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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Girlfriend Experience

Not the final nail in the coffin but getting there. The only thing that got me excited about this purported button pushing art-porn is when I realized that if I walked out it would all be over.

Maybe in 20 years, Soderbergh’s post-Oscar non-Oceans work will be seen as trail blazing. He’ll be regarded for his stubborn insistence on sticking to a big idea, his formal stunts where something overly arty is pushed to a dispassionate and fragmented extreme only to see if it can come out in the end as human, genial and poignant. He’ll be lauded for his subverting genres, from sci-fi to the bio-pic to espionage thrillers. So "The Good German" won’t be seen as an ill-advised fuck you to Casablanca, "Solaris" won’t be seen as an hour & 1/2 arid one-note mope-montage of a wistful, emo Clooney, and "Che" won’t seem like Soderbergh’s trying to prove that in order to evoke someone’s life faithfully you have to leave in all the boring parts.

But until then it just seems like he’s playing games, stalling, trying to recover that artistic fire he used to have when he wasn’t shacked up with a hot piece of ass way out of his league.

Though this is the sad end of nearly all artists who get with fine ass bitches. Case in point: Tarantino hooks up with Mighty Fucking Aphrodite-era Mira Sorvino and precedes to make Four Rooms, Jackie Brown and then nothing, whereas Scorsese made Last Temptation and Goodfellas when he was trying to resist the urge to bite Illeana Douglas’s face off.

This goes on and on. Just look at how Burton hasn’t made anything worth Beetlejuice since hooking up with Lisa Marie and Helena Bonham. (The one exception of course is Woody Allen, who’s the total inverse, wherein his talent directly correlates to the hotness of chicks he’s banging.)

Mickey said it best -- “Women weaken legs!”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mostly Not Illogical

Agreed with Coco, maybe not as much with the other dude, if only because I could give a shit which season Chekov was introduced.

Still I had a good time, probably about as good a time I had at Iron Man and Casino Royale, which is strange because all three movies have really weak villains and half-assed endings.

I guess with all 3 movies, you forgive most the dumb loopholes and coincidences (though Jim happening to run into future Spock on the abandoned planet has to be one of the worst coincidences since McClane ran into Sam Jackson as he’s being shot out of the sewer in Die Hard 3), cause the actors are well cast and the movies have a pulse (as opposed to the mopey emo tone of TDK).

If I were to give Trek any sort of star grade, half a star would have to be taken off for how every tussle climaxes with someone hanging on the brink of some shit by their fingertips. The only time that should ever happen is when Michael Ironside gets his arms ripped off.

Monday, May 18, 2009

As Benjamin Braddock would say....


Ok, I'm okay with Thor, but they are going to remake Red Dawn?!?!?

WTF!!! Gun.To.Head. Avenge me!!!!

"Playing Captain Kirk's father in the new Star Trek movie has landed Aussie movie hunk Chris Hemsworth two huge new action roles - as Thor and Red Dawn's Jed Eckhert.

Hemsworth, 25, will play the lead in Kenneth Branagh's big-screen adaptation of Marvel comic book Thor, and he'll reportedly take on the role Patrick Swayze played back in 1984 in a remake of Red Dawn.

Branagh's blockbuster, about the Viking god of thunder, is set for a June 2011 release."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cody Film Review: Star Trek

I'm gonna try not to step on Hal's toes here, but their will be some repeating. First of all I did enjoy this movie, it's a good summer movie. Star Trek is full of action, has a great cast, and is a lot of fun. The problem is I am a greedy person who always wants more. The main problem I had with the film was what is the bloody hurry? This movie didn't have to have the whole gang in their positions by the end of the movie so we are all comfortable. I didn't need to see Sulu and Chekov sitting where they always sit performing the duties they will do for the next 30 years. Obviously it hard to get a promotion on the Enterprise. Uhura(Zoe Saldana) was the only original series secondary character I felt was good in this film. Her moments with Spock were some of the best scenes in the movie. I have always felt that Star Trek is about Kirk, Spock and McCoy and the rest of the cast is just window dressings. J.J. Abrams cast three good leads(Pine,Quinto,and Urban) with great chemistry. I wanted more interaction at the Academy with friendship development than wall to wall battle scenes. It would have been great to see more Captain Pike(Bruce Greenwood) as a mentor to Kirk. He was used more as a stepping stone for Kirk to get to the Captain's seat. I really liked the story and I thought it was a clever way to reboot the series by throwing away the past we are all used to. That being said I did think the movie was predictable and followed a formula. Unlike Hal I did enjoy future Spock. The scenes between Nimoy and Kirk and young Spock are great scenes. I knew there would be a few tongue and cheek jokes,but I was hoping Abrams would take this reboot a little more serious. I thought it was a mistake to start McCoy off so strong then have him do nothing but stupid quotes from movies past for the second half of the film. I like Simon Pegg, but he annoyed the hell out of me as Scotty. Every scene he is in he's cracking jokes and providing comic relief. Star Trek is a Sci-Fi action film and I really didn't go see this film to laugh or bond with nerds. Overall it's a great summer blockbuster, but just a good movie that could have been so much more. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reinvention and Revival

(Spoilers ahead) I've been a 'Star Trek' fan for many years now, and have been cautiously optimistic about this weekend's release. After my first viewing, I would have to classify it somewhere between “OK” and “Good”, but let's begin with the bad. Scott, you were right about one thing, and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew everyone would to use their catch phrases at least once in the film, but I was hoping they wouldn't overdo it. Yes, it did happen, but it wasn't obscene. Now hearing McCoy ask Spock if he was “out of his Vulcan mind” annoyed me because we have already heard this line uttered in 'Star Trek II' (One of many parallels I feel the filmmakers tried to force in this movie). So that aside, I guess I can live with the other obligatory phrases, even though they did make me twitch with frustration.

Another element that irritates me happens with about 90% of major films released these days, and that is the lack of development. No one takes their time anymore in developing characters and scenes. This could have been the perfect movie to introduce and develop every character in their respective elements. This is a story of origins and should have been allowed to take it's time. They could have concentrated more on the Starfleet days and had them all wind up serving on the ship in the end and guess what...It would have been great....but no, we've got to get to the action as fast as we can, plus we've got some CG to show off. But, as my experience watching movies has taught me, this was also to be expected, so I fight through it and take out what's left for me.

Perhaps the biggest offender of this movie, though, and the one I will not accept as having had to be there, was the casting of Leonard Nimoy as “future Spock”. This in no way gave any credibility to the story, nor did it make any sense. It's so forced that they couldn't even give a better reason for present day Kirk bumping into him on a remote planet by accident. Guest appearances are something that should be reserved for the series only. Hell, 'The Next Generation' featured almost all the original cast at one point or another. But for the movies, I think we should be able to rise above the mere charm of having an original cast member in it. If you have to put Nimoy in the movie, why not cast him as Sarek?

OK, so what was good about it? First of all, I think the entire cast was stellar. I was really pleased by everyones performances, especially since we weren't subjected to two hours of straight character impressions. Karl Urban came close with his Dr. McCoy, but I actually found him to be a pleasant surprise in this movie and thought he did a great job. I thought Chris Pine was excellent and delivered a young Kirk as well as anyone could. As far as the actual characters, I felt Sulu and Checkov were the weakest. They were just kind of there for the sake of introducing us to the rest of the regular cast. Sorry, we're focusing on the positive now so I won't get into Checkov not even being in the first season.

Overall, I have to say the story was pretty damn good. The “future Spock” element aside, I never found myself shaking my head in disappointment, which has become habit for me after virtually all of the “Next Generation” movies. In fact, there was a point for me after the destruction of Vulcan and the death of Spock's mother that I almost was in disbelief. Why were they re-writing our beloved Star Trek history? And then it made sense, the story itself was re-writing history and doing it effectively. It was a brilliant way to weave a new story into old fabric and therefore reinvent the saga. It worked. Although, I could have done without the “Back to the Future” explanation of timelines to the audience. I sometimes cringe at using a word like “fun” to describe a movie, but I did have a lot of fun with this one and would like to see it again. Could it have been better? Absolutely. But since the bar for Star Trek movies has been lowered so much over the years, it was nice to see one that delivered a story worthy of being a full length movie and not just a glorified, two-hour episode.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Film Snob's Anit-Blockbuster Summer Movie Preview

Summer movies are products, plain and simple. Studios nowadays are owned by corporations. Corporations that make a wide array of products, cereal for example. When an executive green-lights a film, he needs to know exactly what audience is going to see it and how it can be packaged into an aggressive marketing campaign (i.e. High School Musical). He cares as much about a film as he does about a box of cereal. He'll never see the film, he'll never eat the cereal. Every once in a while we get a Spiderman 2 or Ironman or Dark Knight. But more often than not we're stuck with Wanted or Hancock or Pirates of Who Gives a Shit About A Movie Based On A Fucking Roller-Coaster (Fuck You, Disney). So, I give to you (all 5 of you), my answer to those assholes with my picks for Summer Flicks Not To Be Missed!

Rian Johnson's follow up to Brick is a fun, stylish con man movie that I was lucky enough to catch at AFI last month. Although it sort of falls apart in the last act, it consistently kept a smile on my face throughout. Rachel Weisz is adorable, as is Rinko Kikuchi (the naked Japanese girl from Babel). Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody are perfectly cast as brothers, demonstrating great chemistry.

This is the first frilm from Jim Jarmusch since 2005's underrated Broken Flowers. Jarmusch has been one of the most solid independent filmmakers of the last twenty years, always making interesting, genre defying films. Isaach De Bankole stars as a mysterious loner in Spain, intent on finishing a job. This marks his first starring role for Jarmusch after supporting roles in three of his previous (Night on Earth, Ghost Dog, and Coffee and Cigarettes). Rounding out the cast are John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Paz De La Huerta, Alex Descas, and Gael Garcia Bernal.

I love Woody Allen. I still see all of his films in the theatre. I know he's not the filmmaker he once was, but I'd be willing to put Vicky Christina Barcelona, Match Point, Hollywood Ending, Sweet and Lowdown, or any of his films up against any piece of shit studio film any day. This film stars Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood as two people who begin a odd relationship after a chance meeting. And, it's his first film shot in NYC in five years. Oh, by the way, this is his 42nd film. Fuck you, haters.

The best/most original/honest film about relationships I've seen in a long time. Caught it at AFI and it blew me away. Go see it.

Here's the deal with Ang Lee: dude has one of the most eclectic filmographies of any modern filmmaker. The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Lust, Caution, and now this. Taking Woodstock stars Demetri Martin (I know, right) in the true story about how Woodstock became Woodstock. Great supporting cast includes: Tim Sigur look alike Liev Schreiber (in drag!), Emile Hircsh, Paul Dano, Eugene Levy, Kelli Garner, and Imelda Staunton.

Steven Soderberg is one of my favorite filmmakers working today. He makes big successful studio films just so he can make intriguing experimental films like Full Frontal and Bubble. TGE marks his second film in collaboration with Mark Cuban owned 2929 Productions. Back in 2004, he signed a three picture deal to create ultra low budget experimental films that would be released theatrically, on DVD and Pay-Per-View all at the same time. Bubble was a experiment in location, only using the resources (actors, props, etc.) of a very small town. The second film in the series is about a high class call girl who is more than a hooker, she becomes your girlfriend. The experiment is in casting: the lead actress is a real life porn star, Sasha Grey (just google her name, see what pops up). I was able to see this film earlier this week, and I loved it. It's not for everyone, but if you love beautifully photographed films with a bunch of subtext, see this film.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

R.I.P. Dom DeLuise

Dom DeLuise was a big part of my childhood, and it always sad when someone who gave you so much joy passes. I loved Burt Reynolds and Mel Brooks films and Dom DeLuise appeared in many of their movies. He also had a great voice and did very well later doing voice over work. Here are my favorite Dom DeLuise films that I grew up with.
Blazing Saddles(1974)
The End(1978)
Hot Stuff(1979)Which he also directed. Whoever thought Dom would outlive Jerry Reed and Suzanne Pleshette?
Smokey and The Bandit II(1980) Yea it's bad, but I've seen it a hundred times.
History Of The World Part I(1981) Greatest Roman Emperor ever!
The Cannonball Run I and II(1981,84) Gotta love Captain Chaos, arguably his best role.
Johnny Dangerously(1984)
Favorite Voice Over Work
The Secret of NIMH(1982)-His Jeremy character is good comic relief in a very dark film.
Spaceballs(1987)-Pizza The Hut needed his own movie.

These aren't the best films in the world,but I've seen all of them many times and they all in one way or the other did influence me. He was 75.