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Archive for September, 2008

Okay, I have the WORST case of writer’s block ever.   EVER.   Nothing’s coming to me.  No movies are enticing me.   Nothing is making me angry or blissfully happy.   Not even freaking Die Hard is working, and that’s saying something.  I can tell in a couple of days that unmitigated rage bubbling forth from my soul will cure this, as P.S. I Love You is currently en route to my place of habitation, but I just wrote a post about Guitar Hero and Brett Ratner, so here’s something tangentially related to movies that might take the edge off that.

I hate these damn things.   Death to VHS.

For those of you who still do the whole drive to the video store thing, you have a regular clerk or clerks who check you out, I’m sure.   (And not just in the whole, “That person has a nice rear,” sort of way, either.)    Be kind to them.   There should be an International Appreciate Your Video Store Clerk Day, I’m convinced.   And this relates to movies because I’m sure a lot of film geeks like me spent much of their time restocking five copies of Freddy Got Fingered while wondering why your defective copy of Seven Samurai hasn’t been replaced.

Either that, or I’ve totally lost you by now.

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Brett Ratner, please step forward for your whack upside the head.   The man seriously wants to make a Guitar Hero movie.

Via Dark Horizons:

“I’d really like to do it, but they’re not letting me… I expressed my interest, but because it’s such a success, it’s like now there’s no reason to make a movie about it…. The game is wish-fulfilling, everyone can be a rock star… I might prevail… I usually do.”

I keep expecting Ratner to say, “Haha!  April Fools!”

How exactly would one make a Guitar Hero movie?   As the ever astute Mr. Ratner has pointed out, the mass appeal of the video game is that everyone can be a rock star.   How do you translate that into a movie?   Would we see nothing but the instantly identifiable Guitar Hero screen for two hours?   Would we have some sort of melodramatic, overplayed showdown between two people playing plastic, battery-operated guitars?

Besides the fact that this is just the most utterly stupid thing I’ve heard in about the past four days or so, it’s Brett Ratner, he of the Rush Hour franchise and X-Men 3.   There’s no way that this movie would be good.   In Ratner’s defense, he seems to make brainless movies that kill at the box office which I have no problem with at all.  (It’s when he and guys like Michael Bay start getting all artsy and talking about their “craft” that I begin to roll my eyes and gag.)   He fills a niche.   Kudos to him for making a living at it.

Ratner’s Guitar Hero movie would probably look something like this:

Main Character:   Oh man, I finally beat Slayer on expert!   I rock!   Where’s my cute girlfriend that looks like Elisha Cuthbert so I can make out with her?

Jackie Chan:   OH NO, YOU DON’T.   Time to battle!

Main Character: But…you don’t even play guitar, dude!   How am I supposed to battle you?

Jackie Chan: Do you want to get karate-chopped in the face?

Main Character: Alright, dude!   Let’s rock!

Thus a furious guitar battle played on plastic guitars with five multicolored buttons would ensue, where Jackie Chan’s awesome power-ups would destroy buildings and cause earthquakes.   Dancing zombie monkeys would arrive, and the chick that played Calypso from X-Men 3 would hold the Elisha Cuthbert lookalike girlfriend hostage while Chan and the main character duked it out for supremacy.

Knowing Ratner, he would also call it, “Guitar Hero EPIC” or something inane like that.

I know it’s bad.   The Guitar Hero people know it’s bad – hence why it’s not getting made.   Basically, everyone but Brett Ratner knows this is a very bad idea.

Whatever Ratner is smoking, I certainly don’t want any.

For the record, how sad is it that movie news is so slow that this is what finally riled me up enough to write about it?   Good heavens, it’s awfully boring out there right now.

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How ironic that the girl who doesn’t care much for romantic comedies would actually like what is billed as “the ultimate romantic comedy”.    It’s also the ultimate palate cleanser for when you’ve overdosed on a certain horror series.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking.   I know you think I only like this because a certain actor is in it, and you’re wrong!   All wrong!    I mean, sure, that helps…but come on.   There’s more to it than that!

It’s the overlapping story of a whole bunch of folks living in London and their various stories involving love set around Christmas time.   Cue the “awwww”s right about now.    There’s the Prime Minister and his secretary; his sister and her husband; a man who has lost his wife to cancer and his stepson, who is in love; stand-ins on an adult film; a jilted writer and his housekeeper, neither of whom speak each other’s languages; a past-his-prime rock star and his manager; two office workers with problems of their own; a happy couple with a friend who loves the bride thrown into the mix, and so on and so forth.   All stories flow in and out of each other surprisingly well.   Some are very well done and others are just…so typically Hollywood romantic that I can’t get quite involved in them.

Love Actually has its problems.   Like all romantic comedies, at some point I find myself spacing a bit.  What makes me like Love Actually is the variety.   Even though the idea of 8 million people having their own stories shoved into one movie gets very overloaded very quickly, the variety is really, really nice, especially because I can fast-forward past the ones I don’t care for.

I’ve never pinned down exactly why I don’t like romantic comedies, but I think part of it is that things like this don’t particularly appeal to me as “romantic” or make me sigh, in the slightest.

My version of a romantic comedy would never get made, because it would involve that man (maybe, he could always be recast) holding a copy of Die Hard and Die Hard II and no silly sign.   My standards:  they are low…I think.

It’s the less syrup-y stuff that gets me.   Like Bill Nighy as the aging rocker who insults everyone and everything live – on the radio, on TV, in his videos.   Or Emma Thompson, as Alan Rickman’s poor, put-upon wife.

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BABY JESUS IN THE MANGER, I’m DONE, y’all!

Here’s where things get topsy-turvy.   This is real life, where we follow Heather Langenkamp, her husband Chase and their son Dylan.   Heather is hard at work, but the invite is extended to her to join the newest Nightmare movie that Wes Craven is writing.   We see appearances from various cast members playing themselves and Heather’s husband is a special effects guy who’s working without Heather’s knowledge on Freddy’s newest “glove”.   In fact, the dream opens with a nightmare of Heather’s about this very thing.

When Heather wakes up, she’s in the middle of an earthquake and after said quake subsides, she and Chase run off to work, leaving young Dylan in the capable hands of Super Babysitter Julie.

Heather feels a bit besieged by all of the Freddy Krueger brouhaha; she appears on a TV show where Robert Englund as Freddy Kreuger makes a surprise appearance, the head of New Line Cinema pressures her to be in another Nightmare sequel, and she finds out her husband’s been doing Nightmare related special effects behind her back.    Not only does she want to move on to other projects, but there’s a sense that she worries that her involvement in the string of horror films may leave an impression on her child.  She’s already scared by a stalker who calls in a Freddy voice and leaves notes in her mailbox.

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This Is Made of Wrong

Full-size for the horror of it all.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIS FACE?

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I had to check and re-check to make sure I was correct on this; I could’ve sworn that Chicago had not won Best Picture.   It did win back in 2002 but I kept thinking otherwise – surely this was wrong?

As I’m sure everyone and their dog knows, Chicago is based on the popular musical of the same name.   It’s not an awful film.   In fact, when I initially saw it, I really liked it.   A second viewing, however, doesn’t feel very fresh and got stale pretty quickly, but for the musical genre Chicago is pretty good.

The one problem I always had with the movie was that it felt oddly cast.   Catherine Zeta-Jones was a pretty good Velma, but I didn’t like Renee Zellweger much as Roxie, nor did I feel Richard Gere was particularly outstanding in his role.   Even John C. Reilly felt a little out of place and that feels odd to write down.

It certainly wasn’t better the second time around and I found myself marveling that, yes, this movie did win Best Picture.   It’s certainly well handled, especially since I think taking something from the stage to the screen can be more than a little tricky and even trickier when it’s a musical.   To be fair, the musical numbers are done well and the rest of the film is not poor by any standards.

The problem is that when I sat down to really think about what Chicago had achieved, I wasn’t feeling very impressed.   I keep coming back to the fact that the movie was pretty good.   Chicago is not great, not excellent, just a little bit above the rest of the flock.

Who else was nominated in 2002 for Best Picture?

  • Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Pianist


I’m flummoxed.   I have to be honest – I have little to no idea what Academy members have in their heads when they vote, nor do I intend to start speculating.   If you compare this movie with The Pianist, for example, The Pianist comes out on top easily.   Adrien Brody really did a fantastic job in that movie and it was all-around great, as opposed to being just pretty good.

Why Chicago won, I don’t know.

I do know, however, that Renee Zellweger’s face must un-squint itself, since you can barely see her eyes anymore from all the face-scrunching.    Renee, you gotta stop doing that, because watching your movies nowadays makes my face hurt for you.

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Nightmare Week: Freddy’s Dead

The light at the end of the tunnel…I can see it!

First problem:   This movie comes with very stylin’ 3-D glasses.   It was originally in 3-D, and let me tell you, it is not impressive.

Second problem:

Freddy Krueger haunting someone as the Wicked Witch of the West is neither scary nor inventive.   It’s just sad.

Third problem:  Well…everything.

Without going through this one bit by bit, it’s basically this:   Krueger had a child before he got roasted, and he needs the kid to help him move out of Springwood and onto bigger and better things.   His kid is Maggie, although the film initially leads you to believe otherwise.   Maggie is a social worker taking care of four kids in a shelter who takes one back to Springwood to see if his memory will come back after she discovers items about Springwood on his person.   (His memory has been wiped, presumably by Freddy.)

Of course, Freddy starts in with the killing.

I don’t have much left in me at this point to make fun of this one.   It is almost painful to watch, primarily because the movie tries to be very cool for the time period (one character dies after being sucked into a video game, for heaven’s sakes) and it fails.   It fails massively and miserably.    This is the kind of movie you want to take out in the backyard and put out of its misery because you’re afraid it might be contagious.

The three death scenes are far from anything to write home about, and the idea of Freddy’s daughter being the last to finally “kill” Freddy is just outright cheating anyone who remotely likes the series.  For the first time in six films, Freddy is actually dead  (excluding Freddy vs. Jason), and the idea of Maggie – a very unlikeable, boring character – being the one to cement his fate is so cheap it’s almost criminal.

Don’t get me started on the 3-D.

I can only guess that the moviemakers wanted to have some campy fun with the “last” installment and thus went the 3-D route, throwing every hackneyed 3-D gimmick into the movie, including the stupid shots of characters thrusting things at the screen to shock the viewer.   It should be noted as a matter of fact that this sucks.   They even have Maggie put on 3-D glasses in her dream to let the viewer know to put on their 3-D glasses.    Watching the 3-D part of the movie (or even in 2-D, when you can tell that it’s clearly a 3-D section) is like having a lobotomy.   It was like I could feel my brain dripping out of my ears while my IQ plummeted fifty points in three seconds.

Another thing is this:   It’s completely unnecessary to give the bad guy more backstory than he already has.   We know how he was conceived, born and died; we know about his mom the nun and that he was a real person.   We know his M.O. now that he lives on in people’s dreams.   Any further exposition is unnecessary, right?

OF COURSE NOT.   If you’re making this movie, why not give Freddy a little extra meat in such moronic ways?    We see here in the above photo how Freddy got his powers, due to evil…things offering him the proverbial deal with the Devil to live on forever.   Is that necessary?   No.   It’s just wasted minutes and so on.   We get way too much information, as a matter of fact, and we also learn that Freddy had a wife and what he looked like when he was human.    Since no one cares about that crap by this point in the series, it’s dead weight.

Normally I try and find some ray of hope in bad movies but this one is totally rotten, beginning to end.   There’s absolutely no value to it.   You’d think I could at least make one stupid, cheap joke at this movie’s expense, but I think it says a lot that I’m not even that motivated.

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#1466: Botched

How apropos.

There’s something to be said for brevity.

Botched is a mess.   It’s a funny, sort of endearing mess, but a mess nonetheless.   It also makes no sense.   It goes too many directions.   It tries to bite off more than it can chew, with trying to make a hostage situation fearsome, satanic twins, Russian legend, quirky crazy Russian hostages, bizarre traps and weapons and something that’s wholly different from what the film sets up.

So that’s pretty much it.   There’s not much good in it.   I really don’t know what else to say other than I still feel confused as to what the heck was going on here, but I know it wasn’t awesome.

Also, a note to any Hollywood types:  If I have to see Stephen Dorff grimace and scowl his way through one more movie with that swagger of his, my head might explode.   It hasn’t been entertaining in any movie he’s been in, and it’s not entertaining now.   I beg of you, please – if you have to cast the man in something, put him in a non-scowly comedic role and send his ass to Method Acting classes or something, because watching this man makes me TIRED.

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Good Lord – talk about beating a dead horse.

Nightmare on Elm Street 5:  The Dream Child is little more than someone who is not Wes Craven attempting to reinvent the wheel (or, er, the franchise) and failing miserably.

We pick up with Alice and Dan again, and they seem to be normal and well-adjusted and graduating high school with a new group of friends we’ve never met before.   Dan and Alice seem reasonably happy, too; they have an extended vacation planned to Europe for the summer and all seems well.

Say it with me now:  uh-oh.

Alice tells Dan about this freaky dream she had and her sneaking suspicion that Freddy is returning.   Dan tells Alice to chillax, and just take it easy – one bad dream doesn’t mean Freddy’s returning.

Man, I’m getting tired of typing that.

Alice is on her way to work when she has a totally schizoid dream that involves her seeing exactly how Amanda Krueger conceived and gave birth to Freddy (which – two scoops of ick, thanks), and sees a new, disgusting looking Freddy-baby crawl into the old church where Alice beat him down in Part IV.   The baby-thing crawls into Freddy’s clothes and becomes…grown-up Freddy!

Say what you will about the man, but he does know how to make an entrance.

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We follow up the awesomeness of Part III with the semi-crap of Part IV.

We’re back with Kristen, who seems to be leading a normal, teenage life along with Kincaid and Joey, and Kristen has a new group of friends, even – the shy Alice, Alice’s brother Rick who is also Kristen’s boyfriend, smarty pants Sheila, and exercise obsessed Debbie.

(Kristen in this one is played by some other chick, and not Patricia Arquette like in Part III.)

Everything’s fun and games until Kristen feels that Freddy’s coming back, which doesn’t sit well with Kincaid and Joey, who tell her to leave it alone and that Freddy’s dead.  Joey (who can now speak) tells her that if she keeps thinking about Krueger all the time, she might actually stir him up, and so they advise her to drop it.

Now, we all know what happens to people who doubt Freddy returning in this franchise, so…sayonara, Joey and Kincaid.  It was nice knowing you (especially Joey, who I thought was adorable when I was a kid).

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