Chuck Norris and he begin to swap facial hair-grooming tips, while Katharine cools off by punching a slab of beef her coach, Spencer Tracy, holds out for her. he is clearly winded. Soon, however, Teddy and Chuck get into a disagreement over the proper direction in which to comb one's mustache, and an even more epic battle emerges when Katharine abandons the meat and Tracy to join in. The squinting, at this point, is astronomical-
What a shocking turn of events!
SC: I’m shocked!
Robert: I'm hanging on the edge of my seat! Literally!!!
Mattsuzaka: I wish that dude selling nachos would come this way for once.
-Chuck, having had it with this bullshit, yo, he's gotta get back to his Republican blog, draws his fist back and preps a mighty punch. Katharine, at the same time, brings her hand forward for a Slap of Men. And Teddy, oh, dear god, Teddy, he brings his fingers into a peace/V sign, as his presidental advisor has warned him about punching the shit out of potential voters, and goes to poke the two enemies in the eye(s). But they must stop midway from their destinations. You know why, gentle readers?
They have accidentally entered into the most epic Rock Paper Scissors of all time. How could this possibly--
Mattsuzaka: Wow, that sure was something else...wonder will the fight will continue now that the universe has collapsed? *Imagines Chuck and Kathy fighting it out in a dessert wasteland as the sun set behind them* Wait, how am I even still here?
Robert: Wow, what a fight. I have not seen something that shocking since, well...honestly, never. That was easily the most epic battle ever waged between two completely different icons of popular culture. Ms. Hepburn was at her prime, Mr. Norris was being...Chuck Norris, and Teddy is just awesome. There are no words, really, for the kind of awe that I am experiencing right now. This was definitely a tossup, but just because I love her so, I'm handing this one to Katharine Hepburn! (But wait a minute, didn't the universe just collapse? So...how am I writing this? Is there even a winner at all? I'm scared.)
SC: Somehow I always knew i'd go in a universe-imploding fight to the death/rock-paper-scissors game between Chuck Norrise, Katharine Hepburn and a dead president...I just didn't think it would be so silly. At least it ended better than Lost.
And that's it, folks.
Thank you, my lovelies, for your patient participation and witticisms. I will, as always, be taking my Pulitzer by post.
7:27 PM By Simon
Didya see that? Did ya see that dapper Japanese man chistened Ken Watanabe, and that lovely French lady deemed Marion Cotillard? Did you see them actually be in the trailer? Did you see that potentially spoilerish shot of the two standing side by side, all classy-badass?
Do you see those pictures above? Do you see Tom Hardy, before reduced to a snappy cameo at the end of the last trailer? Do you see Dileep Rao, finally showing his face? Do you see JGL standing amidst a bunch of maybe-dead suits, looking awesome?
I wonder where Lukas Haas went. I wonder when Marion Cotillard will speak. I wonder if JGL is supposed to be a soon-to-be villain or simply the rebel within the group. I wonder how Tom Hardy got such an impressive mustache.
12:13 PM By Simon
But for now, you busy yourself with the smooth ramblings of Darren, in this fantastic not-review of Kill Bill Vol. 2.
How silly of me, neglecting to point ya'lls over to He Shot Cyrus, where El Gringo does a fantastic blogathon called 'My Best Post'. See magnificent button over the side.
Frankie boy has some excellent reviewage of Targets.
Heuck at The Projector Has Been Drinking revisits my new love Suspiria. This is not at all because I am mentioned, guys...it's actually very good, and he even proposes a threequel tie-in with Die Hard (currently accepting producers).
That is, I don't normally watch it. But my Parental and my sister were watching it, and I didn't feel like doing homework, and I was out of movies, and there was nothing on TV, and I didn't feel like reading, so I sat down and watched it with them.
I've educated myself on the basic outline up until now. I know more about these characters than I care to. Now, will someone please tell me what the fuck was going on!?!
3:27 PM By Simon
You know what? This movie is absolutely delightful. I don't give a shit that it's a Hugh Grant movie, or that I can't look at Nicholas Hoult without thinking of A Single Man, or that Rachel Weisz has maybe 15 minutes screentime. It's funny in that unbearably sweet way, and I can see why it's spawned a thousand shitty ripoffs (*ahem* No Reservations *ahem*).
-Speaking of A Single Man, for that matter, what would happen if you showed a movie character a movie that the actor did? Like, showing Nicholas Hoult an episode of Skins? I'd watch that.
And, so, anyways, my loves, I shall begin.
Pierrot le fou. A recent viewing, a kind gift/loan/whatever from CinemaScream, this I count as a musical for its two instances of random song, accompanied by spontaneous choreography and light piano. The saga of a bored married man, Ferdinand turned fugitive with a former flame, who decides to call him Pierrot, much to his chagrin. Always something of a farcical road movie, ending in a bit of tragedy, but still rather slapstick. Fantastic, mesmerizing (despite, as I assume ya'll know, shitty subtitles), surreal, colorful in that way only Godard in a good mood and the sixties can produce. Aided by the fanciful performance of Anna Karina and the half-lovestruck, half-bemused Jean-Paul Belmondo, an unexpectedly catchy song is performed by the two, that might've been an in-character way to pass celluloid had not been for the burst of music the background.
The other, a bouncy serenade from Karina to Belmondo in the beginning, is not as memorable, after you've gotten past the whole movie in between it and 'Ma ligne de chance', but while it lasts, it's pretty awesome.
And then, of course, there was:
I expressed all my feelings for this beautiful film here, but if ye need more, do take a look at 'Rozanne':
Oh, I know. I could've picked Sweeney Todd, Rent, Chicago, the delightful Reefer Madness, even Hedwig and the Angry Inch, my love. But none of those have Marion Cotillard out-acting every other chump in the room, my favorite being this painfully vulnerablen number:
And, at last,
The epitome of heartbreaking, friends. It's a shame Lars von Trier terrorized Bjork into acting retirement, because she could've been great, okay? Here, she plays Selma, a single mother going blind and trying to make enough money to protect her son from the same fate. And she's amazing. She, her character, remains chipper past all her hardships (and, oh shit, are there many), an undeniably innocent character swallowed up by the vicious caricature of the American system von Trier paints, a victim of cirmumstance who is too nice for her own good. Her brutal fate is sealed by her unwavering optimism, it may seem, as evidenced in 'I've Seen It All', where her neighbor, vaguely-love interest asks her regrets:
And that is all, folks. Peace out.
5:56 PM By Simon
-Say what you will, but everybody must admit: this is an ugly fucking movie. The people are ugly, with ugly veins and scars and tattoos, they all talk ugly, when you can understand them at all. They beat the shit out of people, stab them, shoot them, they blow shit up and set shit on fire, they barely hide their contempt for each other. This movie looks ugly, not shot on shaky-cam, thank you, but extreme digital. The violence is ugly in a brutal way, it seems to revel in itself.
-That said, it could've been worse. It could've been in fucking shaky cam.
-Michael Caine is not as badass as you'd think. In fact, there are only three instances the entire thing where he goes hardcore awesome. In between, he's just a tired old man sick of everyone dying because of some sociopathic kids. Like, the scene where he finds out his best friend got killed, is maybe the saddest thing I've ever seen.
-Poor Marky. Am I the only one who wanted to give that little shit a hug?
-Do not fuck with pensioners.
-Not a perfect movie, certainly. Wishy-washy and confused (much like its protagonist), it can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a light-hearted bildungsroman for the big screen, or a dark political/war drama, life-on-da-Irish-streets, what.
-Then again, Cillian Murphy is fucking delightful as Patrick/Patricia "Kitten", the boy-to-shemale who grows up not knowing who his real parents are, raised by an oppressively religious foster family, then leaves in search of her and *shudder* himself. Then again, Cillian Murphy is best when he's wearing a skirt.
-I am officially subscribing to the school of Neeson. That guy kind of rocks in this. Especially the very first confession scene. Hairy-arse and all that.
3:25 PM By Simon
So, I gets an email from Hotmail telling me my account will be deleted in 48 hours if I don't verify it. See, this happened once before. With a different email, the one I started with (WiiShallPrevail). I verified it, you understand, and they deleted it anyway. Or, at least, they wouldn't let me log in. So, warning ya'll, the account has a very good chance of becoming defunct within the next few days. If you have anything to say, spit it out, gentlemen.
As you can imagine, this does nothing to calm my murderous rage.
EDIT: Crisis averted, I think. Carry on.
(I know you all were just holding your breath in worry)
2:17 PM By Simon
Back in January, before I had any readers that were not traffic from my sista's page, I wrote a thing on one of my favorite movies, The Killers. Here, I contrast that one with the 1964 remake. Here it is, for your reading, my lovelies.
For those of you who don't know, The Killers originated as a short story by Ernest Hemingway back when he was doing those sorts of things. It was about two men who came to town, to kill a Swedish boxer hiding out there. Their reasons aren't specified, but it is assumed that it has something to do with the boxer's refusal to throw a fight. At the time, it was most notable for featuring Nick Adams, a regular character in Hemingway's stories, who enters into his teen years here.
It was adapted several times. The first was feature length and starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, in her breakout role. The second, a short student film by Andrei Tarkovsky, later a renowned Soviet director of such films as the original Solaris. The third was originally intended to be the first made-for-TV movie, but released in theatres because of the violence, stars John Cassavetes (Rosemarry's husband in Rosemary's Baby , and a pioneer in independent cinema), Lee Marvin, and Angie Dickinson.
Alright, enough history. I'm not weighing in on Tarkovsky's version (here), or any of the other short films made in the past two decades based on this story. Just the two features.
PROS AND CONS
STORY: The same as the story up until the death of one "Swede" Anderson, with a Shady Past and a Dark Secret, wherein an investigator for an insurance company investigates the circumstances of his death, and discovers an intricate plot of robbery and betrayel, involving mastermind Colfax (Albert Dekker) and mysterious love of the Dead and Deceased, Kitty (Gardner).
Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster. A suspenseful opening scene in the diner the Swede frequents, followed by the iconic frame of Anderson before his death. Good acting from the supporting cast. Black-and-white. A cold, classic-noir atmosphere. Engaging plot, well paced, etc. Soundtrack. Broad-chested policemen chomping cigars and calling everybody 'pal' and 'buddy'.
Slow, drags on.
PLOT: Basically, it's the same, except now the boxer is a racecar driver named Johnny North, now a teacher at a school for the blind. Two hitmen, played by Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager, come in, rough up the secretary of the school and some blind guys (Damn. It.), before storming the class North is teaching. Instead of running or begging for his life, he simply moves away from his students to take the shots. Later, on a train going An-y-where, Charlie, the older and more experienced of the duo, is bothered by Johnny's impassiveness, and he convinces his partner to help him track down those who knew him, and find out why.
John Cassavetes. The slow, melodramatic, but brutal violence that the sixties and seventies produced, before all the choreographed PG-13 shit of the eighties kicked in. Higher paced than original. Lee Marvin being badass.
Angie Dickinson (I'm not saying she's bad in general, just in this), off-kilter plot, Adaption Distillation, the throttling of blind people (I'm no moral trumpet or anything, but Christ), meh acting.
Oh, and a supporting role by a certain guy who once had a very important job, an economic system named after him, and an extremely specific fanbase. Give up? Why not take a closer look at the pciture of the dude pimp-slapping Ava Gardner up above.
First, there's the thing over at His Eyes Were Watching Movies, where Robert gives up a list of actors and you, children, must come up with a movie pitch involving them. Go! Go, damn you!
And the LAMB is busy with their eighth Director's Chair, on Stanley Kubrick. Submissions begin now, will last from the 8th to the 10th. Again, go, go, etc.
Have I missed any, dear people? Do let me know, I'm very bad at keeping up with this shit.
8:24 PM By Simon
(by the way, this is pretty much my format for reviews now, unless I feel extra-opinionated on it. I'm just too lazy to format the fucker)
-I'd like to sincerely thank Wynter at CinemaScream for giving me this movie, out of the kindness of his heart, I presume. Naturally, I will feel like an asshole if I ever get a super awesome movie and don't give it to him. So far, go flock to his site and adore him like I now do.
-Here's why I love this movie, it's so many things. It's a comedy, and a road movie, and an existential drama, and a love story, and a thriller, and a musical, and it's very, very French. The music starts and stops at an abrupt random, it's structured very much like a scrapbook, a collage, scene transitions of exchanges spoken between the two main characters, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Marianna (Anna Karina, whose name reminds me of the Leo Tolstoy novel of a similar name). They, and once others, occasionally address the camera. Either speaking directly to it in a philosophical non-sequitar, sometimes their thoughts on their respective partner. Once, they're driving, and Ferdinand turns around to say something, looking directly into the camera, and when Marianna asks him who he's talking to, he says the audience, of course. She says 'Ah', and they go on with the conversation. It's surreal, and hallucinogenic, sometimes nightmarish, a dizzying thing, frantic at times and meandering others, heartbreaking, random, jittery, self-aware. The very best I could describe it is, the simplest, is Bonnie and Clyde high on sun, life, and used college philosophy textbooks. I haven't seen any other Godard film, I don't know if this is the norm. Would someone recommend another?
-The subtitles are kind of awful. Misspelled, very fast, a difficultly white text. But I'm glad they didn't dub it...who could redo Anna Karina's whispered voice, her lovely voice, a curiously deadpan and at the same time romantic and passionate. Or Belmondo's baritone, stiff and weary and fantastic. French voices are amazingly lyrical and beautiful, I think, but their subtitles are shit.
-I wish someone would translate Karina's two books.
-Dude...what the fuck ever happened to Ferdinand's family, his kids? His wife is mentioned a few times, but you'd think he'd miss them, at least a little. They were adorable.
-Enjoy eternity, you two.
1:23 PM By Simon
See, over at Things That Don't Suck, Bryce has announced a blogothon on Christopher Nolan (duh). Starting July 11th, it all leads up to the release of Inception, which, if you be a regular reader, you know I'm a tad excited about. Not going to lose sleep over it though, ha. Ha. Ha...
Go here for more information.
Working on the Chuck v. Katharine thing (I'm trying to epic it up here, people), homework, emotiional numbness, homicidal urges...et cetera.
See you Friday.
3:18 PM By Simon
Fletch of the LAMB advertises an awesome vampire satire. In case embededness brings you to that equally awesome baby-landlord video, here's a direct link:
6:29 PM By Simon
No, I do not mean the delightfully Narmful musical satrring a young Christian Bale, I mean the news of the day! You idiots!
Marilyn Manson and lady friend Evan Rachel Wood are set to star in 'Splatter Sisters', a throwback to 80s horror. Because, Manson, your other film projects have just gotten along swimingly (see). Anyway, it involves David Gordon Green, with nothing but lavish praise for his two stars, so, kay, we'll give it a shot.
Ewan McGregor takes former-Johnny Depp role of 21st century ad exec sent back to Don Quixote's time in the eponymous, long-gestating movie from Terry Gilliam. So, alright.
A live-action 'reworking' (ahem) of Cinderella is in the works, from the writer of The Devil Wears Prada (which is also, apparently, a crappy screamo band). Huh.
So Armando Iannucci, writer, director, and producer of my film-love In The Loop, is back, with an unelaborated film called 'Out the Window', the 'slapstick comedy' to Loop's screwball(ness). Yay.
Zoe Saldana, one-woman blockbuster/blowshitup lady, is starring in 'Columbiana', about a cold-blooded assassin who secretly seeks out the men who gunned down her parents in front of her as a child. Always with the Freudian excuse. Can't a chick just be badass, without having some kind of emotional plunderin'? Honestly.
Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Pullman, and Maria Bello are all for action comedy/caper/road flick/whatever 'Wild Oats'.
'Coronet', a romantic thriller or something, now stars Ralph Fiennes and whatsherface, chick from Quantum of Solace.
Cameron Crow might be getting Terrence Howard as Marvin Gaye, putting his legendary-man-biopic quota up to two upcoming.
Mark Hamill adapting own graphic novel.
Adrien Brody is joing Woody Allen's new flick, 'Midnight in Paris', apparently a very flamboyant role.
And, finally, Bruce Willis joining Rian Johnson's 'Looper', as older Joseph Gordon-Levitt. So...what?
Spoilers (because this is the internet)
Okay, here are the conclusions I can jump to, based off the ending of this movie:
1b) Benny is a sociopath, and grassed his parents as a sick middle finger to them--they go to all these lengths to cover up the murder of the girl, and meanwhile, he is indifferent to the whole procedure. Then, as soon as they settle back into some semblance of a tranquil routine, he goes and tells the cops the whole thing, especially their role in it. His formal 'sorry' to them in the hallway is the final stake.
1b) They both smile a bit, wondering what the fuck just happened, either cracking under the pressure of the whole deal, or remaining oblivious.
2a) Benny didn't think he did anything wrong, and that his parents were the criminals. Because, when you think about it, he never actually lied, or covered up anything. His parents never ask him about what he did that afternoon, and two days later, he shows them the tape, no coercion, no questioning, nothing. He just turns off the news and pops in the tape. After that, Georg and Anna are lying to the teacher, plotting the coverup, all of that. He listens to their conversation with his door open, and in his twisted mind, he is, in fact, reporting the real criminals, the ones pretending to work in his interest, but really, just want to protect their reputations.
2b) Why did he go off on his friend in the computer class, then? An act of agression/rebellion, or a calculated move to set the whole deal in motion?
3) The entire movie is a comment on what society does to us, Da Children, The Future, the ones everybody worries for, frets for, uses for their own political/religious/social causes, the Excuse. A look at the enablers, the parents who say they act in his interest. Think: in the beginning, they encourage the sister's morally questionable pyramid scheme, even contemplating their own at the end. They leave Benny mostly to himself and his videos, a shut-in, and expect him to be just an upright citizen afterwards? After he kills the girl, he is aware of what he's done, yet they react like he's a victim, but of what?, and they cover up for him. Hanake, you dog.
4) I like to think Paul from the original Funny Games, also played awesomely by Arno Frisch, is Benny as a few years up. No relation, probably, to Ulrich Muhe's Georg, even though they do have the same name. Or maybe it is. Amnesia could be involved.
5) We get, Hanake. Voyeurism is bad, TV is bad, glorification of violence is bad. And yet you encourage it with these, more violent than anything else you criticize. Way to go, champ.
6) I kid. I see your point. Go ahead and mock the compliant suburban couple that hover the screen of all your films, played by different people, but the same in maybe every way. He just kind of likes writing the same couple, maybe, and thinking to himself 'And what would they do if this bad thing happened?', and rolling with it. Not a bad strategy, I must admit.
7) The Mighty Ulrich Muhe. He is missed.
8) That poor, poor girl. She had a picture of a cat or something in her wallet. Way to give her personality. Can you not just make her a stock murder victim? Damn.
9) What be your thoughts on the ending?
EDIT: 10) Or, it could be mild critique of capitalism. For example, the scene where money is being exchanged during a choir practice, and only closeups of hands are seen. If you were so inclined to think such.
11) Benny ratted his parents to see 'what it felt like'.
12) The first thing his parents did upon finding out was ask if anyone saw. He might've realized that, if nobody knew what he had done, it invalidates it. The whole point of it, I think, was to feel something, and if the act is lost to the ages or whatever, the feeling of the kill, and soon the memory, will wane. He might just be keeping it fresh.
1:06 PM By Simon
Holy. Shit. I literally cannot stand the anticipation, and I hold no trace of irony or sarcasm in that statement. I don't look forward to my birthday like I'm looking forward to this movie.
A sci-fi apocalyptic tale centered around the sexual awakening of a bunch of ridiculously pretty college students. Gregg Araki, from what I hear, takes his newfound filmmaking maturity, combines it with his roots from back in the nineties, and creates a geniusly trippy thing.
Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody teaming up to create an awesome half-human creature that grows up and eats people? Uh, yay.
4) The Kids Are All Right
That cast, that trailer, that not-as-annoying-as-I-though-it'd-be artificial insemanations trend. Only bastards and Glenn Beck could resist such quirkiness.
Yes, I know it stars Topher Grace and Adrien Brody trying to be badass. But shooty things! Explody things! Let me have my fun, assholes.
6) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Edgar Wright adapting what I imagine must be the greatest graphic novel series ever made (based off the two pages I read online, because I have no money and my library is an asshole), starring dozens of really cool people being awesome, comic book words flying around, adorable blue-haired people. You are either emotionally numb or dead to not be pissing yourself for this.
Lindsay Lohan's triumphant comeback? Certainly not. Danny Trejo finally getting a starring vehicle? Hells yeah.
8) Adjustment Bureau
If only for the Bureau agents in those snappy fedoras.
9) Easy A
There you go.
10) Due Date
Zach Galifinakis (I spelled that all on my own! No copy-and-pasting!) and Robert Downey Jr. should make a fun pair, ay.
11) The Social Network
Eh, David Fincher is amazing, and Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, and Max Minghella are all on my stern "Look out for, they so preeeeetttttyyyyy..." list (which I totally have, and you should too). The leads are rather meh (Note: this is the last time I shall use that obnoxious word), but an intriguing concept, and Fincher always surprises with how interesting he can make something.
12) Morning Glory
A tale of two news anchors who hate each other, an aspiring producer trying to wrangle them. Starring the likes of Rachel McAdams, Jeff Goldblum, Diane Keaton, and Harrison Ford. Yeah.
13) Love and Other Drugs
14) Gulliver's Travels
Jason Segel, bitches.
15) True Grit
Coen Brothers never fail.
12:13 PM By Simon
Yes, you, readers, with your blogrolls and analysis of Stanley Kubrick and bragging of film festivals, you draw me away from my studies! If I fail and become a janitor to the stars, it'll be your fault! Yours'!
A rough draft for an analysis of Romeo & Juliet, on the topics of insanity, hatred, and character complexity.
Extra credit for French, which I need, since I failed the last test.
A French quiz on Monday.
A collage on the 1920s for History, as well as an extra credit worth sixty points on the next test (see, budget is firing teachers who's classes are failing, so lots of extra credit lately).
Why do they demote the good ones to second-string wrter positions?
8:13 PM By Simon
--First off, and I believe I've mentioned this once or twice: I fucking hate dubbing. I don't care how much easier it is than subtitles. It sounds awful. I can't concentrate on performances, if it's a peformance film, when the dialogue a) doesn't match up with the lips and b) is either hlf-hearted, disinterested, and/or ridiculously bad. I hate you, whoever came up with that brilliant idea. I hate your rotten guts. Just give the goddamn thing subtitles, save a few bucks on whichever LA hooker you picked up to read the script aloud.
--That being said, this movie scared the shit out of me. That's a rare commodity, seeing as how most scary movies have either been spoiled to me by the internet and/or notoriety. But I purposely avoided writings on this movie, nay, all Argento movies. I've been saving myself, if you will.
--Greatest death scene ever: Pam getting stabbed and hung through a glass ceiling, her friend getting tore up by the debris. Awesome.
--The soundtrack's kinda awesome.
--Was Mark in on it? Did Albert go the way of the rest of them?
4:19 PM By Simon
We all know what's coming. Pretty soon, the stuff of Romero nightmares will become waking life. The dead shall overpopulate Davy Jones' Locker, crawl up what I imagine must be a fire men's pole going up to Canada, and take over the planet, feasting to their hearts' delight on our tender American flesh.
But if movies have taught me anything--and, that is, everything--then I can tell you one thing: provided I don't get my wee heart ripped out by Zombie Jesus and the Beast Feast (the zombies, I feel, would be less intimidating if we gave them lame death metal band names), I won't mind one bit. Here's why:
1) Free Shit
Dude. When have you watched a zombie movie and thought, "Gee, they must be starving". Never. Because fiscal responsibility is not an issue in post-Zombie America. Gone are the blase Reagan ideologies of 'working for something'. No, you want that fucking gumball machine? You go right ahead and take it, because who's gonna stop you? God's judging wrath? Which brings us into...
Yes, latent sociopaths. In my Zombie America, gone will be the days of legal repercussions for decapitating someone. And why? They're already dead! And they were coming at you! Self-defense! And I didn't forget about you, morally upright citizens! Because, thank yourgod, these aren't real people! They're walking corpses! You get a free card to kill anyone that annoys you, all because you thought they were a zombie. At worst, you'll be guilty of corpse depracation, which is, y'know, nothing, in the grand scheme of things.
3) Excuse to be badass
Seriously, all you have to do is pick up a bloody ax and a machine guy, take out a couple of zombies, and get fucking laid by whichever girl in your party of survivors is most likely to get bitten ironically. I assure you.
9:04 AM By Simon
I might or might not do this again, but I feel like dissecting a scene from the aforementioned 1996 flick. This is, as always, with the help of my trusty screencapture and zero knowledge on editing. Note: This is not shot-for-shot. Just the good parts.
Romeo + Juliet: Together at Last (official DVD scene title, okay?)
Romeo bursts into the church, gun a-swingin', and acts all grievous and whatnot.
After catching his breath, he opens the doors and peeks through, and for some reason, this reminds me of This Boy's Life.
What he sees? A church so tacky it's beautiful.
At the center, decorated in more candles than the Michael Jackson wake, is Juliet. Who's dead.
Romeo walks up, looks down, and takes a moment to look like a girl.
Cuddles up next to his dead lova, girls out some more. Aw, I kid, it's actually quite sad.
Rips his wedding ring, which he wore on a necklace for some reason, and shoves it onto Juliet's finger. Which is, y'know, quite inconsiderate, considering she's...dead. Yes. Dead.
This is necrophilia. Make a note of it.
She looks up adoringly at her husband, who happens to to turned away. Preparing a bouquet of flowers, perhaps. All is going according to plan.
What's this, then?
He turns, sees her awake, looks panicked and horrified, but I was too slow to pause. Juliet looks up, equally horrified, but also very confused. Obviously, she wants to know where her flowers are.
Romeo starts twitching his dying twitches, and Juliet cradles him, still probably 'wtf'ing in her head.
Notices vial and lack of flowers, face contorts in grief.
Of course, he wants to know what she's doing crying and not being dead.
(there was some dialogue up until now, mostly a combination of his and her final speeches, tweeked to be appropriate for the scene)
She sobs, and now I feel bad.
Rack focus on over to the gun he had been clutching in his hand, but is now abandoned, just begging to be used.
She cocks it, abandoning all notions of life going the fuck on.
This is either horrible or brilliant acting on Claire Danes' part, that blank face.
Music swells up, we get a brief montage of their time together (you know, those whole four days), as the camera dollies up and over.
The scene ends with a still of their kiss in the pool, after declaring their love for each other.
Damn you, Luhrmann. Why do you have to end everything like that?
What I like what he did with this scene is, some will afgue against this, but he took out both Balthasar hiding outside, Friar Lawrence's showing up just as Romeo dies, the search parties, Paris being killed, all of that, and adds to it so that Romeo and Juliet see and talk to each other briefly before he dies. In the play, and a bit in the original movie, all of these things together gave the scene a frantic, chaotic feel. You got the sense that both of them were killing themselves out of confusion rather than passion, especially Juliet, who wakes up to find Romeo and Paris dead, and Friar Lawrence trying to get her to a nunnery, before flighting off to avoid the search party. Here, it's very tranquil. Everything is cut to the bare minimum: Romeo comes to kill himself. Here, after he dies, Juliet, with no Friar Lawrence, with no yelling from outside, just her and her dead husband, looks completely dead. That is, as I pointed out, she could either be emotionally numb at this point, or Claire Danes could've fucked it up. But I will lean towards the former for argument's sake. You get the sense that, if someone did drag her out of the tomb just then, locked her in a room for twenty years with no deadly objects, and let her out again, she'd do the exact same thing.
I think of Shakespeare's play as a cautionary tale against young love, because he added every aspect, I think, to make theirs look as unrational, maybe even as farcical, as possible. Here, Luhrmann changes it into what everyone else sees it as, the greatest love story ever told, with a few mise-en-scene tweaks. So, y'know, good for him.