Friday, January 29, 2010 7:46 PM By Simon , In , ,

I loved this show, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. No matter how much the parental unit and the sister mocked, I stayed home every Friday to watch (and, previously, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, it's deceased bumper buddy) the increasingly complicated unfolding of the narrative.

Okay, the first season was largely shit (especially the backup-singer turdpile of an episode), and Eliza Dushku can't act for shit, especially later, when she was supposed to be this wise, intelligent superhuman (her acting here consisted of forced laid-back-smart voices and half-closed eyes), but goddammit, it was good in the second season, when Joss Whedon realized the cast he had to work.


This very last season was some of the best network television I've ever seen in my short widdle life. I could go on and on, doing whole synopsis of every episode, but I'm muchtoo lazy for that. Instead, I bring to your attention the gin-soaked one-liners of late-period Olivia Williams-as-Adelle DeWitt, sometimes-evil manager of the (LA, we find out) Dollhouse, the adorableness of wiped-state Enver Gjokaj and Dichen Lachman-as-Victor and Sierra, and the two-episode nerdgasm million of geeks had when Summer Glau stopped by as a tech genius/love interest of Topher, played by Fran Kranz. Or the (SERIOUSLY, HERE BE THE SPOILERS, RUN AWAY FEEBLE MINDS) crushing feeling in their collective chests when sleeper-Doll Amy Acker-as-Whiskey/Dr.Saunders/soon-to-be Clyde 2.0 shoots Glau's Bennet Halverson in front of poor Topher, who goes slightly insane. I could rave about Gjokaj's amazing Topher impersonation, which is dead on, and this guy should be in other places. I could scream at you to watch the two Epitaphs, One and Two: The Return, which are so mind-blowingly awesome I want to make it like that unpublished JD Salinger story, where you have to have two seperate IDs and sit behind a special door while a guard stands by. that's how awesome it is. I won't go so far as to spoil Epitaph 2, as it aired not three hours ago, but motherfuckers, get on it. But I will spoil that Harry Lennix's Boyd Langton was the bad guy all along, and that Topher wipes him and Echo blows him up, but it turns out to be a shitty idea, in retrospect, 10 years later.

With Whedon, though, when he gets cancelled, he doesn't cancel any storylines. He accelerates them to begin and end in one episode (or feature-length movie named Serenity), and that could be a problem. They could've justified the Boyd thing more, etc, etc. But they did get more time that Fox would've let anyone else have, and for that, I forgive them. Slightly. And it peaves me that Whedon kills everyone all the fucking time.

But otherwise, let us mourn...and if you don't see what the big deal is...well...I have nothing to say to you, sirs.

Happy weekends!

PS What am I gonna do with my Fridays now? Make friends?


4:50 PM By Simon

Well, my many, many readers, I started out today in a bad mood. Downright sour. I peg it for an early-onset existential crisis, in which I question my existence, my purpose, and do my own version of dying my hair black and reading My Chemical Romance linear notes. To top off, my new Film and Video class has been tasked with creating our own Thaumatropes (Google it), I have a project due next Friday, a paper due Monday, I didn't have the five dollars it would've taken to buy my very own copies of Raising Arizona (classic Nicholas Cage, aka the only good kind) and Young Frankenstein, and I am forced to choose between Broken Embraces and A Single Man this weekend. And I've yet to see Whip It! Oh, me and my suburban woes.

But all is well now! For I have acquired the eponymous swag from my local library, which is usually as movie-stocked as a woodshop cabinet (tough tiddlyshits, sir, if you don't get that. If I can't understand my analogies, neither can you.) Well, technically it's not swag, just a couple of loaned DVDs, but shut up, give me my moment.

I will...surely speak of them shortly.

The first ever porno...

12:28 PM By Simon

In 3D!


Wall Street 2 has a surprisingly epic trailer!

Hot Tub Time Machine has a poster!

John C. Reilly set for We Need To Talk About Kevin!

Sarah Polley to make sophomore directorial effort! With Seth Rogan! And Michelle Williams!

Daniel Bruhl in Castro's Daughter! Hazzah!

I read Amnesia Moon! It's awesome! I'm so confused!

Sundance continues to inspire anger and despair over me! Fuck you, Sundance!

Happy birthday, Tom Selleck! And a special happy birthday, Tom Selleck's mustache!

Katie Featherston of Paranormal Activity might be in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours! With James Franco!

Daniel Craig! In! Cowboys! And Aliens!

Et! Cetera!

Oh, I'm so bored lately...

Shit on my mind.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 4:00 PM By Simon , In , , ,

Zelda Rubenstein is dead. NOOOO!



That's right, the studio that brought you Reservoir Dogs, Velvet Goldmine , and Kill Bill has been shut. Down. And the studio that brought you The Proposal is allowed to live on and give us awful Kristen Bell vehicles? He certainly is a tricky god, isn't he?


Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World has a release date!

The Runaways has a suprisingly awesome poster!

Micmacs playing at Sundance!

Hesher playing at Sundance!


Nikita is heading to TV! Again!

Kick-Ass Coming!

Pictures for The Way Back!

Repo Chick trailer out! Why, ALex Cox!?!

What up with the upcoming insurgence of little-girl-killers movies!?! Hanna!?! That other one who's name I forget!?!


Hot Tub Time Machine!

Surprisingly adorable trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Which got me through fourth grade!

Well, that was fun.

My hero...

3:05 PM By Simon , In

Theodore Roosevelt. His mustache could kick your ass.

The Oblivion Society by Marcus Alexander Hart

2:56 PM By Simon , In ,

What would you do if you slept through the apocalypse? What if everything you knew about disaster survival came from old B-movies? What would you do if society as you know it suddenly became The Oblivion Society?

After an accidental nuclear war reduces civilization to a smoldering ruin, grocery clerk Vivian Gray joins a comically inept bunch of twentysomething survivors, and together they try to ride out Armageddon on little more than scavenged junk food and half-remembered pop culture.

When the contaminated atmosphere unleashes a menagerie of deadly atomic mutants, Vivian and her friends take to the interstate for a madcap cross-country road trip toward a distant sanctuary that may not, in the strictest sense of the word, exist. But can they get to safety before the toxins get to them?

What, my intimate chums, does one say about a book they've longed--nay, pined--for since it's publishing way back when? What would you expect me to say? That I was disappointed? Let down? Crushed?

My, my, if it's any of those things, you are one nihilistic bunch. In fact, this was one of the few times where months of anticipation did not waver my love of the final product (the other being Inglorious Basterds).

Let's sum up. After the great microwave malfunction in the sky hits just a few months short of the real Y2K, Vivian Oblivion, her theoretical Mad Max name which I like much better, wakes up in a military-grade humvee, and stumbles around until she finds her travel companions: Bobby, her fat, nerdboy twin brother, Erik, his 80s-obsessed best friend, Sherri, scary former coworker of Vivian, and sex-obsessed, wannabe-stud (and not in the endearing way) jock Trent. They make their way across America, in search of civilization.

Holy shit, this was funny. It was a bit more grim than the publisher lets on, but the apocolypse does that. From the very first chapter, a prologue explaining the ridiculous series of events that leads up to the end of the world. As they go on through the wasteland that was the US, they don't initially seem interested in doing anything but exchanging obscure pop culture references and trying to get laid.

So, okay, not all of them. Just Sherri, after a certain development in the middle, and Trent, the entire thing. Trent, by the way, is the closest to an actual antagonist in the book. I hated this dude so fucking much. He talks like the child of a 70s blaxploitation flick and an old The Ladies Man sketch, and everytime they were in danger, I was hoping he would get torn apart by rabid, mutated rats the size of a dog (well, yeah, there were those too.)

Besides him, I loved these characters. As the sister will no doubt tell you, there are two types of characters: ones that everybody says is smart, but never actually demonstrate why, and the type who everybody dismisses as dull, and then reveals themselves to be the smartest person in the room. Vivian is the latter, going from sarcastic supermarket boxer to smartest person left alive in one night. All the other characters start out as comic relief, then slowly flesh out.

My one complaint? They just had to put in a love story. I know, Hart's other books are heavy on that shit, but dude.

Oh, well. I could go on about plot, spoilers, whatever, but I think that's sufficient for my first full-length book review.

More Movie-Music Moments! The Anticipation!

Monday, January 25, 2010 6:35 PM By Simon , In ,

I love alliteration...

I've happened upon two more musical moments in movies. So, here we go:


Actors of varying fame, age, and talent (all very good in this, by the way), singing to the song "Wise Up" by someone who's name I forget. Or more like half-heartedly lip-synching. It makes me tear up, fellas.


I feel shame for forgetting this in the first place. Justin Timberlake's Pilot Aberline, in a drug-a-trippin'ly random moment in an already brilliantly bizarre and disastrous sophomore effort by Donnie Darko(fine, Richard Kelly), lip-synces to The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done", particularly the catchy quasi-chorus.


Monday, January 18, 2010 3:22 PM By Simon , In , , ,

So, we all know that the Golden Globes is maybe a little better than, say, the People's Choice Awards. They pick their nominees by flipping through the nearest Best/Worst of the Year list, and giving it to whoever had the biggest box office, throwing a mercy nomination to some critical darlings or Oscar regulars. And they know it. The nominees know it, the presenters know it, the audience, the cameramen know it, the catering knows it. That's why the tables are set up as a sea one must climb over, why most of the established actors don't even care when they win, why the cameras are slow to find the nominees as they are announced. Nobody gives a shit. Because we all know it's more biased than any other major awards show, more than the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Tonys, and all the other ones who get a network-TV time slot. Except, of course, the People's Choice Awards.

I hate the fucking Golden Globes. They make me angrier than square cheesburgers.

Which is why I'm disappointed in myself that I acknowledge this at all. But I must. Because this is a blog, that nobody reads, and I'm fucking angry all the same, enough to rant and rave about this instead of post an audio of Patton Oswalt telling us why everybody hates Jay Leno (but there's a whole different plain). It is why I rant instead of study for the spoken section of my French midterm, which is tomorrow because I don't fucking know.


#1: The Pre-Show
I watched the E! red carpet, my most loathed. This is because E! is a cesspool for every washed-up whoever when VH1 and MTV don't want them. Or the other way around. They give endless hours of TV coverage and E! True Hollywood Stories to asshole rich people. And they, like the Globes, fucking know it. They just don't care. They sing the praises of whoever they're talking to, how gorgeous they look or whatever, being sure to spend half an hour talking about their dresses and tuxes and socks know what? All of that would be bearable, if not for something they call the Glam Cam or they really need fifty cameras all pointed at one person in a shiny dress? Do they?

#2: The Show
Which was a mess. As mentioned above, the camera men were likely taking full advantage of the free drinks, because they were every which way, didn't know where anyone was half the time. The caterers, who I can only imagine having a passive-aggressive grudge against someone signing their checks, because the tables were edge-to-edge, every direction. The winners had to practiucally link arms and climb over the elevated second-floor that was the seating arrangements. Ricky Gervais, for all the hype, wasn't given anything to do for more than a minute at the time. He was very funny, as he always is, but constantly shooed away so that the dysfunctioning Avatars of Nicole Kidman and Harrison Ford could introduce various movies that everyone's heard of already. Some were funny, but...I just can't remember them. I've tried, can't. I can only remember thinking "Don't let Mickey Rourke on live TV!" and "Holy shit, I hate that Black Eyed Peas song played over this Valentine's Day trailer". What's Cameron Diaz doing here? What?Neil Patrick Harris and Kristen Chenowith (was that her? I forget. Alright, whoever) were adorable, at least. Clin Ferrall and Mel Gibson suitably self-depracating. Chloe Sevigny was kind of funny getting tripped over by someone, and I guess she's good in "Big Love". James Cameron, from the looks on the audience, was universally despised (I haven't seen Avatar, but The Sister has. Even she says it didn't deserve jack shit. Well, not to win, anyway). He was kind of funny, in his constant bathroom obsession, but still, he spoke the language he made up for the movie. Fluently.

#3: The Awards
Best Motion Picture — Drama
Avatar – Winner
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Up in the Air
-Everyone looked so fucking pissed. All of these movies, Basterds and Up in the Air and the ones I haven't seen, you have to with Avatar? I hate you, Globes. I really do.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side – Winner
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sadibe, Precious
-Whyyyyyyyyy? Carey Mulligan and Babourey Sadibe and Helen Mirren, even Emily Blunt, you have to throw one at Sandra Bullock? Well, at least she acknowledged she didn't deserve it (at least not as much as everyone else). She's slightly growing on me, but come-the-fuck-on.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart – Winner
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers
-I hope Jeff Bridges wins an Oscar. I just like him. George Clooney playing himself, Tobey Maguire looking and acting creepy, okay, don't know shit about anyone else.

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
(500) Days of Summer
The Hangover – Winner
It’s Complicated
Julie & Julia
-The Hangover. Christ. Funny? Yes. But Best Picture?

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Meryl Streep, It’s Complicated
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia – Winner
Julia Roberts, Duplicity
-Weirdest crew of nominees I've ever seen. Marion Cotillard was my favorite, but Meryl Streep was delightful in Julie and Julia, but I've always found it tacky when people got nominated the same year, in the same category. Also, I was forced by lack of computer/good book to watch The Proposal on a plane. It is among my least favorite thing of all time, ever. Seconded only by people bringing this horrible movie back into our minds for Sandra fucking Bullock. If you must nominate the movie, nominate Ryan Reynolds. Didn't think anyone even remembered Duplicity , but I vaguely remember walking out and Sister Darling saying she could see Clive Owen and Roberts getting some Globe action. So, you know, good on her.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Matt Damon, The Informant
Daniel Day Lewis, Nine
Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes – Winner
Joseph Gordon Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man
-What. The. Fuck.
Not to say that he wasn't good. And his acceptance speech was funny. But is that the only reason they let him win? I thought it was just a mercy throw, or a publicity stunt, to nominate him in the first place. But over Michael Stuhlbarg (one in a series of late bloomers in this awards season), Matt Damon, my precious Joseph Gordon-Levitt...I was sure they were gonna give it to Daniel Day-Lewis (out of habit). But Robert Downey Jr.? This is the only category where I've seen all the movies, so I can vouch with quasi-confidence that this is the biggest bone ever thrown at a mainstream public. It's like they never look past box offic scores and reviews by Ben Lions. In the process of writing this, I've gone from annoyed to outrage. Dammit!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mo'Nique, Precious – Winner
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Penelope Cruz, Nine
-Yeah. Sure. None of these really spark strong opinions. Julianne Moore, again, just seems like a habit. The Up in the Air lady people were alright. Penelope Cruz...okay. Why not?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon, Invictus
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Christopher Waltz, Inglorious Basterds – Winner
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Except, The Last Station is about Leo Tolstoy. Played by Christopher Plummer. What, in any stretch of the imagination, makes him a supporting actor? I haven't seen it, so who knows...he could be playing second fidle to James McAvoy or Paul Giamatti. But, if Helen Mirren is Best Actress, is it really about her? God, I'm gonna lose sleep unless I see this movie.

Best Animated Feature Film
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
The Princess and the Frog
Up – Winner
-All of these are big buckets of adorable, and I'd feel bad criticizing any.

Best Foreign Language Film
Broken Embraces
A Prophet
The White Ribbon – Winner
The Maid
-I have seen exactly zero of these, though not for trying. Broken Embraces is playing at our local quasi-arthouse, but The Parent or Guardian refuses.
Best Director — Motion Picture
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar – Winner
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds
-What the fuck? Avatar, which, as far as I can tell, was animated blue people and Tentacle Rape online porn adapted for the big screen. What's direction got to do with it? Hurt Locker seems to be the runner up, but I wish Tarantino got it. Only he could rewrite history and get away with it, and besides, that movie is my new video bible. Also, Eastwood seems like he's getting nominated out of habit.

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture
Up in the Air – Winner
It’s Complicated
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
-How in holy hell did In The Loop not get this? In all honesty, I didn't think Up in the Air was any great shakes, but I guess the screenplay was alright. They should seperate this into "original" and "adapted" like everyone else. But at least no Avatar.

Best Original Score — Motion Picture
Michael Giacchino, Up – Winner
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant
James Horner, Avatar
Abel Krozeniowski, A Single Man
Karen O. and Carter Burwell, Where the Wild Things Are
-I got nothing.

Best Original Song — Motion Picture
“I Will See You,” Avatar
“The Weary Kind,” The Crazy Heart – Winner
“Winter,” Brothers
“Cinema Italiano,” Nine
“I Want to Come Home,” Everybody’s Fine

-"The Weary Kind" is good, but I'm more pissy about "Cinema Italiano" making the list at all.

I drifted in and out of the TV awards, but I know the Grey Gardens took so long to wrestle up to the stage, they were hurried off by the swelling music, and I know that I hate Simon Baker with every fiber in my body, and I wish James Roday would get something for once, and I kinda wanted the dude from Lost, which I don't watch, to win, just because he's so...classy.
Okay. I'm done.

The Eyre Affair by Jaspar Fforde

Sunday, January 17, 2010 1:26 PM By Simon , In ,

In Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde's ingenious fantasy-enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel--unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix.

If you are my sister, you would love living in this book. Or, for that matter, if you have certain obsession with any pre-20th century literature, you'd want to make your own Prose Portal. Yay stupid in-jokes!

To cover what the above summary doesn't, this is a world where the arts are Serious Business. There are several federations dedicated to Charlotte Bronte, whole gang wars are waged between Contemporary art-lovers, and Surrealists, changing one's name to that of your favorite writer is so common they must be numbered (after a court case where the defendant, victim, arresting officer, witness, landlord, and judge were all named Alfred Tennyson), and our protaganist's uncle has invented both literal Bookworms, Will-Speak machines (to get your daily fix of Shakespeare for just ten pence) sit on every corner and a thing called the Prose Portal, where people can go hop in-and-out of their favorite books, stories, and poems.

Here, there also exists a villian so evil and powerful, you can't even say his name out loud, as he can hear it from 100 feet away. Bullets don't affect him, he can take on the appearence of anyone, and he can manipulate people into killing themselves without giving it a second thought. He is, probably, the Bad Guy to end all Bad Guys. After stealing the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit, kidnapping Thursday's uncle Mycroft and his machine, he plucks out the minor character of Mr. Quaverly, and murders him. And, because the text he stole was original, the character disappears from every copy in existence.

This book, with it's sprawling mythology (explained in snippets of in-universe literature at the beginning of each character), is slightly more interesting than the story itself. With the passing references to fantastic alternate-historical events, and the secondary political story involving the still-waging Crimean War (for those of you not brushed up on your history, it was between the British Empire, and the Russian Empire (who, here, still has a czar), with the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia on Britain's team, that was fought for 3 years beginning in 1853), particularly a battle that Thursday fought in, and where her brother died. So, you know, there's some angstin' over that.

Some of the melodrama surrounding this particular plot device is forgivable by the shear wit dripping from every sentence. The way Fforde describes the various units of SpecOps--Special Operations--where everything under 13 is classified, the door-to-door Baconians (people who insist Francis Bacon wrote Shakepeare's plays), the interactive performances of Hamlet akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show , you can tell he knows his shit, and could go on for pages just describing every aspect of this universe. I could go on for hours describing what he did put down.

Problems? Sure. The characters can get annoyingly preachy about this-and-that, mostly over the Crimean war. It spends pages trying to get to the point. Et cetera. But it more than compensates with it's imagery, the mind-fucks it plays with you (especially concerning Shakespeare and time travel). This is the first in a series, and I think it'll get better and more bizarre as it goes on.

Le fait de pratiquer le français

Saturday, January 16, 2010 7:48 PM By Simon , In

D'accord, si techniquement, j'utilise un traducteur en ligne (un shitty un, à propos), mais vois la structure des sentences et l'étagère m'aide à se souvenir d'eux. Ainsi personne l'écoute, la merde résistante et une bonne journée à vous.

Je viens de voir le Livre d'Eli, ai été sur une semi-cintreuse de Luc Besson du Professionnel, étoilé Gary Oldman brillamment exagéré, petite Natalie Portman triste-regardée et Jean Réaucun anglais trébuchant, mais c'est la cause pas male qu'il est juste ainsi hugable, Et La Femme Nikita (qui est le français! Regardez-moi, en faisant les études si durement!), qui était tout à fait bon et l'action-y et n'a pas mérité film "de traitement de nouvelle version et série de télé" il a été fait subir à. Plus de Jean Reno dans cela, en jouant fondamentalement un plus insensé, crueller la version de son Leon dans le Professionnel (pour trouver ce film, à propos, je n'ai dû chercher Leon le Professionnel, parce que, en allant par les deux noms, personne la base de données ne peut sembler être d'accord). Je parlerai plus d'eux après midterms.
Bien, adios, mon compadres parlant français. Au reste, les petits pains de con et le fromage frais, je ne peux pas faire tout le travail pour vous.

À propos, mes autres offres de bibliothèque sont : Sept Samurai, le Danseur dans l'obscurité et le Frighteners.

Aussi, TBC sur le Livre d'Eli.

Good-fucking-day, to you.

While I'm Gone...

Thursday, January 14, 2010 3:47 PM By Simon , In

Here are movies I demand you educate yourself on before I come back (and bring friends!)


LUNAR PARK by Bret Easton Ellis

The best, scariest, meta-ist, funniest book I've ever read. It helps to be at least a little aware of his other books (American Psycho, Rules of Attraction, Less Than Zero)


since I'm pretty sure anyone reading this is directly trafficked from Sister's blog, you should appreciate this. Among other awesomeness in an alternate 198something, characters from books can be kidnapped from the original manuscripts, which will change ever copy in print to fit it. Remember Mr. Quaverly from Martin Chuzzlewit? I didn't think so.

THE LIAR by Stephen Fry

I'm talking about them in some time. Off to midterms, which I will fail.

Zombie Movies! Huzzah!

3:01 PM By Simon , In

Here be movies you might not have seen, or I just want to post pictures of.

Woody Harrelson was shortlisted for my Best Musical Moments list. I don't know where it is, but the minute I find it, my ones of fans will be the first to see it!


Criminally underseen, currently for free OnDemand. So you richfolk have no excuse. Funny and awesome and whatnot.


So, technically, I haven't seen it yet, and technically, it's not a zombie movie, but it's close enough (they cure themselves of epidemic by not saying 'zombie' once), and I will see it soon.

NOW, ones of tens, can you guess what zombie still is from where?

Enjoy these, because I have midterms and won't be around for awhile. Not that anyone cares, because this is, like, my fifth post.




The Killers: 1946 or 1964?

12:28 PM By Simon , In

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.



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.


Brief Thoughts on Recent Events

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 5:11 PM By Simon , In ,

Midterms suck panda dong. There, I said it.

I am so fucking excited for Inception I can't even stand it. Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cillian Murphy in the same movie? My god, the shear amount of pretty would set the screen up in flames, Inglorious Basterds style!

(How good was that movie?)

I have recently watched a trifecta of awesomeness in the form of Anna Faris-starring, Gregg Araki's Smiley Face (he made The Doom Generation and Mysterious Skin, the latter starring one of the Pretty People above, which you should know if you're worth the price of your internet connection. Unless you are in a Starbucks. I which case, I hate you. Go back to your screenplay), Point Blank (starring Lee Marvin and the eh Angie Dickinson, at least trying not to be all shrieky-useless, and getting a nice little breakdown scene near the end), and 24-Hour Party People (Steve Coogan in a quasi-biopic about Tony Wilson, founder of the Factory, non-Warhol edition. I say 'quasi' because he's really more of a minor character, by his own admission. It's remaining 2/3 consist of a Joy Division/New Order biopic, and the Hey Mondays). I might get around to reviewing them, perhaps. Or not. Enjoy pretty covers.

I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance (or a list of best non-musical dance sequences)

Monday, January 11, 2010 1:28 PM By Simon

I love movies. Especially ones that have people breaking out into a single impromptu dance number. Or at least do something interesting to the sound of Huey Lewis and the News. Beholdith.
(Note: I'm not explaining the plots).

1) 500 Days of Summer

Anyone who's seen this movie knows what I'm talking about. The morning after Tom, played by the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, first sleeps with Summer, played by the big bag of meh Zooey Deschanel, he skips down the street to the Hall and Oats song "You Make My Dreams", being congradulated by the giddy passerbys. It's deliriously happy, and wonderfully surreal.

2) American Psycho

This is the moment I decided Christian Bale can always be forgiven. We have Jared Leto, piss drunk on a chair, oblivious to the fact that his apartment has been stripped of furniture, while Huey Lewis and the News playing on his expensive stereo system. All the while, Patrick Bateman shuffles/dances around the apartment, slipping on a disposable raincoat and getting out a big-ass chainsaw. At the end of the scene, Bateman emerges from the other room and shouts, "Hey, Paul!"

3) Rules of Attraction

Another adaption of a Brett Easton Ellis novel, about (what else) disillusioned college kids. This scene shows Ian Somerhalder as Paul Denton and Russel Sams as Dick (not Richard) Jared, former fuck buddies who are in the city to rendevous with their respective mothers. It's, basically, them dancing on a bed to a song I forget the name of. Here.

4) Go

One in a long line of Pulp Fiction rip-offs, and the rare good one. Here, Manny, tripping on some ectasy pills acquired during an exhausting-to-explain series of events, gos with friend Ronna, played by Sarah Polley, to the supermarket they both work.

5) Stranger Than Paradise

A somewhat recurring scene in Jim Jarmusch's second film, Eva, a guy named Willie's Hungarian cousin frequently strolls around rooms and streets to a portable cassette player (oh, the eighties...) constantly playing Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell On You".

6) Pulp Fiction

There are many notable scenes in Pulp Fiction involving music, but how can you forget John Travolta's Vincent Vega and Uma Thurman's Mia Wallace twisting to "You can Never Tell".

7) Reservoir Dogs

"Stucks In the Middle With You", Mr. Blonde, an ear, and the knife that got between them. Here.

Sorry for the stupid intro, but I love a good tagline reference. Can't wait until My Son, my Son, What Have Ye Done.

P.S. title quote by Friedrich Nietzsche

in which our narrator introduces...

12:42 PM By Simon

How's it shakin'?

I can see through my special two-way webcam (say cheese) that you are all somewhat bored already. I have done nothing to entertain you thus far and it's perfectly understandable that you might want to take your business elsewhere (you bastards.)

Now what am I going to be doing on this little blog o' mine? Well, nothing really. But I'll be adorable doing it.

This was originally a creation of my dear, darling sister, who wanted to fuck around with blog templates. She has her own blog, called Opinionated? Me? , so there's an example of product placement for all you kids in the room.

I will talk about movies, because I like movies and I watch alot of movies. Also books, because I read a lot of books. And I shall talk Coded Smack about my various school chums who, believe it or not, are not actually my chums. Because that is what I like to do most of all.

So, for all you lovely schmucks out there who actually read stupid blogs such as mine.

So...I won't be reviewing anything, per se, but I'll be commenting and whatnot.

Good god, I'm a bucket of dull, aren't I?