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I know, I skipped February.
But March belongs to the one, the only, Henry Rollins.

Rollins is one of the few guys I discovered that I was younger that has stuck with me into adulthood.  Whereas I dropped bands and groups from my teen years for a variety of reasons – the music no longer resonated with me, I had outgrown and no longer found it comforting or powerful, or just plain that it held bad memories for me – Rollins is the only one, I think, that has stuck with me into adulthood and become more powerful to me, if that’s possible.

Henry Rollins entered first into my life at thirteen, when someone that I’ve forgotten since handed me a mix tape with Black Flag on it.   Later on, I discovered Rollins’ spoken word and his later work with The Rollins Band, but really, it was his spoken word that always captivated me.   Henry Rollins is funny, incisive, brutal and honest about what he believes, and if you have the chance to go get tickets to a show, it’s well worth the money you spend.   I went for his previous tour and he spent three glorious hours on stage, all of it interesting.

If I am having a very bad day, like today, when it’s tempting to just give up on your fellow human beings, when you feel cynical and bleak, there’s actually no one better to listen to.   Rollins is, if nothing else, hopeful (believe it or not) and has always been – to me, at least – refreshingly honest and inspiring.  I don’t think anyone grinds out their life quite like him.   The word ‘motivated’ isn’t anywhere near close enough to describing how insanely dedicated Rollins is to his chosen work in life.

Cheers to him.   I needed some Rollins today and I’m glad he’s around.   And I certainly wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers.  (And that’s all the shameless objectification I have in me today.)

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Gamer — For a movie that requires a lot of urgency in both style and story, Gamer has absolutely none.   It attempts some over the top social commentary that succeeds only at being tedious and unoriginal.   The movie has a shockingly well known cast, bu tthat’s about it’s only strong point.   If you ever wanted to see Gerard Butler vomit vodka into a gas tank and then relieve himself in said tank, then Gamer‘s the movie for you.   If that’s not the case, then steer clear of this one.   It’s not even worthy of being called a trainwreck, since it’s more like a really long, boring trainride that induces coma-like sleep.


Speaking of Bettany, Legion also stars him and, well… it’s just sort of middling.   Bettany’s pretty wooden as the archangel Michael, and the story’s a snoozer.   It’s entertaining for what it is, given that the supporting cast turn in performances that are watchable, but let’s face it – if you’re watching Legion, you’re probably watching it for angels with machine guns.   Legion does deliver that.   (And the popcorn at the movie theater was tastier than normal, so that was a win, too.)

Wimbledon – Paul Bettany has to be given some credit.   Hugh Grant cornered the market on the charmingly befuddled, lanky Englishman type with few challengers to the throne (Colin Firth, I think, could potentially shank Grant one of these days and usurp the title).   Bettany pulls a pretty boring and thankless role off with affable charm and sweetness.   Kirsten Dunst is … okay, and Sam Neill as Dunst’s father is fantastic in his prickliness.   it’s not one for the record books, but Wimbledon is a romantic comedy that I strangely didn’t mind, considering I have issues with so many of them.

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I’m telling y’all what I told my mom about Top Gun: it gets better the more you realize that the movie’s just a simmering cauldron of gayness.

(Brings ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ home, I think.)

I refuse to provide a synopsis for Top Gun, mainly because unless you’ve been living under the heaviest rock in existence you’re at least somewhat aware of the plot.

Let’s face it:  Top Gun‘s strong suit is not really the plot; hell, it’s not even Tom Cruise.   This may have been the cinematic moment Tom Cruise tipped from being Tom Cruise, actor into Tom Cruise, celebrity who buys into his own special brand of bullshit.   Indeed, Cruise has some gigantic, awful moments in the movie – they involve fist-pumps, hugs and displays of bravado – and even after Maverick reaches his moment of fighter pilot enlightenment, it’s hard not to view the character as an emotionally stunted frat boy allowed to play with multi-million dollar pieces of equipment.

No, the real joy of Top Gun is two fold:  realizing Tom Cruise may be the only guy not in on the gag, and realizing every other actor realizes how totally fucking gay this movie is.

I mean that in the best possible way:  I wish they’d make an actual movie about gay fighter pilots.  Sadly, Top Gun is about as close as it gets but God bless Val Kilmer for playing it the way he saw it.   (I vaguely remember someone asking Val Kilmer if Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’s Perry was the first gay character he’d ever played when he was doing press; Kilmer answered along the lines of, “You mean besides Iceman?”)  The movie’s rife with moments of shirtless guys in locker rooms and stares between Iceman and Maverick that really… kind of make you wonder.   Let’s also not forget the hilarious, wonderful insanity that is the Top Gun beach volleyball scene.   It’s all oiled guys with flexing pectoral muscles grabbing each other’s asses and chest-bumping and shit.

Tom Cruise believes this is totally macho, y’all!

It is Kilmer who really shines in this movie.   He steals scenes from Cruise right and left, frosted hair be damned.   He is endlessly entertaining, probably because Val Kilmer didn’t give a shit.  This is why I will always love, love, love Val Kilmer, no matter how bloaty he gets, no matter how far out there he goes, no matter how many trees he starts hugging; you have to appreciate the fact that even when the man doesn’t give a shit, he still rocks.

Plus, Top Gun has Michael Ironside.  Nothing that has Michael Ironside in it can be said to be totally irreedemable.

The movie is an essential piece of 80s cheese.  The love story will make you laugh (oh, dear, Kelly McGillis) and Tom Cruise will make you cry (from laughing).   For heaven’s sake, if you haven’t seen it, what the hell is your problem?

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Ouuuuuuch!   Poor Bruce Willis.

Eddie Hawkins is a thief just released from prison.  All he wants is a damn cappuccino, but before he can even get all the way out of prison, people are hassling him to take thieving jobs for them.

Enter several groups of people who want Eddie to steal the same things, a super rich couple, a bunch of government spooks and miscellaneous thugs.  What all this centers around are a bunch of crystals that Leonardo Da Vinci used to turn lead into gold.

In other words, this convulted caper centers around alchemy of all things.

Bless Bruce Willis; he’s a charming guy who has a great screen presence.  In fact, Willis has followed the John Wayne mode of acting, in which he seems to play a version of himself in every single movie.   But charm can only sail a person so far.

There’s quite simply too much going on in Hudson Hawk; there’s so many plot twists, turns and implausibly convenient events that most would be hard pressed to keep up.   Then there’s the sad fact that Hudson Hawk can’t even decide what kind of movie it wants to be.   The movie’s a caper, buddy comedy, romance, action, screwball, slapstick mess.   Every cast member tries to be too over the top, too jokey, too quirky.   Sandra Bernhard as a rich lady is just obnoxious and Danny Aiello’s sweet and funny but ends up clotheslined by the ridiculous material he’s given.   Even more exhausting is the fact that the filmmakers attempt to pack every gag possible in, to the point where I’m not sure there’s actually more than five seconds that passes in Hudson Hawk where something funny isn’t attempted.   It’s tiresome and barely any of the jokes are funny.

As far as a guilty pleasure goes, Bruce Willis is, as I said, charming and he and Danny Aiello have some fun moments where they get to sing and joke around and be best buddies; Willis can capture moments of fun, whimsy and charm – it’s just sad that nothing else about this movie can.

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Kreativ Blogger Awards

Alex over at Film Forager was so kind to extend one of these to me.   Bless her, Alex is what I believe the intelligent folk call ‘rad’.   I’m actually not sure Alex and I don’t share brain matter or operate on the same wavelength because she likes a lot of the same things I do to the point where I think if we knew each other in real life, we’d get along famously!  Plus, Alex is an updating machine – unlike me, yeah? – and she writes about any kind and every kind of movie you can think of.   (Sorry for ending that sentence on a preposition, Alex.)

So, here’s the rules:

“Receiving such a kind honor comes with some criteria as well (7 in fact):

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.”

1.   Thanks, Alex!   You’re the best.   (Note to readers:   you should start reading Film Forager stat if you’re not doing so already.   Just a helpful hint.)   Alex wrote some super nice things about me like that I’m “fun to read”.   Right back atcha, Alex!

2.  Here you go:

3.   I’ve done so previously but just in case, GO VISIT ALEX HERE!

4.   Seven things about myself that are interesting?   … But I’m so bland.  Vanilla.   Plain Jane!

Ah, well, here goes nothing:

  • The other thing I love besides movies is cooking.   I read a crazy amount of food blogs, two of my favorite movie bloggers also blog about food and I’m currently contemplating culinary school.   (Have y’all seen the pricetag on film school?  Or culinary school?   It’s enough to make you reach for the Tums, I tell you.)   The only thing I don’t like about my apartment is how small the kitchen is, but nearly every apartment has a small kitchen.   I’m looking forward to buying a house just for the damn kitchen.
  • I’ve never graduated from college.   I have a half-finished degree and while I’d love to finish that, too, I’m slightly terrified of taking on the debt to finish, much to my mother’s chagrin.
  • My biggest pet peeve is table manners.   If you smack, chew with your mouth open, scrape your teeth with your fork, dribble food down yourself or generally eat as though you’re a pig at a trough, I can’t stand to be around you.   This is inherited from my father, who ruled our childhood table with a firm eye on manners.   To this day, I hear someone smacking and see them chewing with their mouth open and it makes me squirm, for real.
  • I have wanted to grow up to do the following things: Paleontologist, journalist, emergency room doctor, virologist, historian, teacher.
  • I swear to God, one of the things I do before I die will be to learn Russian.  I have an odd fascination with Russia, its history and the language.   One of these days I’ll hop on the ball about learning.
  • My newspaper class in high school declared me to be ‘Most Likely To Marry a Starving Artist’, whatever that means. And yes, my journalism teacher would be so proud if he could read this now.
  • Two of my best friends I have known since I was seven years old.   That means in two years, we’ll have known each other for twenty years.   I don’t think I can bring it up ever again for fear that they’ll both start fanning themselves and then pass out at how old we’re getting.

5 & 6:

Pluck You, Too! Tommy’s hysterical, got great taste in movies and makes me hungry with his food posts where he goes around and photographs restaurants with the food he orders.   It’ll make you hungry!  Starving!    Plus he’s funny as hell and likes boobs.   Really, who doesn’t like boobs?  Who?

Out of the Past: Raquelle will school your ass on old school film.  Shiiit.   Lady knows more about classic films than anyone I’ve ever met.   She’ll make you long to see movies you’d never even considered.

Valley Dreamin’: Consider this:   JD IS A TEENAGER.   Dude, when he’s all grown up with his fierce design abilities and great taste as well as his unique writing – we should all probably be afraid.

(I cheated and did three, because everyone else I thought could use one I think got linked already.  If I didn’t link you and you have a blog, consider yourself linked, yo.)

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I really have been flummoxed about how to write about Hackers; between the frustrating hubbub of the holiday season, the mad dash to get all the shopping done and the fact that I’ve had some sort of odd malaise that’s made me feel downright exhausted most of the time, all I could brainstorm was LOLINTERNETS.   Because that, essentially, is what Hackers boils down to.

Instead of giving you LOLINTERNETS (you come here for more than that, right?   I’m not sure what you’re coming for, the witty banter, the inspired comedy, or any of the other number of things I attempt and fail at), I give you the five best things about Hackers:

1.   Fisher Stevens

Stevens plays the network security dude for a large corporation who attempts to pawn the blame off for his nefarious theft scheme on a group of high school hackers, headed by the unnaturally attractive Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller.    Stevens’ baddie isn’t content to just scheme and plot in dastardly ways, nor is he happy to just mess around with one of the executives, played by Lorraine Bracco.   No, he must mess with Dade Murphey (Miller’s character), a computer genius struggling to stay out of trouble after he hacked the NYSE at a young age.   And it’s there that Stevens’ character really shines, after all, since he’s working for the man and yet totally against the man.   Hell, Stevens’ character is against everyone who’s not Fisher Stevens.   And he skateboards everywhere, even holding on to his super fancy limo and skateboarding down an abandoned street to pick up a floppy disc (remember those?) from Dade.

2.   The Internet Is Fluorescent

Image found here.

While it’s a definite upgrade from Johnny Mnemonic‘s surfer dude meets Japanese fashion sense interpretation of the Internet, Hackers‘ vision is no less funny, with shots running through circuit boards and wiring lit up neon and bright.   Even funnier is the depictions of a massive corporation’s networked computers, with Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame as the computer jockey running the board.

3.    The Random Celebrities

Dude, everyone is in this movie.    Angelina Jolie, before she was famous.   Poor Jonny Lee Miller, who married and divorced Jolie and went on to star in such abysmal fare as Dracula 2000 and Mansfield Park and lead a quiet, ‘hey, it’s that dude’ sort of existence.   Marc Anthony who was a singer once upon a time and is probably most famous for being Mr. J-Lo pops up as an FBI Agent.   Matthew Lillard is freaking hilarious as a permastoned hacker named Cereal Killer; Lorraine Bracco portrays a nervy corporate exec in league with Fisher Stevens’ villain.   And as mentioned before, Penn Jillette took a break from his busy magic schedule to be in this one.

4.   Teenager Hackers Save The Planet

Environmentally conscious and disgusted with corporate greed, these teenagers can tackle anything!   Sure, they can barely attend Pre-Calculus, but when they’re not taking down anti-hacker government agents and uncovering plots to destroy oil tankers and steal money, these kids are always up for a good time.   They’re like the cyberpunk Planeteers or something, but hotter.

5.   The Takedown of Richard Gill

One word:  Montage-tastic!   The hacker teens conspire to figure out who’s the best hacker – Jolie or Miller – by having a competition to see who can ruin Richard Gill’s life the most.   Gill’s a government agent who focuses on cybercrime, so it’s only natural that he’s hacker enemy number one.   The hackers add Gill’s name to an erotic personal ad, nearly bankrupt him, ruin his credit rating and have him classified as ‘deceased’.   It’s a funny sequence of moments, mainly because the guy who plays Richard Gill plays the straight man exceptionally well, but also because of the slightly inventive ways in which the hackers take him down.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m off to the wilds of east Texas for Thanksgiving but wanted to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

And if you’re not American and you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, then have a very safe and happy Thursday.

(My New Plaid Pants has quite possibly the best Thanksgiving post ever.)

 

 

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