Monday, March 31, 2008

Turkey Shoot

I am not one to complain about the unfortunate aspects of my life. Unless something truly devastating and/or irritating comes my way, I adamantly avoid the "woe is me" song. No matter how bad things get, I’ve seen far worse times, and after all, there are people starving and dying in countless less fortunate parts of the world... blah, blah, blah...

What am I getting at? Has something terribly tragic befallen me? Alas, yes indeed it has. While I’m wonderfully excited and grateful that my writing and my film reviews are finally seeing official publication (modestly, but still), it’s beginning to wear on me that the time in which that regularly began to happen had to be THE YEAR’S WORST SEASON FOR MOVIES.

Late winter/early spring is notoriously the season in which the lowest quality motion pictures get pumped out of Hollywood. The exciting, must-see summer blockbusters have yet to arrive. All of the award-worthy titles have just ended their runs and are selling like (to quote the eloquent Heidi Klum) bagels on DVD. Video stores become a more attractive haven for cinema than multiplexes, because what’s primarily found in multiplexes in the cold-to-warm transition months is lackluster, throwaway fluff.

It is almost April, and I have seen one - count it, ONE - great movie in 2008 thus far. That would be the Irish gem In Bruges. While cute and whimsical offerings like Horton Hears a Who! and Be Kind Rewind made me smile, and the surprisingly innovative Cloverfield shook me up, I’ve had to endure far too much crap like 10,000 B.C. , Mad Money, Definitely, Maybe, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and worst of all, Will Ferrell’s disastrous Semi-Pro, of which I walked out after the first painful hour.

Contrary to popular belief, film critics - just like anyone else - long to see art projected onto the screen. While it can be fun to blast the occasional disaster, it’s an occupation that’s born from a love of the movies - the good ones. I’d much rather sing the praises of a smart and beautiful masterwork than slam yet another misfire.

I’m currently procrastinating in finishing my critique of Kimberly Pierce’s Stop-Loss, a hot-button issue picture that I found to be not only poor, but borderline offensive. At the moment, I can’t think of how to continue the piece, and the subject matter doesn’t even seem to be worth the over-activity of my brain.

Please Tinseltown, and the rest of the world, hear my plea. Start serving up more appetizing fare. I don’t know if I can take another turkey.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Get Carried Away"

Most adorably perfect tagline ever?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Insomniac Matrix Theatre

I can't sleep, and late at night is one of the few times I actually channel-surf. I flipped to A&E (which is not one of my usual stops, but since I saw an episode of the final season of The Sopranos laced with the word "freakin'", I've been giving it a look), only to find the climactic fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith from The Wachowski Brothers' first Matrix film. I try my best to ignore the many mistakes of this landmark sci-fi masterwork's sequels and just enjoy the perfection of the first installment. Below is one of my favorite scenes (and obviously many others', as YouTube had just the right clip), when Neo and Trinity mutilate the lobby of an office building, along with the staff:

Friday, March 21, 2008

What the Haneke?

I'll be attending a screening of Funny Games this afternoon, Michael "Cache'" Haneke's remake of his own sadistic thriller from 1997. So far, the movie has been generally maligned by critics, or at least that's the feeling in the air. No matter. My curiosity wins out here, and with a director and a cast this good, I'll take my chances. Also, the word is that it's deeply disturbing. We'll just see about that.

Even if the new Funny Games is atrocious, it still holds the honor of having the best trailer of any movie so far this year. I highlighted it in a previous post not so long ago. Regardless of the outcome of the film, no one can take this mini-masterpiece away from it:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Doing the Doc Proud

Dr. Seuss' timeless material is finally given the justice it deserves with Blue Sky Studios' gleeful adaptation of the existential children's book Horton Hears a Who!

Catch my review HERE.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The new issue of Film Comment Magazine (March/April 2008, Vol. 44/No. 2) features a cover story on Miss Meryl, their 2008 Gala Honoree. At this point, I'd imagine the irreplaceable actress is developing an ability to navigate these career honors with her eyes closed. Still, it seemed a perfect opportunity to continue my ongoing Streep Esteem section, which began in January with the recognition of her comedic work in She-Devil. Since Meryl will be once again working her pipes in this summer's screen adaptation of Mamma Mia!, I thought I'd take a look at another one of her musical roles: as recovering addict/actress Suzanne Vale in 1990's Postcards from the Edge.

Directed by Mike Nichols, the film marked he and Streep's third venture together, following 1983's Silkwood and 1986's Heartburn. It was adapted for the screen by Carrie "Princess Leia" Fisher from her own semi-autobiographical novel, and follows Suzanne from rehab to the often hilarious climb back up the Hollywood ladder. Shirley MacLaine is fabulous as Doris, Suzanne's diva of a mother, but it's Streep who appropriately gets the most play. Suzanne was one of Streep's less "actress-y" roles, and more of a version of herself, Ms. Fisher, and any other aspiring female star who's felt the woes of Hollywood. It would earn her her 9th of a record 14 Oscar nominations, perhaps for the fact that she belts out more than one tune before the movie ends, as well as, when the movie ends:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Love You. Come Back to Me on DVD.

I've made no secret of my affections for Atonement, a film that would have left the Best Picture race feeling mighty cold and awkward had it not received its well deserved nomination. Now, following its 6 other nominations and single win (for Dario Marianelli's brilliant score), it's been pushed up to a March 18 DVD release date. That's...this Tuesday!!! Not a bad follow-up to this week, which saw the release of last year's finest movie and appropriate Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men. While the look of Atonement's DVD packaging couldn't be more simple and plain (one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is the dumbing-down of smart and beautiful movie marketing design for the sake of cheap, home entertainment commercialism), and all worthwhile special features will likely be saved for an inevitable special edition, you can be sure I'll be purchasing it ASAP.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Busy In Bruges

Catch the trailer for the first great movie of 2008:

Then catch my review HERE.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Nothing but boring review links of late, kiddles. I guess you could say that responsibilities and an abundance of writing elsewhere have been temporarily keeping the creative bloggery juices from flowing. While I go find some Drano, click this link to enjoy my review of Roland Emmerich's absurd but cinematic 10,000 B.C. In return, I'll be back here with more fun celluloid lists and blurbs to pass the time. Right, just like how Emmerich has another Independence Day up his sleeve. Promises, promises...

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Will Ferrell's worthless new "comedy" Semi-Pro is the first movie I've walked out of in years. To catch my review of the approximately 1 hour+ I did watch, CLICK HERE. And kids, might I suggest you heed my advice: skip this one. Seriously. Your senses and sanity will thank you.