"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Potpourri 2: Miscellaneous

SICOBy special request, here is a fresh new place for you commenters to write about whatever the fuck you want to write about. For example various topics that come up, and other things also. Because of freedom, etc.

thank you for your interest

Also, here is a cartoon:

This entry was posted on Friday, December 10th, 2010 at 12:06 am and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1,075 Responses to “Potpourri 2: Miscellaneous”

  1. So much better than Robocop on a unicorn.

  2. I wasn’t so sure at first, Majestyk. But then I saw Ali was wearing a spacesuit.

  3. Makes me wonder why they don’t cartoon shows with/about real life celebrities anymore. Even Macaulay Culkin and MC Hammer had their own back in the days!

  4. I just woke up from a dream about Beyoncé.

    Now I’m here.

    . . .

    I’m going back to sleep.

  5. They used to do a wrestling cartoon and they all had tiny waists and full heads of hair instead of beer guts and bald patches. That was almost as funny as the cartoon pictures of Harry Knowles making him out to have only twelve chins.

  6. Vern – Funny, I thought knowing you, you would have posted a clip instead from the Jackson 5 cartoon.

    CJ Holden – Who was the basis of the first cartoon-based-on-real-celebrities? Here’s a clue: Mr. Majestyk some weeks back in the old Potpouri (or was it Nerd Shit?) compared them to a beer brand.

    Ace Mac Ashbrook – You mean HULK HOGAN’S ROCK N ROLL WRESTLING? Funny thing is, WWE apparently is reviving that, but under John Cena now.

  7. Oh yeah, The Beatles. But y’know, I like the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK cartoon better.
    (Just kidding, I swear. Uhm…HAMMERMAN! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8WYh8uz3pQ )

  8. Trufax: the co-author of Robocop is a good friend of mine. I showed him that Robocop on a unicorn tattoo…it made him very sad. But it also made him laugh.

    Also, on a totally unrelated note, has anyone else noticed how Katy Perry songs are totally just dancefloor variations on Bat out of Hell era Meat Loaf? Because, they totally are. Totally.

  9. Can’t say anything about Katy Perry’s songs. The only one I really ever listened to was CALIFORNIA GIRLS. And to be honest, I’m not even talking about the original version either, but about the Armand van Helden remix.

  10. Are you guys interested in that Game of Thrones TV adaptation? I just love the novels.

  11. So…I just discovered that Robocop on a unicorn was a Meme, not just some random asshole hipster getting an acid trip tattoo. Sent an email link to some of the more elaborate renditions out.

    I like this one: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IuURvbJjIO4/S8kaBwBoP0I/AAAAAAAAAbg/ohnveB-7-Fg/s1600/robocop+large.jpg

  12. Vincento, I’d expect a Carnivale-style dropping after the second series.

  13. CJ Holden – Did you all ever get PROSTARS? Hey kids, this cartoon has Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Bo Jackson, the greatest most wealthy athlete superstars of our time. And we’re gonna have them solve crimes and fight bad guys, and shit.

  14. Never heard of PROSTARS, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t shown here.

    RE Game Of Thrones: Never heard of the books, but I might watch it if the buzz is positive enough.

  15. “How Do You Know?” cost $120 million? WTF – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/price-tag-120-million-50-58410

    I remember I heard Brooks’ last movie Spanglish cost $80 million and I thought that had to have been a typo. Maybe there was a shit ton of explosions on the cutting room floor.

  16. Hunter,

    I totally read that as “Trufaux” and not “Trufax” and thought it was some sort of pun on Truffaut.

    Now that I think about it, True/Faux might make a good name for a movie themed show or podcast or something, maybe an interview/Q&A show.

  17. neal2zod:

    If established writers/directors/producers can’t figure out how to make a domestic comedy for less than $80 million, then the path is paved for new blood. So thank Brooks, for proving to the Hollywood execs they need to look for fresh talent.

  18. Vincento> Looking forward to Game of Thrones myself. Don’t know if I should get stuck into the books before it makes its way over to the UK. And will Sean Bean be getting to chop plenty of people up?

  19. There´s an interesting thing about Sean Bean´s character and chopping. Gotta love those books.

  20. Robocop had an animated series
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drxcfzikHos
    why do the humans walk/run in funnier looking ways than he does?

  21. I remember that the Robocop cartoon even had one episode in which Boddicker returned. (Because the movie never happened there.) He only got arrested in the end. But another episode had kids getting high on some kind of video game doodett and one of the kid died of a burnt out brain! Apart from that it was pretty lame.
    But still better than the Rambo cartoon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eliQEStzhu4

  22. But no My Little Pony crossover? Shame.

  23. Has anybody been wondering whether Vern has seen/reviewed Faster? I thought it was one of the better attempts at a modern throwback to 70’s revenge movies, floating somewhere near (but not quite up to) the level of Payback. I loved the part of Ebert’s review where he says Dwayne Johnson’s gun “seems to grow out of his hand.”

  24. Patrick Newman: I forget exactly where he wrote it, but Vern’s screening of FASTER was frought with technical difficulties.

  25. Fraught, not “frought.”

  26. I think he wrote about it in the other Potpourri thread.

  27. Robocop is also the protagonist of at least 2 live-action television series . Now the 1994 one is a shitbomb so , of course , it was released over here , but the 2000 mini-series called “Prime Directives” is new to me . I don’t know if it was translated for pay-per-view networks , but I’ve never seen it . Is it any good ? And , more important , there’s some kind of magical horse-creature in it ?

  28. No unicorns in PRIME DIRECTIVES, not much quality either, but at least it brought the hard violence back to Robocop. And Paul Verhoeven really hates it.

  29. Prime Directives is based kinda loosely on the script that Miner and Neumeier wrote for Robocop 2 before the force majeure of the writer’s strike of the late 80s killed their version.

    However, I can now confirm that most, if not all of the Robocop above the lines know of the magic that is Robocop on a Unicorn. I just wish I coulda been in the room with Verhoven when he opened that email…

  30. I want to correct a correction that Devin Faraci made on his “Badass Digest” sight:

    http://www.badassdigest.com/2010/12/08/rumor-control-alien-prequel-is-not-called-paradise-is-one-movie

    He claims that a recent The Vulture story on Ridley Scott’s ALIEN prequel is all bullshit because

    1. some suit from Fox wrote an ambiguous twitter implying that something on the internet was incorrect

    and

    2. the post said something questionable about the androids in the Alien movies.

    I admit it, I’m a nerd for the ALIENs. I noticed it too. The Vulture post, talking about the characters in the upcoming prequel, said:

    “There’s ‘David,’ who’s actually an android, an earlier version of the Bishop 341-B character that Lance Henriksen famously played in Aliens.”

    But of course this seems weird, since Scott’s earlier movie that he’s now prequelizing already had the android Ash, if anything wouldn’t it be an early version of Ash?

    Faraci points that out, but then adds:

    “and what’s more you wouldn’t have someone else playing a younger version of Bishop, since Alien 3 revealed that Bishop looked like the guy who created him”

    But I think this is also something questionable about the androids, calling *his* whole post into question. In my opinion this is an INCORRECT CORRECTION. Because “the guy who created him” in ALIEN 3, when he gets killed, is revealed to actually be a robot when his head gets bashed and his ear hangs off in a decidedly not-human type way. Right?

    That’s what I thought so I decided to look it up. Turns out there’s some debate about it, but come on dude. The character’s name is “Bishop II”. Does that sound like the name of the guy who created the robot Bishop?

    anyway, it would be good to write this in the comments on the article in question, but it’s a pain in the ass to sign in there so I thought I would take it to a more respectable forum.

  31. Last word on Robocop. I wrote my final film school term paper on the Robocop franchise and the various spin-offs. I interviewed one of the writers and had access to some behind the scenes stuff, so I thought some of ya’ll might like it.

    DO AS THOU WILT’
    THE BALLAD OF ROBOCOP AND TJ LASER

    Early on in 1987’s satirical sci-fi actioner Robocop, Alex Murphy, a young and idealistic police officer living in a futuristic, distopian Detroit watches a children’s show with his son (Verhoven, 1986). The show is “TJ Laser” and it features a cartoonish law enforcement officer who dresses in a cheap plastic uniform and spins his gun before holstering it. In order to appeal more to his son, Murphy masters this trick. A few minutes later, in a sequence of unbelievable sadism, a street gang corners Murphy after a violent bank robbery. They shoot him over and over, blowing away his limbs one by one at point blank range. The scene continues for minutes on end as Murphy slowly bleeds to death before receiving a bullet to the head . And this is just the first act; the origin of the eponymous cyborg. By the end of the film people are melting in toxic waste and engaging in shootouts with scores of casualties. After the film opened to critical raves and did over eight times its’ ten-million dollar budget, the budding franchise experienced a shift every bit as massive and invasive as Murphy’s transformation into Robocop (Miner). It became children’s entertainment. By the third televised iteration of the character he had become almost totally indistinguishable from the cartoon action hero that the original included as a parody. So, how did this film, which was so violent and boundary pushing that its’ bloodletting earned it an X-rating from the MPAA turn into a Saturday morning cartoon aimed at children under the age of ten?
    “It might have been the title,” Said Michael Miner, UCSB professor and co-writer of the original film as well as several episodes of the television series’ (Miner). “It was ironic, you know? But at the same time, what else do you call the damn thing? But yeah, it sounded like a kid’s show and it had a level of name recognition, so that’s what it became.”

    First, let us examine how a children’s television show based upon a film like Robocop could even come into existence. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and so too is the modern history of children’s programming. In 1978, during a period of activism, the FTC began enacting legislation designed to prevent advertisers from setting their sights on children under the age of eight. Their annual report noted, “A rulemaking proceeding to determine whether advertising aimed at children is unfair, and whether it adversely affects their health,” (Pertschuk 1978, 11). Later, in a section dedicated to unintended consequences the report notes, “The Washington Post reports that ‘the ABC television network is cutting back 20 percent of the advertising aimed at children. The move is an obvious response to an [FTC staff] proposal to ban or limit television advertising aimed at children,’” (Pertschuk 1978, 24). Public reaction to this type of legislation was largely negative. The 1970s were ending and the pendulum was quickly swinging toward the ultra-right of the burgeoning Neo-Con movement. This, in addition to immense pressure from children’s cereal and toy manufacturers eventually lead to the FTC losing its’ appropriations in 1979 (Pertschuk 1979). In 1980, the year of Ronald Reagan’s first election, the FTC regained its’ funding with lesser powers as part of the Improvements Act of 1980. Hidden deep within their yearly report was the first crack in the dyke of media regulation. Sandwiched between anti-trust protections for Food Co-Ops and revised rules on trademark protections was the following legalese doublespeak,

    “The Improvements Act placed a three-year moratorium on the Commission’s authority to promulgate rules for unfair commercial advertising, required the Commission to publish the text of its proposed rule on children’s advertising, and limited further action on that rule to only those practices found to be deceptive. The Act withdrew the Commission’s authority to promulgate rules concerning standards and certification pursuant to Section 18 of the FTC Act.
    (Pertschuk 1980, 21-22).

    By the time that this section could be reviewed again it was already too late to stop the onslaught of non-stop marketing to children still too young to fully discern reality from fiction. With Executive Order 12291, Reagan expanded his executive powers to include personal oversight of reform of regulatory commissions (Office of the President). This signaled the beginning of his administrations aggressive movement toward deregulation and cooperation with corporate and business interests, a position diametrically opposed to that of the FTC just three years prior.

    With old regulations removed and new Milton Freeman influenced Reaganomic Neo-Liberalism in place, it was only a short time before TV networks began their race to the bottom. Programs like G.I. Joe and Transformers, both of which amounted to little more than thinly veiled advertisements for their respective toy lines, became massive hits while educational programming all but evaporated, replaced by slick, vapid commercials spaced between 30-second advertisements for high fructose corn syrup, candy bars, and sugar-loaded breakfast cereals. “In the two decades prior to deregulation, kids’ consumer spending increased at a modest rate of roughly 4% a year. Since deregulation, it has grown a remarkable 35% every year, from 4.2 billion dollars in 1984 to 40 billion dollars in 2008 – an 852% increase,” (Barbaro and Earp, 5).

    The decision to create a series based upon such un-family friendly material as Robocop might seem out of left field today in a post-Columbine world where everything a child might encounter has been checked and double-checked to ensure total, politically correct, moral purity. But in the laissez faire deregulated TV world of the 1980s (one of the many satirical targets of the original film, ironically enough), it made more sense. In fact, this was not even the first animated children’s series based upon a hard-R action franchise. That show was Rambo and Forces of Freedom, which premiered in 1986 (Chain). The series, which ran for 65 episodes ostensibly functioned as a clone of G.I. Joe, teaming Stallone’s monosyllabic anti-hero with a multicultural crew of special-ops soldiers who traveled the globe fighting Neo-Nazis in a variety of merchandising-ready outfits .

    In essence, neither of these shows was truly a program. Rather, they were simulacra of television shows. They had the aesthetics and feel of a cartoon but instead existed purely for the purpose of brand extension and expanded marketing. It is of note that Rambo and the Forces of Freedom premiered shortly after Rambo: First Blood Part II bowed in 1985 and ended shortly before the illogically titled Rambo III entered production for a 1988 release. Similarly, Robocop, or Robocop: The Animated Series as it is sometimes called to avoid confusion with the later live action adaptation, premiered in 1988, just over one year after the release of the original film, and left the airwaves shortly before Robocop 2 began its’ troubled production during the writer’s strike of the late 1980s (Miner). These animated series served several purposes: they appealed to children already aware of the franchise but too young to see R-rated films in theaters, which hypothetically increased VHS sales and rentals, they introduced new potential audience members who might be old enough to see sequels down the line, they kept the brand alive in the public consciousness, and they opened new ancillary revenue streams in the form of action figures, t-shirts, lunch boxes, and so on, all of which are products that children are likely to buy where adults would be more reticent.

    But, not to dismiss the series’ out of hand, let us examine their actual content. Robocop: The Animated Series, the first, and arguably best of the spin-offs, keeps a surprising number of elements from the source material. The opening credits depict a quick rundown of the first act of the original. The narration that begins each episode includes the lines, “After being fatally wounded in the line of duty, Officer Murphy is outfitted by OCP with bulletproof, robotic, titanium parts and computer enhanced motor capabilities. He has become the ultimate super cop. Robocop!” over this expository monologue the audience is treated to a variety of gunplay and somewhat disturbing imagery. Chief among these is the inclusion of Murphy’s murder in a POV shot with a bullet fired right into the center of the screen. Interestingly, this intro also covertly alludes to the film’s elements of the duality of man by showing Murphy spinning his gun as a human at the beginning and then showing Robocop spinning his gun as a cyborg at the end. Of course, all elements of sadness are absent, as is any irony in the fact that this image is identical to the satirical TJ Laser from the original, (Hill, Miner).

    Within the show some of the basic elements remain the same; Robocop still has the same partner, he still fights in a futuristic Detroit, and occasionally he is even forced to contend with the larger implications of his pseudo-human form. But just as many things are diluted from the source material as are retained, most prominently the ultraviolence. Whereas the film features a near triple-digit body count, the series features absolutely no fatalities . In fact, despite his plentiful armament, Robocop most often avoids even using a weapon during battle. Too, even though the show features a variety of realistic guns, there are no bullets. Instead, all of the projectiles take the form of multicolored laser beams, most of which ignite explosions, unless they hit a human being, in which case they simply incapacitate him.

    In a daring move for the Reagan 80s, the primary antagonist is named Dr. McNamara, over a decade-and-a-half years before the man would admit in Errol Morris’s searing documentary The Fog of War that his actions would have constituted war crimes had the US not come out victorious (Morris, 2004). Excepting this touch, which is in fact carried over from the source material, almost all elements of satire and social commentary are lost in this version. This makes sense on one level as proselytizing an ultra-ultra left wing doctrine in a children’s show would be wholly inappropriate, not to mention commercially limiting. But at the same time, it also serves to underline how strange it is that a film that was effective precisely because of the aforementioned axe grinding became a children’s cartoon at all.

    These changes make sense only when one frames the argument within the context that Robocop should be a cartoon series. However, without the inky black satire the show becomes antithetical to the film, the point of which is that Robocop is an abomination, the lowest point of man, and a testament to our worst instincts. In removing this element and turning Robocop into an unambiguous hero, the show runners warp the essentially moral and humanitarian message of the original into a gleefully nihilistic variant.

    Surely the makers of this series understood this, at least implicitly, if only because while Robocop is a great many things, subtle is not one of them. Also, both Miner and his co-writer Ed Neumeier wrote episodes for two of the three spin-offs and it would seem highly unlikely that they simply forgot their original intent. So, if it was not accidental, and not malicious given the original author’s inclusion in the creative process, what was it? Clues to the answer can be found within another part of the Robocop universe; the video games.

    The first Robocop video game was released in 1988, the same year as the first TV series. A ZX Spectrum game it too roughly recreated the plot of the first movie. Unlike the TV series’, Robocop is still allowed to kill here, which he does, a lot. In fact, killing is basically the only thing he does in this game. However, as mindless as the violence may seem, it is in fact carefully orchestrated as the “discomfort zone” chart created by the developers clearly displays (Miner, East). The chart is split into three categories: the unacceptable zone, the discomfort zone, and the acceptable zone. Each category of the chart features a series of concepts and ideas. The unacceptable zone features cannibalism, sex, hero as the villain (ie Freddy Kruger), and — oddly enough for a video game that consists entirely of punching, kicking, jumping, and shooting — unnecessary violence. The discomfort zone features the difference between “Getting killed” and “being got” as well as the inclusion of real people versus a robot hero, unclear political messages set in the present day, and a comment that Mad Max is not funny because it’s too bleak. The acceptable zone is defined by “Aliens and Nasties,” robots, and property damage, (East).

    This is the mentality that bred Robocop: The Animated Series. The show runners had an edgy property with a great potential to offend. But at the same time, it was also a property with great name recognition, iconic imagery, and toy-friendly aesthetics (Miner). Without the constraints of a governing body demanding some form of social relevance, or failing that, preventing producers from selling literally X-rated content to the prepubescent set, the show lost all integrity and became a crassly commercial mishmash of ideas that existed first to sell breakfast cereal and second to tell a worthwhile story. Clearly all they wanted was the name and the brilliant cyborg suit design, but in trying to keep some elements of the feature, they succeeded only in totally misrepresenting it.

    And all of this is to say nothing of the very bottom of the chart, a parent approved “Fantastical Future,” which is exactly where the second animated series, titled Robocop Alpha Commando went. The multitude of problems with Robocop Alpha Commando begin with the title. What is an “Alpha Commando?” Moreover, is Robocop a police officer or some kind of military figure? The films certainly implied a growing link between the two, but there does not seem to be any commentary of that type occurring in this title, or anywhere in this show. Based upon the (ever-changing) proportions of his character model, it would be a fair guess to assume that he is an NFL linebacker. Whereas the original placed Robocop as an abomination and the first series positioned him somewhat ambiguously, the pilot of this final version out and out supports the idea that Robocop is not only just as good as a human being, he’s better. “There were three rules when we started Robocop. He can’t fly. He doesn’t get the girl. And he doesn’t have a kid sidekick. By Robocop 3 you had all thee. It was fucking ridiculous,” Said Miner. Robocop Alpha Commando not only has Robocop flying, it has him transforming into gadgets, using extend-o arms and…dancing on rollerblades. And that’s just the opening credits.

    The whole arc of this franchise can be summarized in two key elements, the character of TJ Laser in the original, which existed as a parody of what people expected from the title “Robocop” and the discomfort zone chart created by the video game developers. It’s almost as if these two elements were taken as a coda. Every new version has served to strip away, piece by piece everything that made Robocop unique, boiling it down to a marketable name and a demographic appeal. Each new entry offers a step down the ladder of the discomfort zone chart. The original existed almost wholly in the unacceptable realm. The first series fell into the discomfort zone. The second animated series skipped the acceptable zone and went right to the most family friendly place of all. What began as a rallying cry against the policies of Reaganomics became a victim of that very same system that encouraged lowest common denominator thinking and crass commercialization. The narrative and politics subverted by a system that encouraged profit over all else, even as these were exactly the things that the original skewered. It is perhaps a testament to the presence of the original that it was fighting against the very economic and social climate that would eventually destroy the franchise, laws that were being passed and/or repealed in the year of the film’s initial release. By removing safeguards of responsible programming the policies of Reaganomics dumbed down the debate to the point where no one bothered to question whether it was a good idea to make a family-friendly Robocop, only whether it would be profitable. And just like Old Detroit, Robocop crumbled to make way for a new Delta City of mediocrity.

  32. Also, Bishop II is totally a robot. Alien is way too influenced by Phillip K. Dick for there not to be a robot who thinks he is the inventor of all robots, but is actually still just a robot.

  33. re: ALIENS. Didn’t Lance Henrikson show up as the guy Bishop was based on in ALIEN VS PREDATOR? Or is that considered non-canon by fans?

  34. Game of Thrones has incest in it. What more could you want in an HBO series?

  35. Fans tend to ignore the AvP movies. Also the blood of Bishop 2 was red. I always considered the hanging ear something that Fincher (or whoever was responsible on that day) put in, just because it looked cool

  36. And thanks for the new thread vern.

    Fyi, all yer Seagalogy books sold out the first week we got em at our student bookstore. So we gots more ordered. Cheers!

  37. CJ , Hunter :Thanks. I don’t really watch TV series , but sometimes I enjoy mini-series , and , of course , I was interested in Prime Directives. While it still doesn’t sound really all that good , I will try to find it just for the violence factor . You know , after the 3rd movie , the series and the cartoons , Robocop needs a little bit of balls back .

  38. Hey Vern, when are you expecting to see BLACK SWAN? I promise it’s a hoot! Totally worth seeing, though I’m not 100% sure for the reasons Aronofsky intended (my reactions in the original Potpourri thread).

  39. Hunter, that was great.

  40. Dan,
    We have a pretty healthy annual documentary film festival here in my town every year called “True/False”. Not as clever as yours, maybe they should change it. Or there could be a sub-festival with your title that was only French documentaries.

  41. Since I haven’t had anywhere else to ask this:
    I saw part of a movie on cable in a hotel in the mid-nineties that I have never been able to forget, but also have never found out what movie it was.
    One scene shows a dude in a swamp, like knee-deep water, carrying a little girl with dark, shoulder-length hair. He is young too, and I think is supposed to be her brother. There’s bad, Rambo-esque guys trying to kill them, and at some point a grenade gets thrown. I think it might be raining to, everything’s wet, and the tones are grays and browns. The dude gets the girl to a white bed in a white room, then leaves. He goes to a mansion and waits in the lobby area for the older bad guy to leave his dinner guests and meet him. When he does, the dude whips out a thin little wire and strangles the bad guy.
    That’s all I remember, anybody have any ideas what movie this was?

  42. AVP did kind of screw things up a bit with it’s introduction of Charles Bishop Weyland, suggesting that future models of the android his company invented would be made in his image. Ash looks nothing like him for a start, and if you consider Henrickson’s character in A3 was an android, it makes sense that the company would try to coerce Ripley with a familiar face.

  43. Wow , Hunter , that was awesome .

  44. “These animated series served several purposes: they appealed to children already aware of the franchise but too young to see R-rated films in theaters”
    I thought the R-Rating allowed kids to see movies in theaters if accompanied by an adult in the US? Which I’ve always thought was what really was the cause of outrage over film content. If they just classified films with an age you have to be, with no room for kids to get in, then there’d be less crap over what they’d be “exposed” to. I mean check this out:
    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2009/03/the_watchmen_li.html
    So just because she had a preconception of what a comic book movie would be like excuses her from realising it’s an R-Rated movie and probably contains stuff kids shouldn’t see? Not to mention all the stuff she gets wrong about what happens in it and how she wasn’t following that it was an alternate history as she thinks they got the facts “wrong on purpose”.

  45. Man, I hate when people say “the plot, if this can really be called a plot.” As if it was GUMMO or something. OF COURSE IT CAN BE CALLED A PLOT, it’s a very complex and carefully constructed mystery story. That kind of nonsensical shit is for little kids to say about movies, not adults who get paid to write about them.

  46. I saw TANGLED a few weeks ago (the Disney cartoon of Rapunzel) and it wasn’t bad for a kid’s movie. I thought it was interesting that it had a subtle shout-out to BLADE RUNNER in it – early in the movie we are shown that a minor character collects tiny ceramic unicorns, and late in the movie we see a tiny ceramic unicorn in a window sill which has been left there as a sign. It’s not a mark of genius or anything but it is a little more evolved than the artless, obvious references that SHREK has been throwing at us for ten years.

  47. Wait…who was denying that any film/property here had a plot?

  48. Debbie Schlussel, apparently.

  49. Wow. That was easily the worst review I’ve ever read, and I am not a fan of the movie or the book. But on the upside, reading the laundry list of WATCHMEN’s atrocities kind of makes me want to see it again. This must be because I saw ROBOCOP in the theater when I was nine and so I grew up messed up.

  50. Wow, that article reads like parody. I also checked out her piece on Friday the 13th, which contains a totally real, no way she made it up just to make her asinine point, conversation/confrontation with another person in the the theater.

  51. From her bio: **You can read her popular twice-weekly online column, “Debbie Does Politics,” on the Internet, at http://www.PoliticalUSA.com, where she is a Contributor/Columnist and her own website, debbieschlussel.com. Schlussel is also a frequent New York Post, Jerusalem Post, and Vancouver Province columnist. Her columns have often been read on the air by Rush Limbaugh, on whom she broke the Monday Night Football story. Schlussel’s columns have also frequently appeared on the Knight-Ridder Newswire and in several major newspapers, including The Washington Times, The New York Post, The Jerusalem Post, The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Wisconsin State Journal. She has also written columns for FOXNews.com.**

    1st of all, that’s a funny name for a column.

    2nd, The Washington Times is NOT a “major newspaper.” It’s a rag. A laughingstock. It may *sound* legit — yeah, it’s got the word “Washington” and the word “Times” in there — but it’s garbage, and lightweight, flimsy garbage at that. I bought a copy on a rainy DC day for 25 cents a few years ago when I left the Hyatt to go to the Pentagon b/c my umbrella had broke.

    Finally, **Yup, this is the garbage that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Warner Brothers and Paramount are marketing toward your kids. All of these studios have a piece in this movie. And even thought the budget was just $100 to $125 million, because of a long legal battler between WB and Fox, the legal fees and pay-out make it such that they must recoup at least $200 or 300 million and make a profit. To do so, they are pimping the movie to all niches, especially your young kids.**

    It’s good to see her take such a principled stand against these evil, depraved bigwigs. **She has also written columns for FOXNews.com.** **Yup, this is the garbage that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Warner Brothers and Paramount are marketing toward your kids. ** **Columns she’s written in the New York Post and appearances she’s made on “O’Reilly Factor”: [list of “accomplishments” that ensued from being on BillO’s show]** **Yup, this is the garbage that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Warner Brothers and Paramount are marketing toward your kids. **

  52. Also, it’s hilarious to me that a person with multiple advanced degrees is such a terrible writer. No flow, wacky commas & parentheticals, plus she felt the need to specify here: **You can read her popular twice-weekly online column, “Debbie Does Politics,” on the Internet, at http://www.PoliticalUSA.com. . .**

    Her column is available to read, ON THE INTERNET.

    Thanks for that clarification.

  53. Her ONLINE column is available to read ON THE INTERNET at the following WEBSITE.

    Wait, is this some kind of newsletter or pamphlet or something? I don’t get it. I’m confused. Watching R-rated movies has turned my brains to mush.

  54. Used to be, folks took pride in their writing. They’d proofread. They’d condense complex ideas into word count-limited articles, but they’d find a way to make it witty, concise, and clear. And they’d be able to defend themselves and their positions based on the words they had already published or spoken.

    Now, it seems, even the writer whose “online fan club is the Internet’s second largest for a political personality” prefers just to throw stuff out there so long as that stuff has regular bits of the opinion part that people want to read to confirm their own politics, wordsmithship/grammar/clarity be damned.

    **A few lines of dialogue by the character “Rorschach” deriding “liberals and intellectuals” doesn’t excuse the nearly three hours of poison here.** SEE? THIS MOVIE ALMOST GOT IT RIGHT FOR A BRIEF MOMENT! I gave it a chance, see, cuz it sorta has one redeeming quality in one of the psychotic characters with whom I identify. You can tell cuz I put this comment on “deriding ‘liberals and intellectuals'” here. Hey, don’t we all hate those “intellectuals?” They think they’re so smart and stuff, with their fancy, you know, thoughts, and words. . . OH I HATE INTELLECTUALS SO MUCH NOW HERE’S ANOTHER STRING OF BULLET POINTS FOR WHICH I HAD TO TURN OFF HALF MY BRAIN SO THAT I COULD PUBLISH THIS AND APPEAL TO YOU IDIOTS B/C THANK GOD AT LEAST WE AGREE WE ALL HATE INTELLECTUALS. . .

    That’s how I read this particular online internet web movie review of a film played in a movie theatre.

  55. Anyone know where I can view the latest Justin Bieber music videos?

  56. If you take your kids to see “Watchmen,” you’re a moron.
    If you see it yourself, you’re also probably a moron and a vapid, indecent human being.

    Wow, she and Armond White need to get together.

  57. I love how she complains about the “heroic trailers”(set to the “We’ll watch the world devoured in it’s pain” and “Yeah you’ll burn, yeah you’ll burn in hell, you’ll burn in hell” songs, and with one of the protagonists saying he won’t save the world when it asks him to) was a “lie”, then complains about a bunch of things that WERE in the trailers. Manhattan nude, Manhattan blowing people up, Comedian thrown out a window (but not actually shown hitting the ground like she said).

  58. re Jek Porkins
    Sounds like John Woo’s Blackjack. Or Swamp Thing.

  59. THANKS heimp. I’ve tried SWAMP THING, it would be funny if it was BLACKJACK as I have documented my Woo love here multiple times but have not seen this one. That’s when I know I tried to be a geek, but failed.

  60. Since this miscellaneous section is still going , I will post this here . I’ve just finished watching Three Kingdoms : Resurrection of the Dragon, the DTV movie with Sammo Hung mentioned in the Red Cliff comments section, and it was very enjoyable. It still has some TV derived elements to it that are not very good , like that “blurred-slow-motion” effect and cheap CGI , and it obviously has a fraction of the budget of the Woo movie , but I was truly entertained . There are some big battles and set pieces , with lots of extras running around , and some good , well staged fights , one with Zhang Fei and Guan Yu against Zhao Yun that surprised me . Maggie Q is in another good fight and in my opinion she’s used better here than in any American movie. Andy Lau is a good lead and the movie even has some major male bonding scenes , like a nod to Mr. Woo himself .
    For the book fans , you will see Zhuge Liang and Cao Cao , but also all Five Tiger Generals under the command of Liu Bei , even if only for a brief moment . All in all , I was impressed .

  61. This belongs in the RED CLIFF thread, CallMeKermit. Unacceptable. Too many people are respectfully discussing the new Woo.

    C’mon, have some respect for the integrity of the Potpourri 2 we’re trying to sustain here. Honestly. If you can’t pontificate on the Bieber, just save it for Monday, yah?

  62. I think my favorite potpourri is the kind that smells like citrus.

    I dislike the vanilla and the cedar-scented potpourri.

  63. Mouth : You’re right , I’m ashamed of myself . I think I will just copy and paste the above post in the Red Cliff comments . All hail the Bieber and Robo-Unicorn.

  64. Someone should make a fantasy version of Robocop: UNICOP! Part man, part unicorn, all cop!

  65. I’m sorry guys, CMK, I swear these comments make more sense before my brand new wireless keyboard mangles them. There was supposed to be, like, 3-4 other sentences that included a joke that makes sense & something about how CMK is awesome, but there’s some sort of strange “undo last typing” function that I can’t control, and the copy & paste is jacked up. Fuck that keyboard. This is so embarrassing for me, especially as an 18E.

    I fully stand by my stance on scented potpourri, however.

  66. VOLCANO was on local TV today. I haven’t seen it properly since an 11th Birthday party, I thought it was terrible even then and have never heard anything to convince me I was wrong. However, is it just me or is playing I LOVE LA at the end a genuinely perverse, wierd and possibly even subversive touch?

  67. This Debbie Schlussel lady is kind of a riot. I read her Friday the 13th review as well and I love how she referred to the black folks in the audience who brought their crying children with terms like “baby mama” and “baby daddy,” and made broad generalizations like “I bet his mother is raising his child” AFTER assuring us her attacks had nothing to do with their race because there was a white woman she was going to complain about too. It’s cool that she has a little vitriol for everyone, but she didn’t just bash the first couple of people for bad parenting/etiquette she relished the fact that they were making mistakes and black. She doesn’t use nearly as much derogatory language for the white ladies.

    Also, I think this lady is not only pretty ignorant, but pretty. She brought up Deep Throat in her Friday the 13th column which I thought was great because the world would certainly be better served by her shoving things into her mouth than spewing them out.

  68. Hey Guys,

    Sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but I’ve been trying to think of ways to get more interested folks to my daily American Studies blog (one interesting American thing per day, at americanstudier.blogspot.com), and honestly the best way I coudl think to do it is to tap into the most interesting and engaging internet comments sections. And this one has to be way up there!

    Some of the topics are directly related to film, music, and the other things that most often come up here. But it seems to me that (per the Debbie S. discussion above!) you guys tend to be interested in a whole lot of the same stuff I am as well. So I wanted to give the plug, anyway. Feel free of course to ignore, but if you do come over, please please please feel even freer to share your own perspectives and ideas and voices in the comments.

    Thanks, take care,
    Ben

  69. Ben: I’ll feel so betrayed if you use that line “the most interesting and engaging internet comments sections” on another web site. It would just cheapen the whole magic moment we have shared.

  70. I bet he says that to all the websites.

  71. Since we’re talking miscellaneous stuff thought I’d mention that I’m doing my best to spread the gospel of Yippee Kay Yay Moviegoer before the holiday season.

    http://thingthatdontsuck.blogspot.com/2010/12/mini-holiday-gift-guide-for-film-geeks.html
    http://thingthatdontsuck.blogspot.com/2010/12/stuff-ive-been-reading-november.html

    Also thanks for the heads up on Destroy All Movies and They Live (book). Both were well worth it.

  72. Eminem is doing a boxing movie.

    http://www.deadline.com/2010/12/dreamworks-teams-with-eminem-and-kurt-sutter-for-southpaw/

    I guess he’s Not Afraid of hits to the face.

    *groan*

  73. Jareth C. and Mr. M: I swear on my original poster for The Man Who Would Be King, signed by Michael Caine, that I have never uttered (in an electronic way) those words to any other internet comment sections and/or their frequenters.

  74. Michael Caine you say?
    Here’s how to impersonate Caine, by messrs. Coogan and Brydon.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OknH4ILMu8g

  75. Man those Golden Globe Nominations today are crazy. Did you see the Best Picture (Comedy/Musical) nominees? Alice in Wonderland, RED, Burlesque, Kids are all Right, and The Tourist?? I didn’t even think The Tourist was a comedy so I guess those ads are a little misleading. Or maybe it’s a musical. Nobody liked Alice or Burlesque, and too bad Kids just wasn’t any good and left a bad taste in your mouth.

    I didn’t like RED very much, but damnit, I’m rooting for it to win here.

  76. I thought RED was ok, more satisfying and entertaining than COP OUT was.

  77. The new Fast/Furious movie (Fast Five) finally has a trailer.

    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150100009854789

    It looks fucking sweet.

  78. I wouldn’t usually bother with celeb gossip stuff, but this too fascinating not to see. Nic Cage having an a drunken argument in the Romanian streets; his mega acting extends into his real life as well! He actually shouts “I’ll DIE in the name of honour!” at one point, who actually uses those kind of phrases in real life? Nic goddamn Cage does.

    http://dlisted.com/node/40007

  79. I remixed the MINTY, THE CANDY CANE THAT FELL ON THE GROUND song from Monday’s episode of CONAN, because I’m an idiot with too much free time on his hands. (Well, not that much free time. Otherwise I would have put more effort in it.)
    http://snd.sc/haUotW

  80. Watching The Dead Pool, and the Jim Carrey “Welcome to the Jungle” scene is just…really bizarre.

  81. I like how the GOP effectively helped pass a Second Stimulus.

    Can’t wait for the Tea Party pissyness tomorrow. Hell I might even check in on Hannity to see how he’s taking it.

  82. I’ve been using a single towel as a scarf and a simultaneous sleep mask & pillow for the last 2 days.

  83. Mouth – Hey you heard? Government says we’re winning in Afghanistan!

  84. Blake Edward´s dead and my gal left me. Bad times for comedy!

  85. The other day my gal sat on my chest and sweetly said, “Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri!” I don’t know if I should be scared or turned on.

  86. RRA, a much more reliable source, the LA Times, says we’re winning OEF, too.

    You’re welcome, world. And don’t think you can get away with not giving me a Christmas present just because you’re Muslim, Afghanistan. I could use another necktie, hint hint.

  87. I just have to share that Roger Ebert’s review for MAD DOG TIME concludes, compeltely out of the blue, with the simple, phrase,

    “Mad Dog Time” should be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor.”

    Today I learned that Roger Ebert is God’s greatest miracle.

  88. Vincento – Yesterday I sported a bad French accent and kept tripping over shit in his honor.

    Mr. S – Alot of times Ebert can be wacky (4 stars for KNOWING?) but generally I dig him for three reasons: #1 I tend to agree basically with him most of the time. I can trust him and Travers. And Vern of course. #2 has no shame in publicly expressing joy for popcorn junk i.e. SUDDEN DEATH and CONGO. #3 When motivated and enraged (i.e. by a bad movie or the GOP), his wit is as sharp as any blade out there.

    I consider his TRANSFORMERS 2 review beatdown a masterpiece. Don’t piss him off or he’ll talk smack back at ya through his computer box.

    Mouth – I never read the LAT. Is it more reliable, or is that sarcasm that I can’t detect?

  89. Oh and DADT repeal passed! Well the filibuster-proof vote did, it’ll pass later today or tomorrow or something for sure.

    Mouth – Your thoughts?

    Oh and Fox News is pissed. This is gonna destroy the military now, and their visualization is quite stunning:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol5Dfs7jqFI

  90. My thoughts, RRA? Hmmmm.

    I saw on the news recently that a fellow operator told a congressional DADT impact report committee: “We have a gay guy [in our spec-ops unit]. He’s big, he’s mean, and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay.”

    That sounds about right as far as it pertains to my current job.

    Other Army guys will adjust, adapt, and overcome, just like they do with everything else. Gay jokes & sarcastic homoerotic lingo will continue as strong as ever in most units.

    MARK MY WORDS:
    One of these days, soon, there will be some dickhead who beats up an openly gay soldier/airman/marine, and it will make big, headline news for about 72 hours. There will suddenly be further debate on DADT repeal. There will be further debate about whether the beating/murder qualifies as a hate crime. A bunch of right-wingers will somewhat quietly say, probably through codewords and oblique diction, some form of “I told you so. We told you this would happen b/c the military isn’t ready for this change, etc..” These idiots will get equal media attention for at least 1 news cycle until someone makes clear that the policy change isn’t wrong, but rather that the hate some people reserve for gay people is wrong.

    There will be further debate on whether it was wise to expect a behavior or mentality change in people and whether liberals are responsible for enacting change too quickly on a population full of backward-thinking imbeciles, but the language in this debate will be much softer in the mainstream media than what I type here.

    Someone will issue a “breaking report” that consists of exposing the shortcomings of the Army’s attempts to counsel soldiers on the new policy. There will be further debate about the ridiculous notion that maybe “liberals” & Obama are incompetent as military leaders, and the violent outliers, the actions or words of a very few rednecks in uniform, will be held as “proof” of a failed policy change.

    *****************************
    Honestly, I think people years or decades from now will be shamefully embarrassed at their attitudes, their neighbors’ attitudes, or their tolerance of attitudes that are blatantly or implicitly tacitly anti-homosexual. This repeal is a step in the right direction on an issue that some blessed day, probably in the 22nd century, will not be an issue.

    No homo.

  91. Mouth – What the future will shake their head at, besides the obvious, is how long and hard it took to get the damn thing passed.

    Of course logically this was a no-brainer. Last Gallup poll, 76% Americans supported repeal including a majority of GOP respondents. I’m sure FNC never reported this little fact. Or for that matter, how many years has Israel/Australia/UK/Canada had that shit in and nothing happened?

    That’s what gets me: These NeoCons (like McCain) effectively argued that those foreigners (with respectable hardcore military pasts) could handle it, but not America. We’re not strong or tough enough apparently. Way to argue for your country, you idiots.

    Of course DADT I suppose was never about DADT in itself, but what it represented.

    It represents the turning of the tide for the good fight, now the government is effectively saying it’s not illegal to be a kickass queer out in the clear like Gay Perry or Shore Leave. Hell earlier this same decade the Supreme Court finally ruled (by a ridiculous 5-4 count) that sodomy wasn’t illegal. Ted Haggard was glad to hear that.

    Not now, not even in the next years I suppose, but eventually all those states (under Tea Party-elected governments) will repeal all those discrimination laws where you can fire a University/state employee for their sex orientation. Clinton’s greatest disgrace DOMA will fall, mostly likley in the courts. I mean Ted Olsen (a GOPer) fucking bloody dissected Prop 8 at a court hearing this side of that poor frog you opened up back in school.

    I thought most of this before today, but here is the big difference afterwards: I thought it was probably eventually. Now I know its inevitable.

  92. Also if we do strike that nuke plant in Iran, we’ll be dropping the gay bomb on them. Except Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs might actually enjoy it, then blame the West for why they’re dancing to ABBA.

  93. I’m glad that the discussion is going in a more political direction , because that’s what I wanted when I first saw a new miscellaneous section. Maybe you already know the situation here in Italy ( we’ve got invaluable monuments in Pompei falling apart , a trash , garbage crisis in the southern regions that is an embarassment to all of us , almost all of the working classes manifesting in the streets and half the nation paralized by the weather) , but all we hear over here is that Obama has failed , that he’s in big trouble . To me , is really hard to imagine a greater failure, as a leader , than Berlusconi , but I want to know your opinion , you know , from the inside , since I don’t trust our own news outlets all that much .

  94. GO HOMO OR GO HOME!

  95. Kermit – Better question, how did Berlusconi escape the No Confidence vote? Dude is fucking bullet proof, no sells like Hulk Hogan or something.

    As for Obama “failing”….well the liberal base (including Vern I bet) were fucking pissed about him caving to the GOP on extending Bush Tax Cuts, but did get an extension on Unemployment benefits and here is the real political kicker.

    Those Tea Party neanderthals campaigned on cutting spending, cutting deficit, and what does the new GOP do with their votes/money? Help muscle in a giant Second Stimulus, this time with their blood tied to it. Notice how the NeoCons realized too late what just happened and were screaming bloody murder. I know this because Romney “opposed” the Tax Deal, and he’ll fucking say anything to get a vote from that base that won’t vote for him and his Mormonism regardless.

    Is it bad for deficit? Absolutely, but politics its a win for Obama, signaling perhaps a triangulation of the GOP like Clinton did. Hell even Krautkramer that Fox News wanker admitted as much, dubbing him “The New Comeback Kid.”

    Besides to quote Karl Rove: “Nobody votes on the deficit.”

    Now with DADT passed, the Latinos pissed at the GOP even more for killing DREAM Act (that vote was covered live on Telemundo), and hope to rationality that START passes too*, I think Obama is doing ok.

    That is if the economy picks up in the next 2 years, and if the GOP truely stupid enough to nominate Palin. I hope they are.

    *=It’s bad when George H.W. Bush had to publicly pitch his support START to the NeoCons, and Sen. Lugar (R) the other day had a 40 minute speech where he basically chewed out of Kyl for trying to block START. That was awesome.

  96. Oh and because you all demanded it, here is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council getting pissed about the DADT repeal:

    “Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda. This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military’s ability to fulfill its mission.”

    You hear that Mouth? You’ve been hijacked! Oh noooz!

  97. On a semi-related note. Why is gay marriage the center of the gay rights movement? What the fuck is up with that shit? How does that serve the vast majority of LGBTQIA folks in any way?

    To me it seems like it’s a bigger deal that you can kill someone for being gay in many (most?) states and it’s not a hate crime. It’s a bigger deal to me that you can be fired in many (most?) states for being openly gay. It’s a bigger deal to me that it is socially acceptable for mainstream media figures to say shit like, “9/11 was G-ds retribution for allowing gays in our society.” The total lack of funding for AIDS research. The underfunding of public resources for those with AIDS who are not rich. Universal health care for every citizen. The right for a woman to control her fertility, both with access to a safe and legal abortion, and to not be coerced into taking unsafe forms of birth control like the Depo shot, as many women have been asked to do in exchange for unemployment monies.

    The idea that gay marriage is what everyone should be fighting for is retarded. Gay marriage is almost wholly symbolic and is predicated upon the idea that straight culture is the “norm” or the “default” that should be emulated. Why should gay culture have to emulate straight culture in the first case? It benefits well to do, white gay men. It does much less for a bisexual black woman working in a steel mill. Ya’dig?

  98. Hunter – Again like DADT, marriage is more symbolic than anything else, even if full marriage rights gives more legal protection from the state and right-wing assholes with a divorce rate equal/higher than the rest of the country.

    Or to put it another way, what did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 achieve? Public shared access to toilets and other public facilities like schools. Didn’t do anything about a problem we still have now, where it seems like the most funded/best schools are mostly white and the worst/least funded are black schools.

    And what happened after that and Voting Rights Act of 1965 got passed? Nixon and later Republicans started/maintained Benign Neglect.

    Funny enough, you know who else is super hard for gay marriage? The Marriage and Divorce Law industries. Each have calculated hundreds of millions of extra profit FOR EACH if America made gay marriage totally legal.

  99. Yeah, I mean, I GET why gay marriage is important. But you know what’s more important? Hate crime legislation. Sodomy laws. Protection against massive social injustices that directly effect a much larger percentage of the queer population on a day to day basis. It seems like the cart leading the horse.

    And I still don’t see why there is this push to emulate straight culture as if it were the only type of culture that could exist.

  100. Hunter D. – Good points, and they’re true. Not disagreeing with you there.

    As for culture, I guess its like the 1960s when Motown took protective measures to have their artists taught to speak clealry and softly and dress mainstream-friendly enough to be acceptable to white customers.

    Or for that matter, Sidney Poitier.

  101. Hunter, I think gay marriage or domestic partnership is a huge civil right because of things that straight couples take for granted, including getting health insurance for your spouse, being able to visit them in the hospital, inheritances, shit like that. Even in liberal Washington state it was only recently that we passed an “everything but marriage” bill that would allow gay couples to have the same rights as straight couples, and from what I understand it’s a misnomer, there’s still a bunch of things missing there.

    The things you mentioned are all important, but so is this. Like anybody else a gay person’s life isn’t all about fucking, many of them also fall in love and want to share their life with somebody else. A church can choose whether or not to endorse that, but it’s bullshit for the government to only grant those rights to straight people.

    I used to feel similar about gays in the military, though. I thought “the big right you want to fight for is to be able to be sent off to Iraq?” But I feel differently now. Obviously everybody should be treated equally, so any step forward toward that is a good one, and somebody who wants to serve their country shouldn’t have to hide their lives for fear of losing their job.

  102. I think there is a difference between understanding how to interact in polite culture and putting all of the social power and political capital of the gay rights movement into rushing towards an old fashioned and clearly outmoded method of cultural organization. It’s rowing a boat out to get ON a sinking ship.

    I hate to be the one to say it, because in my heart of hearts I am a hopeless romantic, but marriage does not work. At least not for most people in the modern world. Equanimity between the genders and expanded options for women have destroyed the old social forces that kept most relationships in a sort of co-dependent stasis. Too, the Reagan years and the ensuing erosion of the middle class lifestyle has left us in a world where if you pretty much HAVE to have both partners working full time, just to make ends meet. As such, many of the basic reasons for marriage no longer apply. Thus, the massive increase in divorce.

    more than 50% of marriages fail…why not just try something new. The older gay couples I know sure seem happier than the older straight couples.

  103. “We are now stuck with sexual deviants serving openly in the U.S. military because of turncoat Republican senators … Had the cloture vote failed, we would still have sane moral and sexual standards governing military personnel policy. But sadly those days are gone, perhaps forever.” – American Family Association

    ““If the lame-duck Congress succeeds in ‘gaying down’ our military this weekend, it will take a disastrous leap toward “mainstreaming” deviant, sinful homosexual conduct – not just in the military but in larger society — thus further propelling America’s moral downward spiral.” – Peter LaBarbera

  104. Okay. I’m getting pretty far off point.

    What I mean to say is, I think that it would be an easier sell to say, “Hey, if you kill someone while screaming ‘faggot!’ at them, then, like, that should be a hate crime, dude.” And I think it would be an easier sell to say, “Hey, like, you might not like a gay dude, but like, he should be able to have a job, dude. And like, you shouldn’t be able to fire him just for being gay.”

    If you worked on those civil rights issues, you would build steam. You would acclimate people towards a greater understanding of humanity. You work your way UP to the thing that’s gonna have the biggest emotional appeals against it. By starting with gay marriage rather than hate crime legislation, you blow your social capital. You end up squabbling over the marriage thing, and then you have no energy and funding left to deal with the hate crimes thing.

    It seems to me that hate crimes, job protections, and equal access to health care are more fundamental issues. Issues that apply to damn near ALL of the LGBTQIA community, whereas marriage applies to only a well funded fraction.

  105. Okay. I’m getting pretty far off point.

    What I mean to say is, I think that it would be an easier sell to say, “Hey, if you kill someone while screaming ‘f****t!’ at them, then, like, that should be a hate crime, dude.” And I think it would be an easier sell to say, “Hey, like, you might not like a gay dude, but like, he should be able to have a job, dude. And like, you shouldn’t be able to fire him just for being gay.”

    If you worked on those civil rights issues, you would build steam. You would acclimate people towards a greater understanding of humanity. You work your way UP to the thing that’s gonna have the biggest emotional appeals against it. By starting with gay marriage rather than hate crime legislation, you blow your social capital. You end up squabbling over the marriage thing, and then you have no energy and funding left to deal with the hate crimes thing.

    It seems to me that hate crimes, job protections, and equal access to health care are more fundamental issues. Issues that apply to damn near ALL of the LGBTQIA community, whereas marriage applies to only a well funded fraction.

  106. Obama has been dubbed “The New Comeback Kid” by Fox News ? Wow , that’s why I like to ask some questions around here , almost all we get is how Obama has failed , especially with the health care reform . What do you guys think about that particular reform ?

    And , RRA , Berlusconi dodged another bullet with the No Confidence , with a combination of people changing sides ( there was almost a brawl in our parliament ) , people changing sides after last week change of sides and people just not voting at all. Three guys changed sides even from my party . They’re talking about “soccer market” ( because , you know , since we’re Italians everything must be explained with soccer ) , and one man from “Future and Liberty” ( the splinter cell from Berlusconi party , “Freedom’s People” , the group that started all this No Confidence business ) said that the Premier tried to buy him . But it’s a really narrow victory , now I want to see him trying to do something , anything , with those numbers.

  107. Hunter D. – After DADT, a new issue comes up: Guaranteeing Gay “married” spouses be entitled to their military benefits.

    CallMeKermiT – Others may have better knowledge to explain it better, but here is the geist: Originally it was to be a government mandate, public option. But then the GOP and moderate/conservative Democrats refused to support unless all that marxist stuff got taken out. It was, and those fuckers still didn’t vote for it.

    HCR has problems, and if those TeaParty state Attorney Generals and activist NeoCon judges get their way, it’ll be degutted and the problems will grow.

    But none the less, Obama got America’s foot in the door for HCR. Further reform, additions, fix-ups will happen long after Obama retires to write a boring (heavy advanced paycheck) memoir and give corporate junket speeches for 6 figures.

    It’s a start.

    As for that tanned, teenie couchie hunting mother fucker you have for PM, how much of the national media does he own/control? I mean just asking and that would make sense. Imagine if Rupert Murdoch was President or Prime Minister, that I guess is how it would be like.

  108. RRA : Yeah , that’s about right , the Murdoch comparison. I can tell of 2 TV news channels in all of Italy with a little more freedom (but not that much ) in their work ethic . Imagine , we have 3 big national , state owned channels ( 2 of them with center-right political views , his allies ). The Premier owns 3 channels by himself alone , shares in other regional channels , his own pay-per-view channel and a boatload of newspapers , including one of the biggest publishers of books over here . He , literally , makes money from everything.

  109. I will tell you even more. With all this Wikileaks shitstorm that’s going on , it seems that our Prime Minister will make even more money from the new gas-tunnels that we’re building from Russia , thanks to his friend Putin . But , hey , they’re telling us that all these leaked documents are unreliable or just bullshit , so maybe that’s a lie….
    Yeah , right .

  110. I feel like Obama gets a bum rap. Now he’s being criticized for not being the all powerful savior that we, his supporters, were falsely accused of believing he was gonna be. Of course I’m disappointed that he gave in to extending Bush’s ridiculous tax cuts for the super rich (should be called the “Dollars 4 Diddy” program), but I’m not positive he had a better choice. Not only is he stuck trying to clean up an unprecedented mess after 8 years of Bush, but he has to do it with the entire Republican party literally and openly believing that their job in government is to stop the government from accomplishing anything at all. To the point where they even stopped a bill for helping the firefighters, paramedics and cops who responded to 9-11 pay for the medical bills from breathing in all those deadly ashes!

    Since he’s up against that, sadly I think Obama is right that he can only accomplish things through slow, strategic, tortoise vs. the hare methods that are completely ignored by the media and therefore not known to the general public. Yes, it sucks that the health care reform doesn’t do nearly enough. But the alternative, with any other president, would be that they wouldn’t have even gotten any, or tried to. At least here we will have some improvements and then when the world doesn’t explode they can add more to it.

    Same with gay rights. He’s been getting shit from the gay rights movement for not living up to his promise to end DADT, but it wasn’t like he could just push a button and make it happen. Now it looks like the strategy they used paid off. Give him some credit.

    Here’s a little thing that happened under this adminstration that I’ve never heard anybody praise: banks are no longer allowed to give you “overdraft protection” unless you opt into it. Most people in the media and government would never understand that that was something to crow about, but for people who live from paycheck to paycheck it’s a big deal not to have to worry about making a mistake that overdrafts your account and now you’re in the negative and owe them more money because of their “protection.”

    (I’m not positive who started that legislation, I’m not trying to give Obama the credit, but it’s an example of good things that have happened that nobody acknowledges or even notices)

    Most of all I respect that Obama seems honest to me, he admits mistakes and disappointments and doesn’t bury everything in bullshit like most presidents. Unfortunately this doesn’t go over well with the media either, because they assume we’re all idiots and prefer politicians to talk to us as if we are. They disrespect him for not trying to simplify everything.

    I think we’re being played. Nobody on our side ever believed Obama could or wanted to turn America into a liberal wonderland. We just hoped he’d make an honest attempt to clean up some of this mess, and he has. Now we’re supposed to be upset that he hasn’t quickly accomplished things that we never believed he could accomplish in the first place. Liberals are being asked to disavow him for not being liberal enough. But if somebody replaces him, fellas, it’s not gonna be Dennis Kucinich.

  111. This may seem like I’m mincing words, but I think it’s important; Sean Combs is not wealthy. He is not a member of the super rich elite. He is worth about 350 million dollars. That’s really well off, obviously. But he is not a member of the real players club. I don’t care what sports star gets a hundred million dollar contract. I’m more interested in the guy who can afford to give the sports player a hundred million dollar contract and in so doing, makes a billion dollars for himself.

    I’m talking the REAL capitalists who really own pretty much everything. We obsess over Tom Cruise making 20 million dollars a film, (actually, much more than that during his heyday, he made 100 million for War of the Worlds) but we ignore the folks who are making billions upon billions but because their industries are less sexy they stay out of the limelight and rob us blind because most people are perfectly happy to have an (leased) SUV, an easy chair, and a big screen TV.

    I don’t care about Diddy so much as I care about the guy who stands to make more than Diddy’s entire net worth solely through these tax cuts, which were bought and purchased by the REAL elites, all at the direct expense of you and me.

  112. CallMeKermiT – I wouldn’t put it past that crook from selling out your nation to that gangster Putin for millions to pad out his wallet.

    Vern – Don’t forget student loans.

    There is alot of legitimate criticisms at Obama. His foreign policy is just as right wing as Dubya’s, if not more. He abandoned serious attempts at rectifying the Torture, detainment issues. And doubled down on Afghanistan.

    My inner-cynic likes to think he did all that to insure he won’t get criticized by the GOP if another attack happens. Or for that matter, take the Afghanistan issue completely off the debate table. DNC reusing much of the same language the Dubya RNC used to justify that nonsense at any critic is quietly disturbing.

    That said, there is one net gain positive result from his foreign policy: The wikileaks cables revealed Obama’s success in getting China/Russia (through wheeling & dealing) onboard tougher sanctions against Iran, which are crippling that economy.

    If we keep this heat up, Iran’s Mullah government could collapse or be forced by the balls to the negotiation table regarding that Nuke problem. We could very well deal with that issue without having to attack/invade/occupy a third Middle Eastern country, and the inherent propaganda value to those terrorists.

    Which is why Obama is desperate to get START passed. If the GOP cockblock it, Russians will tell us to fuck off and Tehran gets a break. Which is why Sen. Lugar (R) made a 40 minute speech chewing out Kyl for fillibustering. That was great.

    Or most telling, George H.W. Bush had to press support for START to the NeoCons, who ignored him.

  113. Vern, I think part of the reason Obama supporters have had such unrealistic expectations for him is because we just had 8 years of the Bush administration doing whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Bush had the most blatantly imperial presidency in the history of our country. He vetoed little to no legislation, but regularly included pages of signing statements on the bills he approved that undermined the intended purpose of the bill. For example when Bush signed the bill against the practice of torture he got to be on TV shown approving the legislation but what was not shown was the signing statements he attached to the bill that absolved the Bush white house of any accountability and exploited legal loop holes that would allow them to continue to torture detainees and people of interest. One of the things I respect most about Obama is he has not used the precedents set by the previous administration as an excuse to do whatever he wants. However, it trying to do things the right way and work with government instead neutering it or figuring out ways how to circumvent it, the Obama administration has looked unproductive in comparison to the Bush administration. That is part of the reason I find it funny when conservatives try to claim that Obama is a radical socialist determined to undermine our government when he has tried to work with congress to the best of his abilities only for it to hamper his ability to advance legislation like health care reform. If he truly possessed a sinister socialist agenda he could easily use the precedents set in place by the Bush administration to do whatever he wanted with or without the approval of congress. Obama’s unwillingness to do so only reveals that he is a man of principle with genuine respect for the the principles America was founded on.

  114. Just for the record, Robocop on a Unicorn to serious discussion of foreign policy in less than 100 posts.

  115. Vern – what you said when Obama first got elected was the widespread opinion of the vast majority of the rest of the world. I’m not exaggerating there. Of every single country polled, only one said (narrowly) that they would prefer McCain to be elected. And that was Albania or somewhere. Every single other country polled – of some thirty from across the world – wanted Obama to win. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that most people would agree with what you’ve just said outside America also. So why is the situation inside America so polarised?

    Ok so here’s what I think the problem is. And it’s got nothing to do with “right” or “left”. (I have some right-wing opinions and some left-wing opinions, according to what the British definitions are of “right” and “left”, which don’t always match up with what other countries think anyway.) Where do you go for clear, unbiased media?

    I’m serious. Most of the reporting I see in Britain – and most of what I hear about coming from other countries (mostly America) – is politically-biased. By which I mean you have your left-wing commentators like Maher and Olbermann, and your right-wing commentators like O’Reilly and Coulter, and people read and watch and listen to the media that reflects their particular viewpoint. And a lot of very silly people are satisfied with this situation, believing it to be a good thing. IT ISN’T.

    When the news doesn’t challenge you, when you’re not forced to re-evaluate your opinions, when everything you see on TV and read about in the papers just helps to shore up your existing views, your critical faculties disappear. You stop making informed judgements and end up just rehashing your own prejudices. I’ve seen this time and time again. A big example of it I’ve come across recently is the MMR-autism link, which a lot of very silly people, similar to the ones I’ve mentioned above, still believe exists.

    (For the record: there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. It’s been proven time and time again. But that didn’t stop both sides of a partisan British press from reporting the ravings of a now-discredited crank “doctor” as proven fact. Even now there are a lot of people who will refuse to believe that there’s no link between autism and MMR, and will refuse to get their children vaccinated. And children are literally dying of easily-prevented childhood diseases as a result, because people don’t think Rubella or Measles are dangerous.

    Come to think of it, that’s probably the greatest of the many reasons why I don’t support the death penalty. The justice system would happily use it on an unintelligent drunk who was egged on by his friends in a fight outside a pub, but people like our Melanie Phillips – “Daily Mail” reporter and the chief supporter of the “vaccines cause autism” theory, who saw an opportunity to discredit the Labour Government here and didn’t particularly care if a few kids died because of it – don’t even have to face criticism or censure.)

    My point is that our ability to critically think about things is eroded by a media that seeks only to shore up our own prejudices. We can consume the information that supports them, and ignore the information that doesn’t. We can pick and choose our “facts” according to whether or not they support our own viewpoint. There is nothing forcing us to CHALLENGE our own views.

    And that’s a bloody dangerous state of affairs.

  116. In America at least, cable news is less journalism and more pornography.

  117. I missed the pardons that Obama gave out. Was there any interesting going ons in that area?

  118. No, people were disappointed because the pardons he did were meaningless bullshit like giving a clean record to a guy who paid a fine for defacing coins in the ’60s. (Seriously.) That might be an example of being overly careful because of all the right wingers waiting to pounce on anything he ever does or doesn’t do (up to and including condiment choices).

  119. By the way Hunter, thanks for that post about Diddy. What you’re saying, if I understand correctly, is that even Diddy, pop culture’s idea of preposterous opulence, is not rich enough to get one of these tax cuts.

    Is that true? It’s better for me not to fathom those amounts of money. But I did finally order an $80 blu-ray player, so I’ll be moving up socially in my opinion.

  120. Outlaw Vern – Actually at this same rate of his administration, Obama is about as cautious as Dubya was in giving out pardons. And honestly I don’t blame them.

    Why? Google up “Mike Huckabee” and “Clemency” and “Cops Murdered.”

    Whether you’re worried about your political future, or out of natural protecting-your-ass-safe from media heat, its a lose-lose situation to be involved with.

  121. Whoa, I just read that Captain Beefheart died. Not cool.

    That’s Don Van Vliet, by the way, not Majestyk’s junk. Majestyk’s junk, I assume, is alive and well.

  122. Ah, guess that’s why I didn’t hear much about it.

    I got Destroy all Movies. I like it’s hugeness. I was happy to see Truth or Dare listed. They mentioned there were sequels, which I was unaware of!

  123. RRA – it’s not just America. We have exactly the same thing over here (Britain).

  124. Obama isn’t making an ernest attempt to turn america in to a liberal wonderland, even incrementally. He gave massive amounts of money to the biggest capitalists, all of whom financed his campaign, while leaving the everyday man out to dry. Continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while starting new ones in Yemen and Pakistan. No more habeas corpus right, preventive detention. Obama is an Orwellian nightmare, but just like in Orwell, the language that Obama uses (as well as his image) somehow makes people think he’s fighting for them. He’s not, he’s on the other team, sorry guys, I wish he was a good guy too.

  125. Paul : “Where do you go for clear, unbiased media?” . I wish I knew , but then again , if you read some of the above posts , you know our singular situation over here . I always try to research more than one source and then think for myself what is the more likely scenario for anything I want to know . I like to know what other people in other countries think about Italy , you know , an external view , and I do the same thing for far reaching and international events , like that Wikileaks affair . Newspapers , websites and comments sections , then I decide for myself .

    RRA : “Crook” is the perfect definition for our PM.

  126. A good consequence of DADT Repeal: All those Universities which famously kicked out military recruiters back in days of Vietnam and kept them out because of DADT…well, they’re welcoming back the ROTC.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1210/Harvard_Yale_moving_on_ROTC.html

  127. Vern – Also passed quietly yesterday was the Community Radio Act:

    “allows for the creation of new non-commercial stations on American airwaves– a number that could reach to the hundreds or even thousands. In a press release, the Future of Music Coalition said, “The addition of more Low Power FM (LPFM) stations will increase local civic engagement, diversify the airwaves, support local music and culture, assist during emergencies, expand religious expression, and provide a platform for the voices of underrepresented communities to be heard.””

  128. I would like to interrupt this important political type discussion to tell you about Eye of the Tiger, featuring messrs. Gary Busey and Yaphet Kotto. Probably not news to most of you, but in case you haven’t seen it, this is Gary Busey going on a vigilante rampage against the local crack dealing motorcyle gang. They manage to work in the title song three times with not a mention of eyes or tigers in the entire film.

    (actually, maybe someone on there mentioned this not so long ago, if so thanks. Maybe not the best shit I’ve seen in ages per se, but easily the most entertaining.)

  129. Hey Vern, quick suggestion for the site; you should make the “Meta” subheading on the sidebar of your websight link to the websight of that other ex-con who reviewed movies (horribly) and whom you bitched about in that one “Vern Tells it Like it Is” way back in the day. It would be totally Meta.

  130. Vern — the top tax rate in America anyone or any couple making over 250,000 dollars annually, unless I’m mistaken. They’re the ones who get to keep their Bush-era tax rates. However, that group is not the same as the “top 2%” we hear so much about — that group is comprised of people who could buy and sell Diddy hundreds of times over.

    What Hunter is correctly saying is that there’s a class of people who live lives so radically different from you and I that they don’t even come into contact with most of the basic tenants of our lives. They’re the super-rich, and they own more of the wealth than the entire bottom 90% of Americans. Diddy is not among them; Tom Cruise is not among them; hell, Oprah is not alomg them. Generally, you don’t know their names because they’re simply operating ina different sphere than the rest of us. The names you do know (guys like Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch) you know because they independently have the power to make or break whole countries.

    They stand to save literally hundreds of millions of dollars with the tax breaks extended, and as a special bonus they got the estate tax rate lowered from 50% to 35%, meaning their heirs stand to save hundreds of millions of dollars in inhertience, ensuring an aristocratic class which never goes away. The idea that this will in any way help the economy is demontrable fiction — people this wealthy literally cannot spend any more money, all their savings do is enable to them to grow their net worth through financial skullduggery. They also control more wealth than ever before in US history, so it’s not like they’re hurting even a little; in fact, they’re doing better than they’ve ever done. And it’s gonna cost us tens of billions, a staggering figure of deficit spending, thanks to the financially responsible republicans (who wisely voted down health care costs for 9/11 responders valued in the double-digit millions).

    Stunning, aint it?

  131. Iran has jailed Jafar Panahi.

    Jafar, an International-respected Iranian filmmaker who’s won awards globally (even if his movies are banned in Iran), has been convicted/sentenced for his outspoken support of the democratic Green Movement from last years. His punishment is 6 years in prison, and a 20 year ban from making movies, writing scripts, traveling overseas, and giving interviews to foreign/domestic news media.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/20/iran-jails-jafar-panahi-films

  132. The only film I’ve seen of Panahi’s, OFFSIDE, is a film critical of Iran’s treatment of women, and yet it’s told in such benevolent and humorous fashion that it scarcely seems like a dangerous, revolutionary work of art. Yet that’s how Iran perceives it, and the film was banned from screening there.

  133. Dan Prestwich – I know. How many people who never heard of Panahi (much less seen any of his pictures) now might check out his work because of this news? Its a lesson never learned.

    For flipside, look at another current example that proves this point: Julian Assange. That Wikileaks shit either scared the bejesus out of folks or they’re mad over the humiliation from revelations or unrelated reasons, look at his enemies list: White House, U.S. Congress, Sweden, Fox News, Russia, UK, Italy, Verizon, Google, Banks, and so forth.

    We usually only know Swedes by name if they’re directors/actors (arthouse and porno) or models or ABBA. But here is this guy who in some quarters (regardless of your opininos on the guy or the issue at hand) could be seen as a rebel, renegade, outlaw when all these people are out to lynch him. I’m certain NeoCons as we speak are masturbating to the idea of tazering his balls at Guantanamo.

    I mean not everybody gets called by name a ‘high-tech terrorist” by the Vice-President on national TV.

  134. Assange is Australian, not Swedish.

  135. Or do you mean Austrian?

  136. No, that’s Falco.

  137. Mr Majestyk,

    I can’t remember where I brought this up before, but here is the post where I mention you briefly:

    http://danandthemovies.blogspot.com/2010/12/cameraeye-realism-in-cinematography.html

    In case you feel like you have to chime in with your two cents.

  138. This NeoCon ad claims that because of Lady GaGa helping to get DADT repealed, the military is gonna DRAFT YOU!!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTzpBVTcF-k

  139. Seems like Tony Scott is the front runner for the director’s chair of the 24 movie, which is kinda absurd if you consider that 24 has been constantly praised (and rightfully so) for its use of camera and editing, while Tony Scott…well, y’know. Damn, can you imagine watching up to five split screens at the same time, full of unwatchable shaky cam and avid farts?
    I say give the job to Stephen Hopkins. After all he directed most of season 1 and defined the visual style of the series.

  140. Actually, I typically found 24 to be a jumbled, mish-mashy eye-sore, so Tony Scott seems like a great fit. The entertainment came more out of the ludicrous, relentless plotting than from the technical aspects.

    I suspect anyone who really praised that camerawork or editing on 24 was wowed by the concepts of its obvious stylistic ticks (the real-time gimmick, the split screens) than the actual execution. Discuss?

  141. No argument from me, Dan. But then I gave up on 24 part way through the first season. I was bored by split-screens an hour into the WOODSTOCK movie when I saw it in the 1980s. Warhol was the only one who ever found a way to impress me with that trick.

    Also, Dan, I enjoyed your article that you linked to yesterday. In still photography, we stopped pretending that our work had any objective documentary truth years ago. I’m sure you know the story about how no film company has ever been able to perfect the color red, which is just the simplest example of the ways in which images are mediated. It’s fascinating how persistent the discussion still is in the film world.

    I can’t help but wonder if your article is implying that the majority of people who watch films are illiterate, at least when it comes to the construction of images.

  142. Usually I tend to disagree peacefully with everybody here, but ARE YOU PEOPLE INSANE!?
    So many other movies and TV series tried to make the concept of a documentary-ish camera work, but 24 seriously did! I can’t think of anything other than this and CHILDREN OF MEN (which admittedly did it even better), where the visual concept of “stylized realism” worked. Okay, the split-screens, well, they didn’t bother me, although I gotta admit that at least 75% of them were useless, but on the other hand very interesting to look at.
    But come on, 24 always had a seriously fucking precise camera work. The handheld camera never distracted and took you out of the show. Instead it always showed exactly and clearly what you wanted and needed to see! No shaky out of focus shots of talking heads, no post action edits and it all done with often 3 or more cameras at the same time, which usually means that the director has NO idea how the scene is gonna work and just wants to puzzle together in post production, whatever the camera team accidently caught. But here they obviously knew what they wanted for eight fucking seasons!
    Shit man, if you think about how crappy other shows, like THE SHIELD, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA or even BOSTON LEGALlooked, how can you even dare to say that the hyperactive, completely unwatchable visual style of Tony Scott 2K would be a good fit! That’s just inexcusable, man.

  143. Jareth,

    I appreciate the feedback! (cough cough post a comment on my blog cough cough)

    I wouldn’t go that far, because the “language” of cinema is hard to define (it strikes me that it’s more that there are many cinematic languages with common roots or overlapping elements, like the different romance languages in comparison to each other), so who’s to say what constitutes literacy? I do think that average movie goers are indifferent to things like style & construction (unless those elements are blatant) and are mainly just focused on the level of plot/script. Which I don’t mean as an entirely bad thing, those are crucial elements of narrative filmmaking, too, and I don’t expect everyone to look for the same things in film that I do.

    I do think it’s this indifference or passive reception of the visuals that allows, for example, incoherent action movies to thrive. The audience cares more about the idea of a car blowing up than they do about if the explosion is communicated in a visually well-constructed way.

    I know this is idea of cinematic language is interesting to you, as it’s something you’ve brought up in the past, and I think I was touching on it (with my limited knowledge of it) in a way that relates to realism in movies, something I argue doesn’t really exist. Sounds like maybe that’s a thesis you agree with?

  144. CJ,

    Granted, it’s been a few years since I’ve seen an episode of 24, and I agree with you that the show is not guilty of much of what Vern termed “post action.” I think the problem was mainly in the editing, which cut from angle to angle with wild abandon until there was no sense of geography. Even in relatively subdued scenes of dialogue, they would construct the scene from a patch work of incongruent camera angles and movements that showed little regard for spatial relations.

    No, they didn’t shake the camera around too much. Yes, there are probably isolated action sequences on the show that I would praise. But the show often looked to me like it was shot on the go with handheld cameras, with little visual pre-planning, from a million different angles and lengths, and then spliced together with complete abandon.

    Paul Greengrass had a similar strategy in his BOURNE films, the difference being that he spend a lot of time and effort in the editing room selecting shots that fit together and clearly illustrated the action & geography (I know that this is a controversial opinion.)

  145. Sorry to disagree with you again, but (popular argument against the visual style of the BOURNE sequels).
    I also disagree about your geography argument and even would go so far and say that the split screens (even in dialogue scenes) HELPED to establish a geography.

  146. CJ,

    Agree to disagree, but let me point out this quote from the brilliant David Bordwell, pretty much the go-to expert/critic on the visual craft of film:

    “Intrigued by the formal premise of 24, I dipped into the first season, but I found it visually so wretched I couldn’t continue.”

    source: http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=9977

  147. Dan: I agree with you that the idea of “literacy” is too broad to apply to a medium as multi-faceted and nuanced as film. One of my pet peeves is people who only appreciate the plot of a movie, especially those who trash stuff like CHUNGKING EXPRESS because, apparently, nothing happens. For me, the good happens despite the plot, not because of it.

    Also, they should show your blogs before a film starts at the multiplex.

    CJ Holden: You’re probably right about the way the camera was used in 25, but when you couple that stuff with an obnoxious soundtrack and acho characters barking commands at each other, the whole enterprise gets laughable really quick. Or maybe I’m just old. In my opinion, THE WIRE and a Canadian show called INTELLIGENCE accomplish what you describe way better than 24.

  148. That should be “24” not “25,” and “macho” characters not “acho” characters. Geez.

  149. “One of my pet peeves is people who only appreciate the plot of a movie, especially those who trash stuff like CHUNGKING EXPRESS because, apparently, nothing happens.”

    Story of my life, man. Maybe pet peeve is harsh, but I get tired of justifying my affection for movies with weak scripts but strong filmmaking (I love horror movies, so this happens a lot). I’m pretty sure at this point my girlfriend is sick to death of my sarcastically quipping things like “Gee, I guess you’re right, now that I think about it, DAWN OF THE DEAD isn’t a very realistic movie” to people who obsess over small plot holes or implausibilities.

  150. I particularly disagree with you about the soundtrack, because it didn’t start to become obnoxious until Season 4 (when they even started to use electric guitars in one episode!). And I won’t discuss the content of the show itself, because even I know that it’s pretty much love-it-or-hate-it.

  151. Also, fuck anyone who doesn’t like CHUNGKING EXPRESS. That movie is not only very eventful, but hilarious and exhilarating to boot.

  152. Hey, ya’ll, I went to film school and Bordwell wrote like half my textbooks. Ya’ll wanna look into Photogenie and Epstein as well as Mechanical Reproduction and Walter Benjamin for this discussion. It’ll help out a bunch.

  153. You know what had a really great use of splitscreen? That episode of THE X-FILES on the ghost ship. It had two shots of the same hallway taken from opposite directions, with characters in two different time periods rushing down them. When they hit the “spine” in the center of the screen, they switch frames. It’s an artful bit of staging and framing that stylishly illustrates the concept of two actions taking place in the same space but at different times.

    The episode’s visual invention didn’t stop there. Except for the splitscreen segment, every act was a single shot that followed its characters through the bowels of a ship overrun by Nazis and through several floors and into the parking lot of an FBI building. And Mulder and Scully get to kiss without it being icky because it’s a fantasy or a flashback or something. One of my favorite episodes of TV ever.

  154. Hunter, is that your tactful way of telling us we don’t know what we’re talking about? :)

  155. Not at all, actually. You guys are on the right track, I was just pointing out some other, related ideas for further research.

    Epstein’s idea of Photogenie is that filming an image changes it and you can find more “truth” in images through long takes and deep focus.

    Mechanical Reproduction is about how works of art have an “aura” around them that is diluted by their reproduction in the modern age. But, as film has no original and all film prints are copies of something without an original “aura” it democratizes art and is thus superior. However, since we have no original for the film, we transfer the “aura” of say, The Mona Lisa to the movie stars themselves.

  156. Conversely, Eisenstein was all about creating “truth” in an image through editing, diagonals, and conflict of imagery. 24 (what little I’ve seen) is much more in keeping with Eisenstein’s theories, though the multiple shots on screen at once do slightly recall Photogenie. A better example of the latter concept can be seen in Gus Van Sant’s Elephant or in any of Kubrick’s, PT Anderson’s, or Scorsese’s longtakes.

    I kinda wish I had actually written my senior thesis on the potential uses of 3D for art filmmakers (I also considered writing about the psychosexual and racial politics of Eddie Murphy’s films beginning with The Nutty Professor or the Political importance of so-called Torture Porn films, though I ended up just writing a screenplay for a big budget action movie instead). I contend that The Shining would be an even better and scarier film if it were done exactly the same, but shot in 3D. I think this new tech has the ability to expand the language of film more than any new development since Widescreen. It’s just a tool that is being given to the wrong sector of the industry.

    Frankly, I rarely choose to see a movie in 3D. It usually sucks. The best uses thus far, for me, were Jackass 3D and Step Up 3D, but I can see how it could be a great visual storytelling tool. Film has stagnated visually for decades and decades. In reality, surround sound and other audio tools have been the primary area of growth for about as long as I’ve been alive and 3D could be the first new visual development in a very long time.

    Sure, it’s gimmicky now, but have you watched many early sound films? They were totally gimmicky! Same with early experimentation with color, though this applies more to hand drawn color film than it does to actual Kodak color. Hell, look at an early cinemascope film like Rebel Without a Cause. That film, with its’ harsh dutch angles and oddball closeups is very gimmicky and experimental.

  157. I’m fairly certain I read the Benjamin piece back in college (in fact, I was going to ask if he was the fellow who suggested that mass reproduction devalues art, but you already answered that for me) and ditto the Epstein, although I have a horrible memory for names and technical vocabulary. But yes, you’re right that those ideas are germane to what we were talking about. The Epstein thing is interesting because I just argued in my last blog post that deep focus, while awesome, is inherently unrealistic, at least in terms of the way we “see” the world.

  158. STEP UP 3D was actually kinda wonderful, I’m with you on that. I thought it was going to be a guilty pleasure but it turned out to be more of a genuine pleasure, and I did think the 3D really enhanced the film’s exuberant celebration of motion.

  159. I was having my worst day in many a moon and then I went to see that film and as I left, I realized that I was in a superb mood. The dancing was awesome, the visuals were great, and the plot/dialogue scenes were delightfully retarded. Honestly, it’s in my top 10 for the year. My main gripe is that the dance routines weren’t whole routines. They only had little clips, bits and pieces of about 15 seconds at a time. I don’t wanna see a montage of a bunch of cool dance routines, I wanna see a bunch of cool dance routines, you know?

    In fact, I liked Step Up 3D that I might end up seeing Jon Chu’s (yes, I know his name off the top of my head) next movie in theaters…in spite of the fact that that movie is the Justin Bieber film.

  160. On a totally unrelated note: this is a real lyric in a platinum pop album:

    She is a pyramid
    But with him she’s just a grain of sand
    This loves too strong like mice and men
    Squeezing out the life that should be let in

  161. Caoimhín : Holy shit , I’ve seen Eye of the Tiger and it’s fucking fantastic. The Italian title is awesomely translated as “A prova di Vendetta” , “Vengeance-proof” ! Think about that for a moment: Gary Busey is goddamn vengeance-proof , man ! The movie is full of cars and motorcycles jumping around , extreme male bonding, an anal related scene , a custom armored car in the tradition of Tango and Cash or Exterminator 2 , a plane with 2 standard infantryman M16 attached to the wings with ROPES and a final bad guy completely bald , except for something that looks like a pussy on the back of his head ! Plus Mr. Busey is a really good Nada-like working character , with some well played touching moments . Not a classic , but highly entertaining .

  162. Hunter: Benjamin’s essay is seminal stuff in the world of photography, but it still amazes me how his rather straightforward points in no way anticipated the resilience of the cult value of the “aura.” I’d venture to say that, outside of a few serious-minded practitioners, academics an critics, the “aura” is actually sustained, not because the prints are copies, but because of the objects depicted. A single print is never experienced as a reproduction by the masses. If Knowles is any indication, or those guys who feel distressed because the world isn’t AVATAR-land, these “democratizing reproductions” actually achieve an aura through fetishization.

    Majestyk: Good call on that X-FILES episode. If I remember correctly, Carter filmed that one in the same aspect ratio as the X-FILES movie that he had just finished so that the split-screen effect would really sing.

    For all the abuse X-FILES gets heaped on it from time to time, I can’t think of too many shows that played around so successfully with stuff like that.

  163. Vern – Does this Barney Frank chew out of an unprepared Neocon reporter qualify as badass?

    http://gawker.com/5716043/barney-frank-makes-a-fool-out-of-conservative-reporter-over-dont-ask-dont-tell

  164. Teaser trailer for Kevin Smith’s REDSTATE is up at smodcast.com and I gotta say, it don’t look half bad.
    To call it a departure from his usual stuff (most of which I find mediocre it best) would be something of an understatement.

    Smith must have taken a blow to the head or something.

  165. Vern – so when you gonna review the new TRUE GRIT, buddy?

    Which I might add, just had the biggest opening weekend for a western ever. No bullshit.

  166. That Barney Frank beatdown was fantastic. I think I saw it on Maddow or something a few days ago.

    I’m seeing TRUE GRIT tomorrow.

    I know lists are stupid & wack, but. . .
    My top 2010 films so far:

    1) TOY STORY 3 & BLACK SWAN (tie)

    ^These^ are 2 of the best films ever made.

    3) MACHETE
    4) STEP-UP 3D (For serious. I saw it 3 times in the theatre, and I wish I’d gone a 4th. Glad to see it get some love here.)

    And a few great movies that might technically be pre-2010 releases, but we all first had a chance to see them in 2010 so whatever:

    RED CLIFF
    UNISOL: REGEN
    NE TE RETOURNE PAS
    IP MAN

    It’s been a great year for documentaries too, but probably none of them will last in my memory as long as the above fictions.

  167. Mouth – Is that NYT article true about Paramount free screening the shit out of TRUE GRIT for the military? Because….that’s actually pretty clever.

  168. ?

    I used to work at Paramount’s Carowinds amusement park when I was 14-15. I should get free lifetime screenings for that shit.

  169. Mr. Majestyk, I just watched that X-Files 6.3 on Netflix based on your recommendation. Good stuff, great camerawork. 45 minutes of Mulder & Scully (who, I noticed, seems to breathe audibly a lot — Is she the female James Gandolfini?). . . Can I quit being a sci-fi TV show nerd now before I get hooked on the nerdiness?

    I remember liking this example of split screen:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6EPa9Fw3Lk

    It’s a little bit on the over-polished ‘art for art’s sake’ side, perhaps, but I like the framing and the not so subtle hints of the background imagery’s significance. It’s a uniquely cinematic boy-meets-girl moment, and the camera tricks augment the draw of such a moment.

  170. THE BAD LIEUTENANT and BLACK DYNAMITE are namechecked in this list of great overlooked films this year (I think they actually came out in 2009, but there you go)
    http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/blog/article/97219/10-films-you-should-have-seen-in-2010.html
    Seems like a good list altogether, although I found PHILLIP MORRIS a bit of a let down, though reasonably entertaining

    P.S. I propose you review ZIGGY’S GIFT next Christmas

  171. I was seriously sure that the new decade has already started 12 months ago, but now everybody keeps telling me, that this Friday will be the last day of the decade. Did I miss anything? When I was a kid a decade started, when a year ended with 0. When did they change that? I always thought 1990 was part of the 90’s and not of the 80’s.

  172. This “everybody” are idiots, CJ. Or they are people who are exaggerating the timeliness & thus significance of whatever list or compilation article they are persuading people to read.

    Which gets more hits: “Best nude celebrity vixen moments of the year!” or “Best Nude Celebrity Vixen Moments of the Decade!” ?

  173. CJ – Technically, decades run from x1 – y0. There was no 0 A.D., so the very first decade was the ten years from 1 A.D. to 10 A.D. As a result of that decades are still running, for example, from 2001 to 2010, two millennium later.

    I think this is stupid, by the way, and we should just submit to the popular perception that a decade is x0-x9, ie. 2000-2009. That first decade is just going to have to shut up and deal with being a year short.

  174. Yeah, especially because people act like year 0 didn’t exist. I mean, it was there, wasn’t it? It just wasn’t written on the Calendars and since our time reckoning started on a pretty random point anyway, why not name the year before 0001, officially 0 2010 years later? That way we could also get our decades back, just like we always knew them.

  175. Gwai Lo – it annoys the shit out of me when people refer to 2000 as “the first year of the new millenium” or stuff like that. On the other hand, it also annoys the shit out of me when people make that clicking sound with their tongues, so I guess the point is I get annoyed really easily.

    Erm… since I’ve found this thread and this seems to be the right place to say it… horror fans should see “Splinter”. It’s better than “Detour”, although it’s not as good as “Rogue”. Little problem I have with it: why doesn’t a certain character do something about a certain injury before he starts getting a bad case of “demon hand”? That shit never ends well. (Heck, it mostly ends the same way, and this film is no exception.) Still, enjoyed this one. Best killer-mould-that-grows-black-spines-out-of-your-body film you’ll see this year.

    I think “Machete” might be the most over-rated “nerd” film this year. Yeah, I enjoyed most of it and I liked Trejo in it and some of the individual scenes were great. (The hospital rope swing, the sex tape, etc.) But it ain’t the second coming, guys. That final action sequence was really bad – it’s the worst fight scene I’ve seen Seagal in, and I’ve seen “Against the Dark” – and if it wasn’t for you guys and your endless discussions on action staging, etc, I would never have noticed, so thanks for that.

    And why the FUCK do they always have to kill off Cheech Marin in increasingly stupid ways? It’s a more pointless sacrifice than McCabe in “Elektra”, but I guess they had to have their little Jesus moment. Seriously, I like Marin. Let the guy live for once. We should start a petition or something.

    I really haven’t seen that many films this year. Best of the ones I’ve seen have probably been “Inception” and “Toy Story 3”, I gotta agree with Mouth on that one. It’s far better IMO than either of the first two “Toy Story” movies, although it’s not “Wall-E”. As for “Inception”, well, it ain’t for everyone, but I know what I like and that’s it.

    Most disappointing / worst film I’ve seen at the cinema this year has to be “Buried”. My reaction to that one pretty much mirrors Vern’s to “Waking Life” – I give it some grudging credit for what it was obviously trying to do, but I still fucking hated it. This was the film that tried to show that ninety minutes spent in a coffin with a moronic arsehole could be entertaining and / or enlightening, and failed miserably. I do give it credit, though, for providing the year’s most pressing movie-related question: how do you get a deadly poisonous snake right the way up your trouser leg and not realise it?

  176. ***BEWARE, ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS BELOW; READ THIS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU’VE SEEN THESE MOVIES!***

    TRUE GRIT turned out to be almost as good as INCEPTION, in my opinion, but neither film quite tickled my pleasure bone like the ones I listed above. The star of TRUE GRIT is the dialogue, while the star of INCEPTION is the concept.

    Both films avoid or fail to present any truly brilliant action sequences (hallway fight excepted), but they both manage to build anticipation & then make the moment of action very riveting. Very good movies both, but a tier below my 2010 faves.

    *****************************************

    MACHETE’s appeal lies in its emptiness, I think. It’s the only non-genre, non-documentary pure movie I’ve seen in a long time. There’s no subtext. That might be its greatest accomplishment or attribute — its utter lack of subtext (though the immigration politics angle is arguably significant). BAD LIEUTENANT:POCNO also featured this lack of subtext, but it was clearly a conscious choice by Herzog to make it so, and so its subtextlessness is arguably reactionary (a reaction to the absurd boredom suffered by an auteur at the helm of a genre film, a police procedural/crime story) and thus occurs in an impure movie.

    MACHETE conveys the same sense of joy & whimsy that, for me, TOY STORY 3 managed, yet, rather than being the product of an army of computer graphics nerds & perfect execution of that army’s collective regression to the mindset of an imaginative toddler, MACHETE seemed like a film that was made when a group of buddies got together and just winged it. And this group of buddies just happens to have $60 million dollars and a bunch of good ideas. And they happen to be the coolest people in Hollywood. Watching MACHETE was like watching that rare, really awesome SNL skit — you know, that moment where you almost can’t believe how outrageous & funny it is and you’re not sure if maybe you’re the only one in the world at that moment who “gets it” and on top of that it’s actually live so you know the moment has passed as soon as you’ve made this realization & laughed? — but for the length of a feature film.

    We could compare MACHETE to EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. Is it real? Is its stated intent real? Are there consequences for this ridiculousness? Is the audience complicit in allowing a meaningless, barely legal narrative to occupy our consciences? Is the wise, aware audience, hip to the joke, perhaps more complicit than the ignorant, blind audience?

    I argue that MACHETE’s meta-tongue-in-cheekiness transcends meta and becomes pure. This is no small feat for such a star-studded feature [which was never supposed to be a feature! (another point of EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP comparison)]. It shatters the looking glass ceiling, if you will.

  177. See, that’s a lot more words that I think Machete is worth. RR, to me, is like the same filmmaker as Kevin Smith, but with an eye for composition. Dude hasn’t made a worthwhile movie since Spy Kids. Nearly a full freakin’ decade and everything he has touched has been utter shit. Dude has no ambition to push himself and no confidence to try and make a movie that is intentionally good instead of intentionally bad.

  178. I agree about Rodriguez, one of my least favorite directors. That’s another reason I was so pleasantly shocked MACHETE was so good.

  179. Mouth, I think just about the exact opposite of Machete that you do. It’s weird. I enjoyed it (mostly, although parts of it bugged the hell out of me), but it kinda felt like the product of a committee that was paid to sit and think “Ok, we want to do a classic exploitation movie, what do we put in it?” Sort of the same complaint some people had about “Dead Snow” (which I preferred to “Machete”). Sort of the same complaint I had with “Kick-Ass” too, come to that. Heck, sort of the main complaint EVERYBODY had with “Snakes on a Plane”. They’re not really telling a story, they’re just coming up with cool-sounding stuff and throwing it together.

    I will say I thought “Machete” was better than either “Kick-Ass” or “Snakes” though. I don’t want to come across as hating the movie – far from it, I had a lot of fun with it – I just think it’s been overhyped by a certain section of the moviegoing public to the point where it can’t really live up to expectations.

  180. Paul – I also liked SPLINTER quite a bit. I had a case of the uh ohs for the first 15 minutes or so when we were meeting the characters, but once they got to the gas station the creature feature engine started running smoothly.

    I made a double-bill of TRUE GRIT and BLACK SWAN today and holy shit, talk about a couple of masterpieces. Which makes about 9 times I’ve tossed that word around this year. Which makes me something of a contrarian, since all I seem to see is complaining everywhere about how terrible this year has been. Overall, despite a glut of conspicuously shitty big budget studio fare, I think this is one of the best years for film in recent memory. The only reason I even have to qualify this assessment as “recent” is because 2007 was so strong. I still have yet to see THE FIGHTER or THE KING’S SPEECH, but I’ve seen about 190 releases from 2010 so far and I’ll probably be closing in on 200 by the first of January. So for anyone who cares here is my favorites of the year:

    1. INCENDIES
    2. ENTER THE VOID
    3. CARLOS
    4. ANIMAL KINGDOM
    5. INCEPTION
    6. TRUE GRIT
    7. BLACK SWAN
    8. CERTIFIED COPY
    9. COLD FISH
    10. GREEN ZONE
    11. THE AMERICAN
    12. WINTER’S BONE
    13. 127 HOURS
    14. THE SOCIAL NETWORK
    15. 13 ASSASSINS
    16. BIUTIFUL
    17. IN THE SHADOWS
    18. CELL 211
    19. NEVER LET ME GO
    20. TOY STORY 3

    Docs:

    1. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
    2. THE RED CHAPEL
    3. INSIDE JOB
    4. ARMADILLO
    5. RESTREPO

    Other pretty good movies from 2010:

    ARMADILLO; BARNEY’S VERSION; BROOKLYN’S FINEST; CATFISH; COLD WEATHER; DOWN TERRACE; THE EYE 3D; FATHERS AND SONS; FOUR LIONS; FUBAR II; GALLANTS; THE GHOST WRITER; THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST; THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE; THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO; HARRY BROWN; HEARTBEATS; THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE); I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW; IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE; JACKASS 3D; KAWASAKI’S ROSE; LAKE MUNGO; LEAVES OF GRASS; THE MAN WHO WILL COME; ME TOO; MONSTERS; MORGEN; MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE; NEVER LET ME GO; OF GODS AND MEN; OF LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS; OUR LIFE; R; THE RED RIDING TRILOGY; RESTREPO; THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES; SHUTTER ISLAND; A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN; SPLICE; THE SQUARE; THE TOWN; TRANSFER; THE TWO ESCOBARS; THE UGLY DUCKLING; UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION; UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION; UNTHINKABLE; THE WHITE MEADOWS; WINNEBAGO MAN

    Also worth noting: I’m leaving off a handful of films that I saw in 2009 that got limited/DVD releases here in 2010. A PROPHET was my #1 of 2009. THE WHITE RIBBON, MOTHER, I KILLED MY MOTHER, BEST WORST MOVIE, and more.

  181. Fun Fact: Within a week or two, TRUE GRIT will easily become the Coens’ biggest hit ever.

    I say within a week.

  182. I know nothing of hype or expectations except that we were pumped Trejo was finally getting a lead role.

    I know I’ve written somewhere in Outlawistan that I feel the best approach to moviewatching is distraction-free, with zero undue influence from anything other than that which is on the screen & emitting from the speakers. Yeah, we get something extra from bringing our Seagalogical expertise to the theatre, so that’s allowed in my cinemagoer philosophy, but online hype has no place among my popcorn & Coke after I buy my ticket. Yes, I deliberately live in a bubble.

  183. Sheesh, I saw so few new movies in 2010 and pretty much missed all “important” movies, from INCEPTION over SOCIAL NETWORK to TOY STORY 3, that my Top 3 seriously consists of:

    1.) THE A-TEAM
    2.) COP OUT (Which I honestly enjoyed and not just put here to fill the Top 3)
    3.) PREDATORS

    My absolutely favourite movie that I’ve seen in 2010 is CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, which is IMO the most hysterical and creative comedy that I’ve seen in years, animated or not. But it came out 2009, so it doesn’t count. (But it will definitely make my top 3 of the last decade. ;) )

  184. Did the STAR WARS prequels “revolutionize” cinema? That’s what this guy argues.

    http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2010/12/26/did-george-lucas-change-cinema-with-star-wars-prequels/

  185. RRA- bait taken.

    I would argue that “revolutionizing cinema” overstates the case, but McLeod does point out some obviously intentional mirroring icons, and correctly supposes that it ties to the prequel trilogy’s intent of reflecting the original trilogy in a different light. I differ from him in that I don’t think the prequels are intended to directly mirror (or reverse) the OT in narrative or even in intent; rather, they intentionally utilize our familiarity and comfort with the images and characters of the OT to create tension between what we think we know and what the story is actually telling us. In my view, it’s actually a brilliant and stunningly bold way to address the material which is unfortunately also stunningly amateurish in its execution, so consequently very few people noticed or cared what Lucas was attempting to do thematically.

    In defense of calling it revolutionary, I should point out that I don’t think I can name any other work of art which approaches a sequel in this way (ie, using the assumed familiarity of the audience with the original story to subtly undermine many of the things we assumed). In fact, I’d argue that you could only really hope to do it with something as iconic as the OT, and it’s unlikely to happen again. So it’s definitely revolutionary (or at least surprisingly unique) but it definitely did not revolutionize anything, inasmuch as no one cared or tried to repeat it.

  186. Mr. S – I’ll give Lucas one thing about the prequels that was brilliantly well-crafted: the plotting of how the Emperor takes over. Some obvious historical influences (Caesar, Hitler, Nixon) that just come out in theatres at the same time the White House, belonging to the party of “less government,” fully solidified the final triumph of Big Government in the name of safety.

    Good timing George.

  187. I mean, I think the paralells between Palpatine and Bush are clearly intentional and fairly appropriate. There’s a very palpable rage against not just the usurpers of freedom, but the population that lets itself get scared into cowering, that runs through the whole prequel trilogy and in fact has a lot to do with how Anakin ends up where he does. Think about it — by the end of the prequels, does Anakin have any reason at all to believe in the basic principals the Republic or the Jedi claim they stand for? The whole prequel trilogy is absolutely about the then-current political situation, and the possible responses to a system too broken to prevent itself from being eaten away from the inside (Anakin himself provides a microcosm of that conflict). And the real coup is how what we learn about the Jedi and the Old Republic reflects on how we see the OT’s stated goals of reenstating the Jedi and the New Republic exactly as they were before their fall. Wait a second – is that a good diea? Did we learn anything here?

  188. you drink a whiskey drink, you drink a vodka drink, you drink a lager drink, you drink a cider drink, you sing the songs that remind you of the good times, you sing the songs that remind you of the best times…

    OHHHHH DANNY BOYYYYYYY! DANNY BOYYYYYY! DANNY BOYYYYYYYYYY!

  189. Gwai Lo: I’m surprised that LET ME IN and MICMACS aren’t on your list. Does a good film like MICMACS tend to suffer simply by not being magnificent like AMELIE?

    Also, you forgot ROBOGEISHA. Any film that features a sword fight where the swords shoot our of the fighters’ asses gets a free pass onto the “best of” list.

    Just kidding about ROBOGEISHA.

  190. Thank Crom , the website is up again ! Happy End of the Year and New Year , everyone ! I posted this here , because the comments section is still going strong and I want to halp keep it going !

    On Ninja-Related News : I’ve seen Zipang (Jipangu 1990) . The movie is a little all over the place , but it’s stunning to look at , with some well staged scenes ( a long tracking shot on a bridge is one of the best ) and with some weird ass characters . The protagonist , for example , is a kabuki actor-criminal with numbered swords that he’s carrying around like golf clubs , but the best of them all is Hanzo , the ninja of the movie . This guy is full of fantastic weapons like shurikens and iron claws like Wolverine , but he also has a mechanical steel golve and a shotgun ! Yes a fucking shotgun , capable of firing bullets and rockets! It’s crazy and highly recommended!

    Happy Holidays , you guys ! See you in 2011 !

  191. That sounds great, Kermit. I wrote that one down.

  192. Yeah, the new year is starting in 70 minutes over here and I originally posted a link here to a pic that I made, that had me riding on a rocket, but since the crash yesterday I guess the security system didn’t allow me to post it, but if you click the link that is my username, you can see it on my own blog, but what I really wanted to say is…

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! *manly group hug* (Which means afterwards we punch each other, call us “motherfucker” and laugh, while we order the next beer.)

  193. WOoo! Happy new year! Hope you’re not spending it sitting in front of a computer posting on movie forums. :( But I will take the manly group hug!

    I will quickly respond to Mouth’s response to my response of his response to my original post. I agree about the hype, trouble is it’s kinda hard to avoid when the film in question comes out in the cinemas in your country two months after everyone else on the Internet (eg Americans) have already seen it!

  194. Another reason my country’s better than your country.

    USA! USA!

  195. Hooked up with a gorgeous girl in a little red dress tonight, my first sober New Year’s in the US since junior high. People-watching in Raleigh was highly entertaining. I was having a good time. Then we found a hula hoop, and I was having a great time. A bunch of drunks demanded we hold the thing above waist level so they could jump through it like a circus trick. I won’t lie — I filmed some of this in hopes of seeing a dude bust his ass on the sidewalk. But the star of the night was my new ladyfriend, who now sleeps while I nerd out here. Man, can she hula. I drove Tiffany (Tiffani?) to my friend’s place and put her hip swivel to use with the girl-on-top position.

    It’s been a good 2011 so far.

  196. Vern : Weird movie , man , and I even avoided the really weird shit in the spoiler free post above !

    Everyone : Yeah , virtual-man-hugs of Happy New Year to all involved ! ( …and now I will virtually punch the guy next to me , burp and order another beer , while farting and eating beans !)

  197. Mouth – so your year so far basically consisted of semi-sober hula followed by gettin’ some with Tiffany? Yeah, your new year (and your country) are indeed better than mine. I’m impressed.

  198. And now I’ve made it a weekend-long thing with whatsherface. It’s not right, the attractiveness of this chica entering my social galaxy. Jesus loves me. Mis cajones están vacíos.

    (Who tune:) Got a feelin 2011’s gonna be a good year. . .

    U-S-A! U-S-A!

  199. Alert! Subway is trying to flood the discussion posts with promises of coupons!

    Coupons are nice, but I don’t think it’s quite striving for excellence.

  200. Just wanted to remember every U.S. citizen, that Adult Swim starts TONIGHT (Sunday, January 2nd) at 9pm their FULL VENTURE BROS RE-RUN!
    So if you want to catch up on it, but are too cheap/poor to buy the DVDs and/or too honest to download them, you can from tonight on watch every Sunday 2 episodes in a row. From episode DIA DE LOS DANGEROUS to OPERATION P.R.O.M.!

  201. wow CJ Holden, thanks for telling me that, seriously

    anyway so it’s 2011, is anyone else super excited that some Steven Spielberg movies are finally coming out this year? I know Kingdom of The Crystal Skulls was not exactly well received, but surely we can all be exited The Beard is back?

    did you know that save for KOTCS he hasn’t come out with a movie in 5 years?

  202. Griff – Oh sure, but WAR HORSE? I mean a movie about a horse in WWI? Maybe Stevie can prove me wrong but that shit just doesn’t interest me.

    TINTIN on the other hand, that could work. That sort of shit is right up Steven’s alley, fun adventures of racist Belgian kid and his white dog against pirates and criminals. Or my problem with that CGI body-motion control bullshit, which I’m still not sold on.

    Then again, Steven maybe already has made the best Tintin movie that could possibly be produced: It was called RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

    I hope they kept the drunk captain.

  203. I gotta say that Edgar Wright has great taste in movies. He’s showing some at some theater in L.A.:

    http://www.edgarwrighthere.com/2011/01/02/edgar-wright-the-new-beverly-present-the-wright-stuff-2/

    Last time he showed some Death Wishes I believe, this time his selections include some of my favorites such as Dirty Harry, Duel and The Warriors, but more impressively he’s got some more under the radar ones we love around here such as The Driver, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Miami Blues. Also something called Super Cops that I’m gonna have to find.

  204. That program looks good , especially January 28 ! The Wanderers and The Warriors back to back ? With Mr Wright introducing the movies ? Sounds good to me .

  205. I used to ditch high school and go see art films at the New Beverly about once a month. One time, I ditched class and went to see a double feature of 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and Contempt. It was a brand new print of Contempt and it was utterly mesmerizing visually.

    Anyway, as 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is ending, a hand drops down onto my shoulder and squeezes a bit and a kinda weirdly nerdy voice says,

    “Having fun kid?”

    “Yeah, dude. Godard’s fuckin’ cool.”

    And then the hand began to sort of pat my shoulder. So I look up, and it’s Quentin fuckin’ Tarantino. He looks down at me, smiles, and says,

    “That’s right kid, that’s right.”

    He owns the New Bev now and I highly recommend that everybody here makes a pilgrimage to the site some day. It’s a truly great place.

  206. Man, I heard about this on the Ain’t It Cool and for a moment seriously considered an LA trip (from Chicago) but then I remembered that goods and services cost money. Edgar Wright just seems like an eminently entertaining bloke to me. I find everything he’s done very re-watchable. I’ll have to add the movies on that list I haven’t seen to the ol’ Netflix queue.
    Great story, Hunter D!

  207. Is MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY really that good guys?

  208. I think so. Other than the inclusion of the excrable Rick Ross on 2 back-to-back tracks, (one of which has the most annoying hook I have heard in years, a specific spoonerism of “ridiculous” rhymed with things like, “different exotic fishes”) it’s pretty much flawless.

  209. I didn’t like the 34 minute video or the album. I’ve given the thing more than a fair chance to hit me like it evidently did 90% of the American music critic world, but it’s still a C+/B- album at best on a good day.

    Nicki Minaj with pink hair in the “Monster” video, however, reminded me that I like chicks with pink hair, so there’s that.

  210. I kinda like it. I think it could stand to shave off about seven guest rappers and twelve or thirteen chants and choruses, but I can’t complain too much because the hugely overblown production is the whole attraction. He’s got string sections, guitar and keyboard solos, one of my favorite parts is a long instrumental break that I think is him blowing into a vocoder or something but mostly sounds like a distorted keyboard. One song is co-produced by RZA and the style goes back and forth between Kanye and Wu-Tang.

    Musically the most almost-perfect song is this vicious thing called “Hell of a Life” that he proceeds to almost ruin by piling on one too many ingredient, the death blow being a terrible chorus auto-tuned to the tune of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. Come on man, Sir Mix-a-lot did that when you were in high school, it was corny than and it’s just not one of those ideas that’s gonna eventually come around.

    But yeah, it’s nice to have a modern hip hop album that seems designed to listen to all in one sitting instead of just a bunch of randomly compiled songs that have nothing to do with each other.

    Ghostface’s new one is pretty solid too.

  211. As California Proposition 8’s constitutionality dies a slow, 2-steps-forward-1-step-back-style death, I decided to watch 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION today. Not the filmatistically smoothest documentary, but it’s damn powerful, especially for a political & legal junkie interested in a good account of the troubling intersection of a massive tax-exempt organization and a massively expensive political campaign. And the lies! The outright manipulation & deception! Now my blood’s all angered up.

    This movie is another reminder that about half my neighbors are ignorant, and that many of them are bigoted, hateful, regressive, narrowminded, sheeplish mouthbreathers. These are realizations to which I’ve been accustomed for a while, but now I’m freshly realizing that most of these clowns breed. Their children might someday interact & influence my children.

    Well, anyway, for those of you who were having a pleasant day, be it known that recently my spirit has been crushed & my homicidal rage level elevated. Don’t worry, I’ll sublimate the rage by becoming a badass lawyer who goes Godzilla on the Big Religion Political Action Committee industry.

  212. Mouth – Until then mate, just remember that you’re fighting so they can use the grace of God to damn others.

    Adding onto that, how about the recent right-winger uproar: all the holy rollers, NOM, Focus on the Family, and all those religious groups boycotting CPAC (Super Bowl of NeoCon political conferences) this year.

    Why? Because GOProud, a gay Republican group, is also attending. Not that I feel sorry for GOProud, since they’re so wacky they think the Log Cabin Republicans have too “liberal”* and effectively paid Anne Coulter good money earlier this year for a speech where she tells them that since they’re queer, they’re not protected by the Constitution.

    So I guess this is their 1948 Democratic National Convention when all those racist Dixiecrats walked out because God forbid, Truman and the other Democrats wanted to give civil rights to blacks.

    *=Apparently LCR went out of bounds by putting up the money and lawyers behind the DADT lawsuit against the government, the same one Robert Gates used in his argument that if the Congress didn’t pass DADT repeal, the Courts would do it for them.

  213. Thoughts on that attempted assassination in Arizona?

  214. Like most acts of senseless violence, it’ll probably have the opposite effect than what was (I imagine) intended, and make a lot of Gifford’s supporters come to the forefront if they hadn’t been inclined to do so before. From what I’ve read of Gifford, that’s probably a very good thing at least.

    I feel sorry for the families of the other victims though. I’ve read three articles about this, and none of them mention the names of anyone who’s died yet, although I doubt that will last… I don’t know what these people did or who they were, but from now on their lives and accomplishments will take a distant second place to the story of how they died.

  215. Sorry, don’t mean to be flippant. It really sucks and now our politicians are gonna have to worry more about security to make sure this shit doesn’t happen again.

    It’s easy to jump to conclusions about all of the intentionally violent and fear-mongering rhetoric in the media and politics contributing to this kind of thing, because, you know… duh. The worst part is that in my opinion most of the politicians and radio and tv hosts peddling all that the-government-is-out-to-get-you Reaganism meets X-Files racial paranoia and the-socialists-are-coming horse shit don’t even believe most of it. They just like taking the money and the votes. (except R. Lee Ermey, he probly was serious.)

    This guy was obviously mentally ill, not just because of what he did but if you saw those youtube videos they’re complete gibberish, I got no clue what he’s talking about (it involves sleepwalking, the government trying to control grammar and something about the gold standard). So it’s a toss up whether his plan for revolution came from his crazy interpretation of all that rabble-rousing, or out of thin air. But either way I don’t think it helps.

    I don’t believe in censorship or blaming movies for murders or that type of shit. I just think the people who are faking it need to shut the fuck up and stop being cute and implying metaphorically to shoot congresspeople and judges and leave it to the extremists who really believe it to come out and state it clearly and be shunned by everybody else.

    But anyway I’m kind of glad it’s an indecipherable mentally ill guy and not a more rational seeming madman like a Timothy McVeigh, so he hopefully doesn’t become a martyr and inspiration to more extreme extremists.

  216. From the NYTimes: **During the fall campaign, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, posted a controversial map on her Facebook page depicting spots where Democrats were running for re-election; those Democrats were noted by crosshairs symbols like those seen through the scope of a gun. Ms. Giffords was among those on Ms. Palin’s map, which later removed the crosshairs symbols.

    A statement posted on Ms. Palin’s Facebook page Saturday expressed her “sincere condolences” to the family of Ms. Giffords and the other shooting victims. Ms. Palin said that she and her family were praying for them “and for peace and justice.” **

    Yup. Some people’s irresponsibility knows no bounds.

  217. Vern – Unfortunately this nutjob had a partner, and apparently this was an intentional hit.

    Middle-age guy teaming up with kid (early 20s) to commit mayhem reminds me of the D.C. Sniper.

  218. During college I knew a guy who had a vaporizer that he named “Timothy McVape.” Afterward you’d take an Oklahoma City Bong hit.

    I could never decide if that was more hilarious, pretentious, or offensive.

  219. Reports say this alleged murderer tried to join and was rejected by the Army a few years ago.

    I remember reading that that crazy punk who shot, like, 9 people in a mall in Omaha a couple years ago had tried to join the Army weeks earlier and was rejected.

    It’s good to know that at least some recruiters are doing an outstanding job.

  220. Paranoia about American gun nuts is why I rock a kevlar sweater in public most of the time, but a headshot is hard to stop.

  221. I can’t seem to find any word on the casualties etc. When I first read it, she was dead, along with six other people, but I don’t think that was accurate.

    Also, sorry to go off topic, but I watched the Last Exorcism, and was eager to read your review now.
    but it’s giving me the ERROR shit. Fixxxxx iiiiitt. Thanks.

  222. So Fox News is now jizzing over a “leaked” DHS memo which seems to suggest an anti-government/anti-semite conspiracy was behind the massacre.

    Of course FNC chooses to emphasize the second anti-, not the first.

  223. RRA, I call it “the cable channel called ‘Fox News Channel.'” I value it as much as I value the Family Channel, or Hallmark channel, or The Shopping Network, or Oxygen channel, or WB. I watch none of those. As a former & future journalist, I refuse to grant that thing a title that includes the sacred word “news.” Too many lies, too many liars.

    I seriously think my education and experience as a political & world news junkie has made my brain develop a chemically-based resistance that makes that channel & website anathema to me.

    The blatant Fox News bias doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the blatant lack of professionalism. I disagree with the political views of at least 75% of my Army coworkers, but we value & practice professionalism and we get things done; we make amazing things happen because we are professionals. It is unfortunate that there are many intelligent people, even legitimate journalists, who are employed by the cable channel called “Fox News Channel,” but it’s not my job to try to sort through the nonsense in order to inform myself or derive some educational value out of the mostly garbage product of that garbage organization.

  224. Mouth – And worse, look at the influence of FNC on the rest of the news media. There would be no MSNBC of 2010 if not for FNC.

  225. Jareth Cutestory

    January 9th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Mouth: Because your last post was so awesome I thought you should see this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIcx_rxTstc

    In conclusion, go watch ZORRO THE GAY BLADE again.

  226. Preesh, Jareth. That is awesome. I always appreciate a good marginalization of the clowns.

    Some people will always have a special mystique because I’ll always wonder just how they reached the point where millions listen to them and validate & infuse their opinions with significance. We can call it the A FACE IN THE CROWD syndrome. People with no noteworthy educational background, no noteworthy worldly experience, no established level of expertise in anything beyond the appropriate distance between microphone & mouth — how do they get their own TV shows?

    Is ZORRO THE GAY BLADE a real thing? I don’t want that in my google history if it’s gonna cause trouble before the DADT repeal is established Army policy.

  227. Anthony – where are you getting that error message? I haven’t posted a review of that one yet. I started writing one but realized I was rehashing too many points I already made in previous reviews of fakumentaries so I need to redo the whole thing.

  228. Jareth Cutestory

    January 9th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Mouth: A harmless IMDB search of George DOUBLE DRAGON Hamilton’s career will reveal all.

  229. Anthony – don’t worry about being off-topic in this thread. This is the off-topic off-topic thread.

    Jareth – not sure where that one came from, but besides being the anchorman in the “Double Dragon” movie (one of the most awesome crappy movies I’ve ever seen), the guy was in TWO episodes of “Colombo”. That’s a pretty damn impressive record right there.

    And speaking of which… Mouth, if half of what I’ve heard about Fox News is true then I agree with what you’ve said. But don’t lump “Hallmark” in with it. That’s just rude and unnecessary. We all need a good helping of “Law and Order” from time to time.

  230. Oh, wait, “Zorro the Gay Blade”. I get it now. So some guy from “Double Dragon” was also in a film called “Zorro the Gay Blade”? I can’t even fake astonishment at that one.

  231. -vern

    It was showing up in the” film reviews of the cinema/a-z” section.

    Weeeeird, it’s a ghost review!

  232. A brief change of topic: This was quietly underreported by the media (i.e. not much at all), but the Obama Administration has issued new FEMA guidelines about new nuclear fallout shelters. Survive the Bomb by duck and covering in a bomb shelter!

    That’s not a typo. I mean if this shit was done under Dubya, we would all be laughing because hey the same administration where Tom Ridge told us Duct Tape is our messiah against Al Qaeda. But under the current administration? Jesus.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/science/16terror.html?_r=3&hp

  233. I don’t see how you got any of that out of the article you linked to. It was interesting though (it’s about the idea that even staying in your car could protect you from nuclear fallout according to studies).

  234. Here is a great DTV preview for 2011 from Chud by Moltisanti. Lots of Van Damme & MJW (MJW is even directing a film). Also, Guy Pierce in space, I can’t wait! What do you guys think?

    THE B-ACTION THREAD 2011 PREVIEW BY MOLTISANTI

    GUN (Today): 50 Cent pairs with Val Kilmer in the STREETS OF BLOOD reunion we’ve all been waiting for. 50 plays a gun runner who finds himself the target of the Detroit police department, led by James Remar.

    DEATH RACE 2 (1/18): Prequel to the remake (?) with Luke Goss as a convicted cop-killer who heads behind the wheel to become an automotive gladiator. Co-starring Sean Bean, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, and some lady with tig ‘ol bitties.

    GAME OF DEATH (2/15): Wesley Snipes squares off against Gary Daniels and Zoe Bell in this story of a bodyguard trying to protect the life of a diplomat in a hospital under siege. Could be the last Snipes flick we see for a while, unless his zombie-western GALLOWWALKER finally gets released while he’s in the clink.

    BORN TO RAISE HELL: Steven Seagal wins a free-throw shooting contest to become the head coach of the New York Knicks. Not really, but the actual plot of BORN TO RAISE HELL is standard Interpol agent and drug dealers stuff and I like my idea better.

    WEAPON: Scott Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme co-star for the second time, though for this film they’re on the same side as rival assassins who team up to take down a drug cartel. The excitement of this pairing is tempered a bit by a director with a crummy track record and Van Damme’s recent lack of enthusiasm towards his DTV outings.

    IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2: Uwe Boll’s follow-up to the Statham/Liotta/Burt Reynolds epic. None of those guys will return but Dolph Lundgren is on board for what will likely be the only flick we see from him this year. Depressing. But on the bright side early reports indicate that the film will feature Filipino knife fighting which I have not seen executed on screen since HOPE FLOATS.

    NEVER BACK DOWN 2: Upon first glance I could care less about a sequel to the crappy 2008 teen-MMA film. But this one stars Michael Jai White who is also directing so I’m optimistic that at the very least the fight scenes will make it worth watching.

    S.W.A.T. 2: FIRE FIGHT: Gabriel Macht stars as an LAPD S.W.A.T. officer transferred to the mean streets of Detroit where he becomes the obsession of a homicidal genius. Also featuring Robert Patrick and Kristianna Loken who is bisexual.

    STREET KINGS 2: MOTOR CITY: Another L.A. based film gets a DTV sequel set in Detroit. Ray Liotta and Shawn Hotosy star as detectives trying to solve a string of cop killings. My own suspicion? Liotta did it.

    SNIPER: RELOADED: The good news is Billy Zane is back for his first tour of duty in the SNIPER franchise since the original. The bad news is this is also the first entry to not feature Tom Berenger. Instead Zane will be sent to a hostile war zone to aid the son of Berenger’s Thomas Beckett character. Who is to blame for not titling this SON OF SNIPER is not yet known.

    DRAGON EYES: John Hyams’ follow-up to UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION. Stars MMA fighter Cung Le as a man trying to unite two warring gangs against crooked cops in New Orleans. Van Damme will have a small role and Peter Weller is also set to appear. Hyams deserves a shot at having a film on the big screen but I don’t think Cung Le’s name has the juice to make it happen for this one.

    SACRIFICE: Cuba Gooding plays a vengeful cop out to save a young girl from the clutches of a vicious heroin dealer. With Christian Slater as a priest and Kim Coates as the vicious heroin dealer.

    DEADLY CROSSING: Already released in the UK, this Seagal outing is the first film surgically constructed from his never-picked-up Southern Justice TV series.

    THE KILLING GAME: Samuel L. Jackson plays the mastermind behind a lethal fight competition. Featuring James Remar as “The Tall Man.”

    SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE: Rich dudes pay big bucks to go on dangerous military missions. With Christian Slater, Ving Rhames, Sean Bean, James Cromwell, and Colm Meaney. Don’t know much more than that, but I am eager to see if Sean Bean will fire a rocket launcher while adorned in the new spring line of Ralph Lauren yacht wear.

    HANGAR 14: Michael Jai White and Steve Austin star in this story of an LAPD S.W.A.T. team that finds themselves stuck in an abandoned hangar and forced to face-off against two rival gangs while armed with only blanks.

    THE HIT LIST: Cuba Gooding creates a hit list as a goof during one drunken night. He quickly finds himself trying to save the people on that list when some of them end up murdered and he‘s the prime suspect. Then he’s named coach of the New York Knicks. Is anyone still reading this?

    THE EAGLE PATH: God willing and if the creek don’t rise this may finally be the year we can bare witness to Van Damme’s labor of love. I’ve lit my candle, have you lit yours?

    (Here is the link to the original post http://www.chud.com/community/forum/thread/86300/the-b-action-movie-thread/69000#post_3107786 )

  235. Whoah, I didn’t know about DRAGON EYES. That’s good news.

  236. DRAGON EYES sounds awesome. I also really like the idea of a MJW team up with Stone Cold in HANGAR 14. The premise is generic but those two could really make it fun. I have not had the chance to check out most of Stone Cold’s DTV stuff, but he was my favorite part of the EXPENDABLES, and he has what it takes to be an action movie star.

  237. Vern – Duck and Cover!

  238. Here is the theatrical “B- Action Movie” (or Badass) preview for 2011 from Chud by Moltisanti. As I mentioned in my post in the Born To Raise Hell thread It has some good stuff on it like DRIVE ANGRY 3D, but it is not as strong as the scheduled DTV releases.

    THE THEATRICAL B-ACTION THREAD 2011 PREVIEW BY MOLTISANTI

    THE MECHANIC (1/28): Jason Statham is the hitman. Ben Foster is the apprentice. Jan-Michael Vincent is sleeping on a soiled beanbag.

    DRIVE ANGRY 3D (2/25): Nicolas Cage busts out of hell and goes blond in the process as a man out to save his baby granddaughter from a sadistic cult. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    BATTLE: LOS ANGLES (3/11): Aaron Eckhart leads a platoon of marines against an alien invasion of Los Angeles. Personally I wouldn’t let Aaron Eckhart lead a Junior High marching band but this could still be an engaging yarn. Eager to see the rating this one ends up with.

    KILL THE IRISHMAN (3/11): Ray Stevenson as real-life Irish mobster Danny Greene who went to war with the dago wop guinea grease balls who tried to muscle in on his Cleveland empire back in the 70’s. Likely a very limited theatrical release for this one before heading to disc.

    SUCKER PUNCH (3/25): Buncha gals wearing mini-skirts and push-up bras run around in slow-motion firing automatic weapons and twirling swords at dragons and robots. From visionary director Zach Snyder.

    HANNA (4/8): A young girl raised by her father (Eric Bana) in the wilds of Finland to be an assassin embarks on a dangerous mission with implications related to her past. From the director of that movie where Jamie Foxx was a crazy bum cellist.

    HAYWIRE (4/22): Steven Soderbergh’s attempt to make a star out of MMA fighter Gina Carano. Carano plays a covert agent on the run after being double-crossed. With Soderbergh directing I’m sure it’ll be more than just “BOURNE with an MMA chick” and he has put together a strong cast to support Carrano including Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, and Michael Fassbender. Channing Tatum also co-stars as a charisma void.

    FAST FIVE (4/29): Vin. Paul. Tyrese. Jordana. Luda. Shemp. They’re all back together for another epic tale of neon rockets fueled by rice. Hot on their trail is The Rock as Federal Agent Luke Hobbs who will stop at nothing to bring them all to justice. But that’s not all! Also stirring the pot is Joaquim de Almeida as a maniacal businessman who wants them all dead. Shift your gears into fun!

    CONAN (8/19): Lisa Bonet’s boyfriend stars as the Cimmerian barbarian out to avenge the murder of his father. Nu Image has a lot riding on this one as it’s their most expensive production to date, edging out even THE EXPENDABLES. What we’ve seen so far in terms of photos hasn’t been all that dazzling but at the very least Stephen Lang should swallow the scenery with gusto as the villainous Khalar Zym.

    COLOMBIANA (9/2): From the mighty pen of Luc Besson, Zoe Saldana plays an assassin hellbent on tracking down and terminating the mobster who killed her parents. Evidently TRANSPORTER 3 was not enough to deter Besson from seeing the genius inside of Olivier Megaton as he will be behind the camera for this one.

    LOCKOUT: Luc Besson’s mighty pen has been busy. In this flick Guy Pearce stars as a former government agent who is tasked with saving the life of the President’s daughter. Sounds a bit ho-hum you say? Did I mention that the President’s daughter was being held hostage in a maximum security prison? Oh, and did I mention that this maximum security prison is located in outer space? Yeah baby, now we got a party.

    STRAW DOGS (9/16): As outrageous the notion of Rod Lurie remaking a Sam Peckinpah movie is, not to mention having James Marsden play Dustin Hoffman’s role, I will take some solace in the fact that it will also feature Walt Goggins and James Woods. Expect monumental Internet-fist shaking as the release approaches.

    DRIVE (9/16): Ryan Gosling stars as a former Hollywood stunt driver who takes a job as a wheelman for a robbery that goes bad. Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, and Albert Brooks also star. Fun fact: Ron Perlman tore his meniscus during filming.

    THE COURIER: Jeffrey Dean Morgan gets another shot at headlining an action film in this story of a, you guessed it, courier tasked with delivering a super-duper important briefcase. Mickey Rourke and Til Schweiger play characters who either help or try to prevent Morgan from couriering.

    HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN: Rutger Hauer blazes a trail of vengeance as a homeless man who uses his 20-gauge to clean the streets of criminal scum. Will be interesting to see what sort of release this ends up getting. Probably depends a ton on how its screening later this month at the Sundance film festival goes.

    THE HUNGRY RABBIT JUMPS: Nicolas Cage joins up with a group of vigilantes after his wife is brutally assaulted. Other than that basic plot not a lot has surfaced with regards to details on this one which is odd considering the production wrapped nearly a year ago.

    ELEPHANT WHITE: Djimon Hounsou plays a mercenary on assignment in Thialand whose way of life is challenged by a young girl. Kevin Bacon co-stars as an old buddy of Hounsou’s character but aside from them the cast is mainly all-Thai and are directed by Prachya Pinkaew of ONG-BAK, THE PROTECTOR, and CHOCOLATE fame.

    KILLER ELITE: Jason Statham and Clive Owen face-off with Statham playing a former SAS member out to save his mentor (BOBBY DENIRO!) who is kidnapped by a rogue team of operatives led by Owen.

    BLITZ: Jason Statham gets a gay partner in Paddy Constantine and tries to take down a serial killer who is targeting cops in London.

    SAFE: Had enough of Statham? Too damn bad. Here he plays a homeless ex-fighter who rescues a kidnapped little girl and finds himself in the middle of a showdown between the Triads, the Russian mob, and crooked New York cops. All in the course of one night.

    SETUP: 50 Cent and Ryan Phillippe get caught up in a diamond heist that goes south. Co-starring Randy Couture and an ashamed Bruce Willis.

    RAMPART: Woody Harrelson gets his chance at a “cop on the edge” role as an officer caught up in corruption within the notorious Rampart division. Ben Foster, Steve Buscemi, Ice Cube, and Sigourney Weaver also star and the script is co-written by James Ellroy. Ellroy also co-wrote STREET KINGS so it’s anybody’s guess as to whether this will do anything more than what we’ve already seen in the multitude of cop flicks that have come out post-TRAINING DAY.

    HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION: While THE BEAVER is supposedly set for release this spring there hasn’t been much of any talk as to the fate of the other Mel Gibson flick in the can. Here Mel plays a criminal sent to a brutal Mexican prison. There he befriends a young boy whose liver is to be harvested by the prison’s sadistic warden.

    RED DAWN: Originally due out this past Thanksgiving, this remake of the 1984 John Milius flick has been shelved indefinitely due to MGM’s financial woes. I’ll lose no sleep.

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCAL (12/16): Get the fuck outta here.

    (Here is a link the the original post http://www.chud.com/community/forum/thread/86300/the-b-action-movie-thread/69000#post_3107113 )

  239. Oh well, I could do without the “jokey” descriptions, but some of the film listed sound pretty intriguing for one reason or another.
    Despite not having high hopes for it being good (don’t know why. I just heard for the first time about it), I’m most interested in KILLER ELITE, just because it’s Jason Statham Vs Clive Owen.

  240. CJ, you are right that the humor of the descriptions often fall flat and I can say that I agree with the authors opinions but I was to lazy to even try and edit them out. For example I am actually excited about MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCAL mainly because it is going to be directed by Brad Bird.

  241. Yes, Charles, Brad Bird has a chance to become a cinema god with that MI joint.

    Regarding Stone Cold’s recent DTV work, here’s what I posted a month ago in the admittedly somewhat rightfully neglected DAMAGE thread:

    ** Mouth
    Notes on HUNT TO KILL upon today’s viewing:

    Don’t let the nifty title fool you — Stone Cold Steve Austin’s badassish Border Patrol agent is no Mason Storm.

    Eric Roberts doesn’t even last as long as the black guy.

    At 1 point, Austin has a guy in a narsty standing shoulder-contorting grip and the guy manages to swing at Austin’s leg or hip but you can see that the bad guy actually grimaces even worse b/c the punch hurts his hand. Kinda badass moment for Austin.

    50 minutes into the movie, it hits me: Is that Gary Daniels? Oh shit it is. My theory is that the filmatists couldn’t fully sync his schedule with the shooting schedule, so there seems to be a bunch of group shots & scenes where his character is strangely absent. Or maybe it seems that way b/c I watched HUNT TO KILL on a little laptop not expecting/realizing Daniels is in this and also most of the “tense” moments consist of awkward medium reaction shot-filled standoffs.

    Rope plays a prominent role in this movie. Army guys definitely use the 550 cord braid as a way of efficiently carrying the stuff, but I’m not sure one tri-braided wristwatchband is enough rope to allow a guy to tie off to a tree and rappel down a 100 foot cliff face. And then when he climbs back up, he eschews the rope & rock climbs instead, possibly with the help of invisible anti-gravity equipment. And then when he’s knocked/shot back down the cliff face (spoiler) his path takes him down along a mostly dirt cliff face even though he just came up a mostly rocky mossy one.

    This is a highly symbolic, metaphorical movie about the clash of urban values with roughing it in the wild values in the tradition of THE EDGE, CITY SLICKERS, CASTAWAY, TROPIC THUNDER, ALIVE, and PRIVATE BENJAMIN.

    At one point the main bad guy scrunches his face & yells, “I DON’T LIKE YOUR FAMILY!”

    Wait, where did that crossbow come from? Did I just witness a crossbow ex machina?

    Gary Daniels versus Austin
    ______Yes_______
    Not a bad fight, decent technique. Austin appeared to have sure victory when he had Daniels’s arm if he’d dropped to his back & flexed his waist, but of course he didn’t and then Daniels got him in the guard and should have had a triangle for the chokeout win, but I guess he couldn’t get his right calf over his left ankle iIrc so Austin defies physics yet again and quickly stands out of it and a minute or 2 later he steals a weak one-liner from PREDATOR.

    Going farther north a couple miles from Montana to Canada & there’s less snow on the ground, then there’s snow & ice, then there’s none, then finally there is.

    Good, ridiculous final stand by the bad guy, who gets killed seemingly at least 3 times. And yes, Austin ends this fucker with:
    “When I hunt, I hunt to kill!”

    Way to end strong, HUNT TO KILL.

    December 16th, 2010 at 9:14 pm **

    It’s worth seeing, if only for the last 20 minutes.

  242. Great review mouth. I really need to catch up on my Stone Cold DTV movies. How was his performance? The only staring film of his I saw was the WWE produced THE CONDEMNED which was just cruel and not fun, but he was good in it. I think Austin posses one of the most menacing physical presences in all of action cinema.

  243. I won’t lie. In HUNT TO KILL, Stone Cold is only comfortable as an actor when he’s delivering his eponymous brand of Stunners.

    At the same time, he fits in, even shines, nicely as a rough, tough outdoorsman type surrounded by semi-prissy city boys & girl who know nothing of land navigation & cross bowing.

  244. I know Mel is a racist monster and all, but I’m pretty fucking pumped to see him murder a bunch of Mexicans to save a little kid’s liver. That sounds kind of like the definition of awesome to me.

    How many reviewers do you think will reference his alcohol problem by wondering if he’s trying to save the liver for himself? Three? Six? All of them?

  245. This is very rare for me, maybe a first actually, but I think I’ll now reluctantly request a review from Vern. Hate to be one of those guys. Really, I want to know the whole community’s opinion on this thing. It’s technically a DTV, I reckon, and it’s about the struggle between a pure badass and a conflicted, would-be pure badass. It’s only 41 minutes long, so it ain’t much of a commitment in that respect. It’s available on Netflix Watch Instantly, and it’s fucking awesome.

    The reason I feel like I’m asking a lot of Vern and the citizens of Outlawistan here is that it’s, sigh, no easy way to say this. . . It’s a musical, okay? A fucking musical. But I, for one, don’t have a problem with that. In fact, it makes it better. There’s your challenge, Vern. I dare you to dislike this thing.

    If Vern is interested (and I’m patient, so I’ll wait til homey can clear his schedule for this delightful trifle for which he’ll later thank me if he hasn’t already seen it), it’s called DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG.

  246. Mouth, you are full of surprises. Much as I like it, I never would have dared namedrop DR. HORRIBLE round these parts.

  247. Mouth, I can see what your saying. Austin does not have the acting range of The Rock, and he is at his best when not talking. Kind of like Arnold in the Terminator.

    Mr. Majestyk, I am with you that the premise of HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION sounds really entertaining. It is to bad that Mel seems to have been black listed at this point in his career, because his age and weathered looks make him seem that much more world weary and hardened. I am no supporter of bigotry and can not condone some of what he has said over the years, but I do think he got a bum wrap when it came to those phone calls with his EX. It really seemed like she was attempting to manipulate him into getting upset so she could use it against him. Mel get some help, and get back to kicking ass soon.

  248. Mouth, I am not going to make fun of you for recommending a musical. I did my fair share of musical theater in high school including playing Captain Von Trapp in THE SOUND OF MUSIC my senior year.

  249. Fuck starring roles, I’m ready for Gibson to get behind the camera again. He’s hands-down one of the best living directors, and I defy anyone to argue that point. I’m sure he’s an asshole or whatever but you know what? I’m never gonna meet him. If he keeps making shit as insane, classic, and badass as APOCALYPTO or, hell, even PASSION I can pretty much reserve a spot in my top-ten list for whatever year they come out. Mel, sort your shit and make a damn movie. I love you as a leading man, but I honestly don’t care if you ever act again if you’ll start directing a little more regularly.

  250. Word, Mr. S. Director Mel Gibson is batting at least .750 in my opinion. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is an extremely well-made movie; even for an atheistic skeptic, the technical excellence is undeniable. It’s a highly rewarding film for the attentive viewer/critic.

    Charles & Mr. M, I wanted to quickly post a YouTube of Ron Burgundy uttering “I immediately regret this decision,” but I couldn’t find it. Now that time has passed, I can only assume Vern is currently digesting the awesomeness that is DR. HORRIBLE, and so I regret nothing.

    Charles, I don’t know you, but you’re no Christopher Plummer. Then again, who is?

  251. If Mel gets his viking movie back on track I guess he will be visiting Norway soon. And maybe he’ll feel secure enough in such a remote part of the world that he’ll actually talk to the press? Would be interesting the hear if he’s gone totally Mad Max on us.

  252. Y’know, Dr HORRIBLE is pretty okay, I just wish they wouldn’t start singing every few seconds or at least come up with songs that don’t stop the story cold, like the sex scenes in PIRATES 2.

  253. Also supposedly out this year – BLOOD SHOT. Lance Henriksen and Brad Dourif, vampires vs terrorists.

  254. I am a regular at CHUD’s B-Action Thread. We recently upgraded our site. It would be a great honour for us, Vern, if you could visit us sometimes.

    We’re great fans of SEAGALOGY and Molt, Rene and the rest of us love B-Action with a passion. I am proud to say that the entire 1387 pages of our Thread is chock full of action titbits and videos and still going strong.

  255. Wow SNIPER IV with Billy Zane! This is the first time I’ve ever been pumped for a DTV sequel! (Though I certainly kept an eye on US:REGENERATION) Hopefully they can then pull off an AMERICAN NINJA 4 (which I’ve never seen) and reunite Zane with Berenger for SNIPER V, ending the series with some PLANET OF THE APESian symmetry.

    I’d be interested in GALLOWALKER if it ever gets released, as I actually know someone who worked on it. Their stories aren’t particularly pleasant

  256. Mouth, you are right there is only one Christopher Plummer.

  257. Charles, EXCELLENT lists. Also thanks Chud’s B-Movie action site, I will check it out. Plenty of good stuff in there to comment on. Stuff like:

    “Gun”, “Death Race 2”, “Game of Death”, “Weapon”, “In the Name of the King 2”, “Sniper Reloaded”, “Soldiers of Fortune” – wow, seven films, and not a single reason to see any of them that I can detect. On the other hand…

    “Never Back Down 2”. Y’see, now that I’ve worked out that I’ve never been blown away by Snipes, Michael Jai White has become my African-American Action Movie Star of choice. There are definitely a couple of “sleepers” in this list, and this could be one of them. Very often the DTV sequels to the least inspiring movies turn out to be the best movies in their own right (just look at “Universal Soldier: Regeneration”) so I’m not too worried about the fact that “Never Back Down” apparently wasn’t very good.

    “Born to Raise Hell” – Vern’s just reviewed it. Sounds like Seagal’s back on the upswing, which can only be a good thing.

    “SWAT 2” – It features two motherfucking Terminators. Just about everything about it sounds uninspired, but goddamn if it doesn’t feature two motherfucking Terminators. How bad can it be?

    “Dragon Eyes” – OH YES. Everything that could be said, has been said.

    “Sacrifice” – this, on the other hand, has the potential to be the most laugh-out-loud terrible “serious” DTV effort of the lot. Looking at the synopsis, who’s in it, who’s directing it, etc, I think this genuinely has the potential to be an early contender on most people’s “Worst of the decade in DTV” lists. I just cannot imagine any parallel universe where this could actually turn out to be a half-decent watchable movie. It’d be interesting if I’m proven wrong!

    “Deadly Crossing” – You know what happens when people make “mashup” Seagal movies? They stink. (“Submerged”, anyone?) Look, we all have our copies of Seagalogy (I hope), it’s not like this concept is anything new to any of you guys. If this film is any good, I will personally eat the half-digested remains of what remains of my hat after my last such wager on this site.

    “Hangar 14” – This could turn out to be an excellent little concept film. Or it could turn out like “Buried”. (Now officially the worst film I have seen in 2010. Thankyouverymuch.) I’m hoping it’s the former, if only because MJW is in it. I’ve never yet seen Steve Austin act (and judging by the reviews of some of his other films, neither has anybody else; but fuck that, I’m trying to stay positive here, so he’s getting the benefit of the doubt.)

    “The Hit List” – if Serious Cuba turns up, this could be his best film since that one he starred in with Skeet Ulrich. (Remember him?) If Jokey Cuba turns up, this could be the most excrutiating unfunny film starring an African-American comedy actor that doesn’t star Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence. We’ll have to see which way it goes.

    “The Eagle Path” – can it possibly live up to the anticipation? My heart says yes, my brain says no. Here’s hoping the heart rules the head for once.

    “Street Kings 2” – now if they can make this one into a good “straight” whodunnit with a gritty setting (something along the lines of the criminally-underrated “Backdraft”), then this could be gold. Alternatively they could go down the “brainless macho posturing” route that most DTV attempts at this kind of thing tend to follow. I hope they don’t; there are enough dumb cop movies with cliche’d leads and no suspense in this world already, thanks very much.

    “The Killing Game” – apart from “Never Back Down 2”, this one has the most potential “sleeper” status, for me. James Remar and Sam L is a pretty inspiring combination if both of them are on form. The trouble is, it’s not so long ago that I saw “The Tournament”. (That was the film that promised an epic duel between the greatest assassins in the world, and then used a sulky teenager with a gun and The Most Annoying Moralising Priest Stock Character I’ve Ever Seen (TM) as the “eye-level” characters. Because God forbid we get a film about deadly assassins where the lead character actually, you know, KILLS PEOPLE FOR MONEY. Anyway…)

    This one could go all-out and be fantastic. Or it could go down the predictable route that “The Tournament” took, and disappoint as much as “The Tournament” did. Let’s just say that if they use an incredibly ridiculous plot-contrivance to have Sam L killed at the end of it, I will be crying “foul”. If, on the other hand, it lives up to the premise, this could be great. Here’s hoping.

    Ok, I’m going to take a look at the action movies within cinemas. Give me a sec…

  258. Thanks Paul, but to give credit to where it is due I did not make the list I only brought it to the attention of the Outlaw Vern community.

  259. Modesty is for pussies and musical theatre performers, Chuck. Oh, yeah,

  260. “Battle: Los Angeles”, “Fast Five”, “Colombiana”, “Lockout”, “The Courier”, “Drive”, “Killer Elite”, “Safe”, “Setup”, “How I spent my summer vacation”… oh boy, the “almost certainly not worth the money” crop are pretty dominant within this list. It’s interesting because in amongst the endless car-chase films there are some interesting ideas there, I just can’t see them being executed to their full potential by the people given the job of making them. I see these ones as typical studio films, relying on cliche not character. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

    “Conan”, “Straw Dogs”, “Red Dawn” – oh joy, the classic remake section. They have about as much chance of earning my hard-earned boolah as Peewee Herman has of beating Jet Li in a fair fight. (Assuming “Red Dawn” even gets released.)

    “The Mechanic” – Oh joy, Jason Statham. Well, I liked “The Bank Job”, but that was very much an ensemble effort. “The Transporter” was his solo piece, and I slept through most of it. Basically the guy’s great in a supporting role or as part of a large cast. As the leading man… not so much.

    “Drive Angry” – I’m expecting mega-acting, but my expectations are set low. When Nic Cage takes on this kind of thing, the results are the “Ghost Rider” and “Wicker Man” remakes.

    “Kill the Irishman” – will probably get decent reviews and make no money whatsoever. Including from me, because I can’t think of anything less interesting than yet another gritty biopic of an Irish/ British mobster. I daresay there are some people who’d be “into” this, but would they spend their hard-earned cash on it? Gut says no.

    “Sucker Punch” – Now this, on the other hand, I can definitely get behind. I’m not in any way a Snyder-hater and quite liked “Watchmen”. Can he do the premise justice? I hope so.

    “Hanna” – could be an excellent slow-burn resourceful-innocent-in-danger suspense thriller, and the names behind it make me hopeful that it might nail it. I would definitely go and see this if it gets decent reviews.

    “Haywire” – provided it’s an ensemble piece, this could be excellent. If anybody can make Gina Carrano into a movie star, Soderburgh’s got the chops.

    “Hobo with a shotgun” – could be a classic revenge-fest bit of hobosploitation. Or they could play it straight, whereby it’ll just be a more depressing version of that Joel Schumacher movie where Michael Douglas goes off the rails and on a killing spree. You know, the one that had a good premise and half-decent execution that you forgot the name of half an hour after you saw it. (Well I sure as hell can’t remember it now.)

    “The Hungry Rabbit Jumps” – Ugh, oh boy. It says something that my worst instincts about all the films here seem to have settled on BOTH the Nic Cage movies. “Drive Angry” looks bad, but this looks horrifically bad. I’d love to be proven wrong here, but I doubt it.

    “Elephant White”. I haven’t seen “Chocolate” but I have seen “Ong Bak” and “The Protector”, and wouldn’t really have minded if I hadn’t. None of which really inspires me to think this will be anything fantastic.

    “Blitz” – see my comments on “Street Kings 2”, because they’d be almost word-for-word identical to what I’d say about “Blitz”. There are a quite ridiculous number of books and movies about serial killers targeting policemen. Some are great, some are… not. Not sure which end of the spectrum “Blitz” will appear at.

    “Rampart”… oh boy. This one sets all the alarm bells ringing. Other than the two Cage movies, I think this has the most potential to have that Batman-and-Robin-esque “so bad it’s funny” quality about it.

    Ok, saving the best for last (and another post). So here we go.

  261. Ok, if you’re one of the two people in the world (probably an optimistic estimate there) who enjoys my rants and knows my tastes, this is the one you’ve been waiting for: “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”. As directed (but NOT written) by Brad Bird. Oh boy, where do I start with this one.

    First of all: IMO “Mission: Impossible”, the original, was easily in the top five best studio big-budget movies of its decade. It was that fucking good. And at the heart of it was a fantastic central performance by Tom Cruise. Of all the starring roles Cruise has had, this was easily his best, ever. (And yes, I include “Magnolia”, “Rain Man”, “Collateral”…) Seriously, I’ve watched this movie five or six times and I STILL keep picking up things about Cruise’s performance that I hadn’t seen before. It’s the eyes. He’s a model of constant watchful intelligence, noticing things before the audience does, barely betraying that he has, but it’s ALL there in his eyes.

    Adding to an incredible central performance is a fantastic supporting cast, most of whom get killed off in the first act. (If that doesn’t tip you off that this film is deadly serious about being more than a feature-length episode of the TV show, the twists regarding certain characters later on, and their eventual fates, would pretty much seal the deal. But anyway…) This is the point at which most films would drop into a dull second act, before picking up tempo again for act 3. Not this one.

    Instead you get a host of new characters – some trustworthy, some not so much. You get three separate interlocking games of cat-and-mouse, one of which takes place almost entirely offscreen (and features a character who’s supposed by most to be dead since the start of the film). You get what is without question one of the most tense “heist” scenes I’ve ever seen.

    And then the final act… I gotta be honest, the bit at the end with the helicopter didn’t work for me. When the rest of the film is this tense and intelligent, to throw in a showy action sequence at the very end seems… a little desperate. A bad case of producer intervention perhaps? But despite this, I fucking love this film. And the best part about it is that it sets up a fantastic shadowy world where anybody can be anybody else with the help of a well-crafted mask. Where treachery is commonplace, trust is sacred, and alleigances are crafted and broken in an instant with the promise of money and / or sex.

    And then you have the two sequels and the epic question: HOLY FUCK, what happened? Did the writers / directors not realise what they’d got on their hands? Did they completely miss the point? Seriously… how did this shitfest take place? How did the second film become about slo-mo shots of Tom Cruise’s hair? How did #3 turn into an action movie that’s so utterly generic and mediocre, I can’t find any reason for it to even fucking exist?

    How the fuck did these turds get greenlit as “Mission: Impossible” sequels? Why is Cruise’s character called “Ethan Hunt” when plainly he’s playing a completely different guy in all three films? What’s the fucking point of them being called “Mission: Impossible” at all? Do the producers think we’re THAT stupid?

    And now we have another great director, Brad Bird. (After John Woo and J J Abrams.) Given his chance to make his first pre-scripted live-action movie. Yep, it’s gonna be another “Mission: Impossible” stinker. And it stands a serious chance of ruining the great, great career of Brad Bird, who’s made some of my favorite animated films of recent times. FUCK THAT.

    Ok, rant over. Anyway, them’s my thoughts.

  262. Paul, I am with you about the quality of the first MI film. I really like De Palma, even when he is not at his best he tends to at least be visually interesting. However, I am more optimistic about Brad Bird’s MI then you. You make a good point but until Bird gives me a reason not to believe in him he has my trust. Also, I liked MI:III. I thought it was a strong directorial debut from Abrams.

  263. Mouth, you are right I am a pussy, but that only confirms the theory that you are what you eat.

  264. Charles, as depressing as I found MI:3 to be, I hope you’re right about Brad Bird’s effort. The fact that the identity of “the villain” has been announced a year before the film was even released doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence though. Does anybody else remember when they used to make people sign “promises” coming out of “The Mousetrap” and “Psycho” that they wouldn’t give away the endings? (Somehow I don’t think you could do that in these lawsuit-happy times.)

  265. Paul, your point is a valid one. I that I may expect something different from these films then you do. I am not looking for them to blow me away with originality or reinvent the wheel or anything, because just by being a MI film it is going to contain certain elements and plot structure/devises that we are very familiar with. It is more a question of how well the director is able to work within the constraints of the elements and structure that are a part of a MI film. De Palma did a great job at applying his sensibilities to the MI format, Woo missed it, and I thought Abrams did a good job. It was clever of Abrams to reveal the villain and set up the ending of the film at the beginning because anyone who has seen one of these films has a good idea where the films are headed before the opening credits start. It is not a questions of where the film is going to take us, because we know where we will wind up. It is more a question of how good is the ride leading up to the inevitable conclusion.

  266. ** I haven’t seen “Chocolate” but I have seen “Ong Bak” and “The Protector”, and wouldn’t really have minded if I hadn’t. **

    Paul is dead to me.

  267. ATTENTION SCHOLARS OF BADASS:

    lower your expectations for Drive Angry. Lower them way, way down. I was extremely underwhelmed and I adore Nic Cage movies.

  268. But it’s got Nic Cage in it! I mean, c’mon — Nic Cage!

  269. Hunter, that is disappointing news.

    Mouth, I am lovin the new pic.

  270. ….and now we can finally talk about ninjas again ! I was able to see “Ninja in the USA” (1985) , the poor man’s American Ninja ( and , considering that AN was already made with a budget equal to an happy meal and lots of imagination …..well that’s something) . But I enjoyed it . It’s one of those “not-from-Japan” productions with ninjas in it ( like Heroes of the East or Chinese Super Ninjas ) , from Hong Kong , and you can really tell that because most of the martial arts in the movie are clearly kung fu moves . But it’s not one of those ninja movies with no ninjas at all , in fact there’s plenty of hoods and the protagonist has a camo ninja suit that really stands out , and of course , you get the ninjas-training-in-the-crimelord’s-backyard scene , a classic , and even a white ninja. The protagonist , when he’s not in ninja-duty , he’s always dressed like Crockett from Miami Vice ! Lots of weapons used and well executed action scenes , but what I really like is the soundtrack ( 80’s all the way , a lost art , in my opinion ) and the sound effects , used sometimes with hilarious results . In the proud tradition of Ninja III , there’s even an opening with a full on ninja attack ! Here see for yourselves :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WLGaLZuZX8

  271. Mouth – the movie has Nic Cage, and you seriously think that’s a good thing? That’s like saying “it has Robert de Niro” in it. Yeah, I know Machete was okay, but seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the talent, just the choices.

  272. I don’t recall Nic Cage or his agent ever making a bad career choice.

    NIC CAGE WILL DIE FOR HONOR!*

    translation for Paul: NIC CAGE WIULL DIUE FOUR HONOUR!

  273. Another interesting A.V. Club interview, this time with UDO KIER!

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/udo-kier,49362/

  274. That interview’s awesome. Mmmmm, mid-90s Pamela Anderson. . . too bad I wouldn’t boomboom in her zoomazoom with less than a 10 foot pole these days.

  275. I wish this interview had happened 10-15 years earlier. I had answered every question from my teachers with: “I cannot answer you, because it’s totally unknown to me what you just asked me, and also very boring.”

  276. Caoimhín – That is awesome, especially if it turns out that the guy has pulled an Elliott Spitzer.

    So kids, who saw that “blood libel” speech by Sarah of Alaska?

  277. David Bordwell just did another great blog post breaking down some Hong Kong action scenes, similar to the recent post he did comparing a Jackie Chan movie to a Bond movie:

    http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=11811

    An excellent read for anyone interested in the visual language of action movies.

  278. Sorry guys , I’m ashamed . This is my country , and I love Italy , but today I feel like shit . Today I had to say it out loud : ” Our prime minister is now suspected to be involved in a teenage prostitution case. Please , Crom , make it stop “. And not only him ! Oh , no ! The director of one of his news channels ( Studio Aperto ) Emilio Fede , a sleazy “new-talents” agent called Lele Mora and another member of the Parliament , are all linked to the case . Fuuuuuuuuck !

  279. Mouth – BWAHAHAHAHA oh wait were you being serious? Tell me you weren’t being serious.

    CallMeKermit – in your country, politicians taking bribes from all and sundry was until recently considered an acceptable sacrifice for keeping the hospitals clean and the trains running on time. Trust me, that’s better than what we have over here. Not only do we have incessant moralising over every little infraction – what’s a couple of hundred thousand pounds worth of bribes between friends? – but public transport is crap, the welfare state is in worse condition than ever before, and we have the world’s most intrusive CCTV camera network but it’s only ever used to issue parking tickets and speeding fines.

    Dammit, I WANT our leading politicians to have a string of affairs with fashion models and marry high-class call girls. Might make ’em a bit more laid-back about things.

  280. Paul: At least you have Banksy taking on all those CCTV cameras. I love that guy.

  281. Since when our trains are running on time ? Trust me on this one, Paul , they’re not , and by a long shot . Hospitals are not that much better. We have a phenomenon called “malasanità” , translated as “bad health care” (the “mala” part with the double meaning of “mafia”) , with investigations all over the place . Yeah , that’s right , this shit is so common that we have a made up word for it , a codename like “broken arrow” . Today , and it was evening news time , a doctor was investigated for selling organs . Yesterday a girl was found dead after a regular check-up , nothing serious , and the parents are suing the hospital.

  282. Speaking of foreign political turmoil, how about that successful revolution down in Tunisia?

  283. Kermit – yeah I know, I said “until recently”, maybe I should have emphasized that part. :( I know you guys have a whole new set of problems right now. One that you probably have less of than we do, though, is an incredibly hypocritical sanctimonious media that regularly abuses its right to pry into peoples’ lives while pandering to whatever political “side” their editors and producers are paid the most money by. (Yeah, you probably have that problem, but I can’t imagine it’s as bad as ours. Plus your Prime Minister’s wife may be living on the proceeds of corruption, but at least she looks a helluva lot better in a swimsuit than ours does.)

  284. Speaking of Italy, apparently that country (along with France) refused to grant exile to the fleeing ex-Tunisian President who flew instead to Saudia Arabia.

  285. “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” – what do y’all think about it? Didn’t see a review here, and R1 DVD is OOP, so feels kind of under the radar now for Clint. It’s a shaggy road/buddy/heist movie with that 70s reliance on character over concept; it feels loose without the dullness or sloppiness you sometimes get from vibe-chasing movies of the time. Would make a good double bill with the less mellow “Prime Cut”. Seeing it last night was like looking at celebrity childhood pictures – not only for Jeff Bridges but Gary Busey and the smokin’ Catherine Bach. Anyway, the movie really surprised me – I vaguely remember the poster art putting Eastwood behind an enormous gun, which doesn’t really capture the life-on-the-fringes feel, the easygoing humor & tone shifts, and the oddness that Bridges’s non-macho Lightfoot gets handled with affection while the women get no sentiment at all (well, guess the wife of camera guy at the end has a moment where we like her.) Somebody here’s got to have seen it – what did you think?

  286. Yes , I was keeping an eye on Tunisia because two reporters , from the state-owned channel RAI ( and I believe from the channel RAI 3 , the one with political views opposed to Berlusconi ) , were beaten by the police when reporting from the field .

  287. Seen Death Race 2. Surprisingly decent, wobbly accents and Sean Bean cameo aside.

  288. Vern, you may have already seen it, and I bet I am not the first to recommend but you have to check out EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. I finally saw it last night and it was fucking amazing! Hands down one of the best movies I have seen in a while. Also, the less you know about it the better.

  289. Speaking of documentaries, anyone seen Cropsey yet?
    Watch it at the following link, for free, on Hulu.
    Ebert has a review of it up, also. It’s about a Staten Island possible child killer, and has footage of a mid 80’s mental hospital that’s possibly the most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/174640/cropsey

  290. I want to take the unusual stance of defending the Hollywood stars at the Golden Globes. If you missed it, Ricky Gervais hosted again and did his whole “I’ll say what you’re not supposed to say” routine, making fun of the celebrities who were there, the event itself, etc.

    There is sort of a made up controversy now, because most of the jokes were mean, some of them weren’t even funny, and there were some parts where the crowd didn’t laugh and the cameras showed famous people looking uncomfortable. Admittedly some of the jokes were funny-mean (like when he introduced Tom Hanks with a long list of his awards and achievements, then said “the other is Tim Allen.”) One was just kind of a shitty thing to say (his introduction of Robert Downey Jr. was about him being a drug addict, when clearly he’s a rare case of an addict who cleaned up and then his career blew up). Another was just stupid (why do you make a joke about Tom Cruise being gay? Why are we supposed to be so sure he is, why would we want to criticize him for that if he was, why was he even brought up other than to humiliate Nicole Kidman, who was there, and what do you have against Nicole Kidman?)

    So that’s fine, Gervais did what he is known for, what he was hired to do, and the reaction was probly about what he expected. The part that’s bothering me now is all the websights I read having to complain that they need to have a sense of humor about themselves, Robert Downey Jr. of all people blah blah blah, it just goes to show that Hollywood blah blah blah etc.

    For what? Did Robert Downey stab Gervais backstage? Did the crowd chase him away with torches and pitchforks? Did they angrily call somebody demanding he get fired? Did they return their awards in protest? No, they just didn’t laugh, and looked uncomfortable when they were on TV having a guy say mean things about them. Then, when prompted by reporters backstage, they answered honestly that they thought he was being mean. What do you want Downey to do, spit a bunch of milk out of his nose and act like it’s hilarious? Make a speech about the first amendment? Even if he said “no comment” or dodged the question I’m sure the same people would’ve wrote the same stupid shit.

    This is a totally insignificant topic, which is why I’m posting it here instead of its own post. But we internetters need to be called on our bullshit. This is a made up thing, not a real thing. You can’t get your panties in a bunch about Hollywood having their panties in a bunch when nobody really had any panties in any bunches. All that happened was some jokes didn’t go over well. The end.

    sorry about this one

  291. I would’ve watched the Golden Globes if I’d known there were going to be so many panties involved.

  292. You all know that I really, really dislike Ricky Gervais, which was the main reason why I didn’t watch the Golden Globes. After all that uproar I decided to watch at least the opening monologue. I turned it off 45 seconds and one “Charlie Sheen loves to drink a lot” joke later. (I’m not saying that I’m offended when someone pokes fun at Charlie Sheen, but that was exactly the kind of obvious punchline that I expected.)

  293. Vern – what I find most bizarre though is people acting like Gervais’ act was edgy/pushing the envelope, when tbh half the stuff he said is nothing worse than what you get in chat show opening monologues. On top of that, jokes about RDJr being a drug addict and Tom Cruise being gay are about 10 years too late, I’d be criticising him for his material being out of date and unfunny, not that it was rude. Although if Harvey Weinstein’s declaration that Gervais “won’t work in this town again” is true, then congrats on to that man for completely overreacting.

    Like you say, it’s really a “controversy” that’s been created by the media calling it a controversy.

    Although I do approve of him Christian Bale pointing out the bullshit nature of the Golden Globes; Gervais talking about the bribery and Bale talking about the HFPA being a bunch of self important tools.

    Also we’re probably missing the most important bit of information – Robert De Niro’s face when Gervais was doing the Hefner gag. If De Niro approves I’m not sure I can say a bad word about it heh.

  294. Vern, if I understand correctly, Tom Cruise takes a lot of flack not because he’s allegedly gay but because he’s suspected of being closeted. Jokes about him tend to play up the extreme PR measures he takes to affect the life of a straight man, when it’s “obvious” that he isn’t. Jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch as an obvious PR stunt, and the strangely public pre-fabrication of his marriage, kind of begged for a response.

    It’s the same scenario they wrote so well for aspiring “actor” Tobias Funke on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

    Having said that, I agree with you that the joke is old, hurtful, and wasn’t even that funny when SOUTH PARK won their award for it. And, really, to broadly suggest that everyone is better off not living in the closet is insensitve in the extreme.

  295. Even if Cruise isn’t gay, the above mentioned PR measures would still be worthy of mockery as overcompensation for something that isn’t really a big deal, true or not. As for Gervais’ jokes, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using that sort of humour. Obviously, there’s a point it becomes poor taste, but in general, if you hire a comedian to host an awards ceremony, the obvious route to take with the material is to counter the self-aggrandising nature of such events. If it was a comedy roast, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, would it?

  296. Why is everyone assuming that the unnamed famous closeted gay Sci-gist is Cruise? I thought it was a take-your-pick reference based on allegations that Sci. holds early recruit confessions over their heads if the recruit later considers straying. Which I think has more teeth to the people in that room than “OMG, Star X is totally not 100% straight.”

    While part of me enjoys seeing pedestals get rattled, I do get why people lucky enough to win the public appeal lottery wouldn’t want counternarratives beamed out to the world on a (supposedly) prestigious program. Plus, no matter how Gervais spins the reaction, a friend who was there says that most people felt offended or annoyed by the “jokes”, so can’t really fall back on the “all in fun” excuse.

  297. I think the issue a lot of people have with Cruise (and Travolta) being closeted is that he’s a member of a religion which views homosexuality as a “mental illness” which it claims it can “cure”. So for some people it transcends the “he’s not doing anybody any harm” and “it’s none of our business” arguments. Not sure I agree but I can see their point. Incidentally for what it’s worth I’ve never been convinced either of them are gay

  298. Tom Hardy’s playing Bane in the next Batman and Ann Hathaway is Catwoman
    http://io9.com/5737849/villains-of-nolans-batman-3-revealed
    Fine with Hathaway, she’s a good enough actress in what I’ve seen to do both the fun, thrill-seeking aspect of Catwoman and the more serious stuff. Hardy playing Bane is a little odd considering the character’s south american, but Bronson-Type Bulk+Intelligent Take on the Character, rather than the stupid brute approach they gave him in Batman and Robin could really make it work.

  299. That’s nerd shit.

  300. RE: PACMANFEVER

    Because Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindi, and almost every other faith on the planet isn’t overtly homophobic. Yes, Scientology is the religion worthy of your derision!

    Look, brass tax; any religion you might believe in, any religion that you might have been raised in, any religion that you may have ever bumped elbows with has done more evil things on a much larger scale than Scientology. The bigots at “Anonymous” bitch and whine about an alleged body count of 7 people. SEVEN PEOPLE over 50 years killed by a religion. And they can’t even prove it.

    In the last 50 years, how many people do you think the Catholic Church has killed, either literally or figuratively? Keep in mind their strong anti-gay and anti-condom stance that has lead to tens of millions of cases of HIV/AIDS. And keep in mind the high suicide rate amongst survivors of pedophile priests.

    Fundamentalist Christianity got Reagan into office, in trade the “Moral Majority” had him suppress all information on the AIDS crisis for over 6 years even though we knew exactly how it was spread and what the risk factors were by late 1979 to early 1980.

    How many people has the Jewish government in Israel killed in the last 50 years?

    How many people do you think have been stoned to death for being sexually assaulted, beheaded on camera, bombed, ect al in the name of Islam in the last 50 years.

    Face it guys, not only does Scientology make exactly as much sense as any other religion, it’s also much better behaved. Have you ever heard of a group of young Scientologists getting drunk and going out and committing hate crimes against non-Scientologists?

    They’re literally the least evil religion in the world.

  301. Yeah, but they’re still new. Give them a couple thousand years and we’ll see what shenanigans they get up to.

  302. And I don’t mean to call the faithful “evil” so much as I believe the artifice and the structure of religion encourages corruption inherently. I’m an Atheist, but I try to pray every day. My Hasidic friends tell me that makes me a good Jew.

  303. It could be argued that I’ve killed in the name of atheism before. My nongod is a vengeful nongod.

  304. Mouth – Bah we know you kill in the name of Chris Hitchens.

  305. I’d maintain that most of the Atheist killings in the world have been as part of cults of personality. Stalin, Mao, and yes, at the risk of invoking Godwin (again), even Hitler. These men carried Godlike power to their followers and regularly invoked religious structure to their nationalism, even if they were Atheists.

  306. RRA, Hitch is deadly enough with his own tongue. You see him dominate Tony Blair most recently in the Munk Debate? It was almost disappointing how easily he dismantled him & theism. And he had lots of energy, even requesting additional, more provocative questions from the audience.

    Hunter, Jesus Christ man, I was referring to my delivering bullets & bombs as a function of seeming to be an anti-Muslim. It’s American policy to eliminate the bad guys, and most of the most dangerous bad guys where we currently focus our resources happen to claim Islam. I’m glad to dent their entire belief system in the process (According to the translated transcript from a Bagram prisoner sentencing hearing, I’ve been called “a godless American pretty boy who true followers of Allah can not trust because he have no beard.”), but I hope I don’t have a Hitler/Mao/Stalin streak in me.

  307. I wasn’t calling American troops Stalin-esque et al. Frankly, I think that being in the position of a superpower gives one a moral obligation to interceded in world problems. It’s just that it is a common argument to negate wrongdoings of religious governments by pointing out Communist sins.

  308. Hunter D. – Next time someone pulls that argument, throw this at them: Communism, if we’re talking world history as a broad subject, was relatively a recent phenomenon. And what, that’s just one?

    And in the other corner, I have the child rape-sanctioned institution that is the Vatican and the Mullahs in Tehran who sanction a dictatorship by waving around a holy book. Hamas/Hezbollah use religion to excuse their policies, with Israel in recent years going religiously ultra-conservative in their Jewish nationalism*.

    Do I need to extol the American NeoCons and somehow Bristol Palin became a role model?

    *=Like a suburb of Nazareth banned Christmas trees over the holidays. You know Jesus’ hometown? Sheesh. Worse, there is a honest to God debate in Israel, split 50-50, whether to follow a recent Rabbi-issued edict that Jews can’t rent out property to Arabs?

  309. From certain angles, Humanity is so fucking depressing. What a massive waste of carbon & water molecules. Not you guys; y’all are among the rare tiny percentage of non-imbecile earthlings. Goddamn, I hate people. Most of the ones I don’t hate, I’m disappointed in.

    Maybe the Scientologists have it right — identify ancient alien beings & their spirit within each of us and shit and maybe we’ll somehow act more civilly toward each other. Beats being a regular human being.

  310. Hunter D – you realise Hitler was a fundamentalist Christian right-winger who believed he was on a Holy War to eradicate the world of the Jewish problem, right? He was a baptised Roman Catholic and believed himself to be doing the work of the Roman Catholic church (and opposing the Evangelical and Protestant churches in the process). This isn’t pointed out so much in American history books, maybe because American history books are largely written by the Christian Right themselves.

    Here’s the man’s own words:

    I am personally convinced of the great power and deep significance of Christianity, and I won’t allow any other religion to be promoted. That is why I have turned away from Ludendorff and that is why I reject that book by Rosenberg. It was written by a Protestant. It is not a Party book. It was not written by him as a Party man. The Protestants can be left to argue with him … As a Catholic I never feel comfortable in the Evangelical Church or its structures. That is why I will have great difficulty if I try to regulate affairs of the Protestant churches. The evangelical people or the Protestants will in any case reject me. But you can be sure: I will protect the rights and freedoms of the churches and not let them be touched, so that you need have no fears about the future of the Church. As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic church has adopted for fifteen hundred years, when it has regarded the Jews as dangerous and pushed them into ghettos etc., because it knew what the Jews were like. I don’t put race above religion, but I do see the danger in the representatives of this race for Church and State, and perhaps I am doing Christianity a great service.”

    FTR I agree with your point. I’m just saying, please don’t lump Adolf Hitler in with us atheists. It isn’t religion that’s bad, it’s faith – belief without reason – no matter whether that belief is in a god, a political system like Communism, or anything else.

    Anyway, I didn’t come here to argue about Hitler. I came to ask Vern an VERY IMPORTANT POINT, one that goes beyond politics or religion or any of those petty subjects.

    And that point is:

    Vern, did you ever find out the rest of the recipe for fruit salad with crystallized ginger (as appears in part in “Under Siege 2” and is quoted in “Seagalogy”)? My parents are coming over for dinner and I need a sweet.

  311. Hunter D.- I actually agree with most of what you say, but I have heard and read a lot of people objecting to Cruise and Travolta’s supposedly obvious closet lifestyle because of their religion. I’m sure if they were fundamentalist Christians or whatever they’d object to it for the same reasons

  312. Sorry to interrupt the religious argument, but Argento fans might enjoy this brief article on DEEP RED:

    http://www.electricsheepmagazine.co.uk/reviews/2011/01/05/deep-red/

    The author nicely highlights what I’ve always seen as a major theme in Argento’s movies: the tension/contrast between elegance and sleaze.

  313. Paul-

    I’m pretty sure Hitler- much like any politician claimed to have believed whatever was necessary to further his agenda. To say he was a fundamentalist Christian waging a holy war is just plain bullshit – dudes like Hitler generally don’t believe in any power greater than their own.

    From Wikipedia —————————————

    …In the political relations with the churches in Germany however, Hitler readily adopted a strategy “that suited his immediate political purposes”. Hitler had a general plan, even before the rise of the Nazis to power, to destroy Christianity within the Reich. The leader of the Hitler Youth stated “the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement” from the start, but “considerations of expedience made it impossible” publicly to express this extreme position. His intention was to wait until the war was over to destroy the influence of Christianity.

    Hitler for a time advocated for Germans a form of the Christian faith he called “Positive Christianity”, a belief system purged of what he objected to in orthodox Christianity, and featuring added racist elements. By 1940 however, it was public knowledge that Hitler had abandoned advocating for Germans even the syncretist idea of a positive Christianity. Hitler maintained that the “terrorism in religion is, to put it briefly, of a Jewish dogma, which Christianity has universalized and whose effect is to sow trouble and confusion in men’s minds.”

    Hitler once stated, “We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany.”

    ——————————————————-

  314. We should applaud Vern’s racially harmonious website layout, in which, in Seinfeldian yingy-yangy B&W cookie fashion, the black text on a white background becomes white text on a blackish background.

    Outlawvern.com takes a brave, strongly anti-Nazi position in my opinion.

  315. Nazis would have white text on a white background so you wouldn’t even be able to read anything. What Nazis will never understand is that it’s the mix of colors that makes cookies delicious and movie reviews legible.

  316. Clint Eastwood to direct Beyonce in musical A STAR IS BORN remake?

    http://www.deadline.com/2011/01/exclusive-clint-eastwood-to-direct-beyonce-in-musical-version-of-a-star-is-born/

    Vern – We must know your opinion.

  317. Kermit – Tell us about this Nichi Vendola fella who might end up replacing Tan Pimp Berlusconi?

    On one hand, it would be awesome if the new Italian PM was gay, working in the same city as the Pope*. Also drop pants hilarious if he was an ex-communist.

    And I say funny because in hindsight if I remember right, if in the first post-WW2 elections in Italy if the Communists had prevailed in the polls, the U.S. military had plans to seize and occupy Sicily, turning it into an American state.

    Which begs the question: If the state of Sicily had happened, would they have voted for McCain or Obama in the last election?

    *=See Benedict? God is angry with you and your Church for how you’ve handled the sex abuse scandals.

  318. RRA is right. We must know.

    This will be a collaboration between a god & a goddess. One of my favorite directors… one of my favorite genres… my favorite crush… If Vern dislikes this, I don’t care how many payments he has left on his fancy pants BluRay dealy, I’m canceling my subscription.

  319. Hey Guys,

    I’m in the Sundance and I’ve got tickets to the 11:30 show of Hobo with a Shotgun tomorrow! I’ll send Vern the link to my review as soon as it’s up. Definitely the film I’m most looking forward to this week.

  320. If you really care about us, you’ll sacrifice your career as a credentialed critic and bootleg HOBO WITH A motherfuckin SHOTGUN and link us to the video. Hi-Def all the way of course, and sit behind a short person please Fred thanks.

  321. Hey guys, new AMANDA FUCKIN’ PALMER album came out today. Listen to it here : http://music.amandapalmer.net/album/amanda-palmer-goes-down-under

    The first track ain’t great, but it gets better from there. Seriously, she’s a hero of mine. Seen her play 5 times and at one speaking engagement (where she interviewed Henry Rollins). She will make your life improve at least 7 fold, minimum.

  322. I’ve been awake & at work for the last 26+ hours. Office work, yes, but taxing nonetheless.  I’ll check the Amanda noise when the delirium subsides and I can get on a pc with decent speakers.  

    Meanwhile, I have to assume Freddy T has initiated the upload of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.  Filming handheld HD in ultrafine mode (none of that energy/memory-saving lesser quality shooting mode nonsense for this project) for, say, 100 minutes, then figure he hobknobs in the auditorium for 5-6 minutes with other Sundancers, then it takes 20 minutes to RTB where the computer is, then 5 minutes to activate hardware and secure the USB connection with the camera’s disk drive, then, with enough bandwidth and a computer made after 2006, he should be able to upload & convert into usable/viewable movie the final product, leaving only the admin details of naming the file and posting it where we can see, which takes at most 17 minutes, which by my calculations puts our timeline for seeing HOBO WITH A motherfuckin SHOTGUN riiiiiiiggghhhhtt abooooooouuuut. . . now.  

  323. Armond White’s response to the whole NYFCC Awards “controversy”:

    http://www.nypress.com/article-22053-indecent-exposure.html

    Okay, now I’m starting to believe those theories that White’s work is satire or performance art. This man can’t be serious, right?

  324. Dan P. – You know what White is? A pro wrestling heel of the film critic world. And he’s good at it.

  325. RRA,

    You’re right, of course. White doesn’t really rile me up so much any more, but I do read his stuff from time to time with a weird bemusement/fascination. I think I’d appreciate him more if he actually seemed to have any insight or was provocative in a less petty way, but as it stands he’s not a very good writer (borderline unreadable at times) and his arguments rarely make much sense. I don’t mind his contrarianism (which can be useful if applied thoughtfully; see Pauline Kael and Jonathan Rosenbaum) so much as his incoherency and near-constant rage.

    As much as he tries to offend, I now find him mainly inoffensive and read his stuff from time to time because his insanity is occasionally amusing. Although his paranoid accusations of racism against his critics is kinda making him cross the line from “the critic you love to hate” to repellent asshole.

  326. I like the idea of Armond White as sort of a trickster critic who defends the indefensible and slaughters sacred cows. But he just really, really sucks at it. His whole M.O. seems to be to start from the position of “Everybody else is wrong” and then toss out a smoke bomb of indecipherable rhetoric and vague accusations of classism and racism without ever making a real point about why the movies he likes are better than the movies that everyone else does. On principle, I wish I could get behind him but he’s just so obviously full of shit that I can’t do it.

  327. I’ve read maybe 3 total paragraphs of Armond White ever.

  328. I’m not convinced White is a “troll”. He sees himself as a successor to Pauline Kael and she could be pretty iconoclastic sometimes. But if he didn’t always has to bring in movies that fanboys/critics overpraised (or at least he feels so) everytime he champions an underdog, and didn’t do those pompous “better than” lists, he might be pretty good.

    BTW while looking through his reviews on RT I noticed UNSTOPPABLE got 86%! Wow are critics like all in love with Chris Pine or something? And the same score for EASY A!

  329. Guys, this carpet-bombing of bizarrely surfing-obsessed spambots is starting to worry me. Within the next half-hour, they’ll outnumber us two to one. If we don’t find some way to fight back soon, we’re all doomed.

  330. My favorite recurring theme of White’s are the inappropriate comparisons. like when he compared Michael Bay to Godard (because they both like bright colors or something?), or when he compared Luc Besson to the Dardennes brothers.

    I was actually kind of disappointed when I read his recent GREEN HORNET review and he used Judd Apatow movies as a point of comparison, which seems eminently reasonable. I haven’t seen the movie yet so I can’t tell for sure, but White’s review does read a little silly and like it’s giving the film too much credit… but in a fairly reasonable, sensical way, with little to no nasty asides. Still not really a great review, but it’s not pitched at his typical level of hysteria.

    It’s the fact that does write a fair amount of non-insane reviews that convinces me that he’s genuine and not JUST putting on an act for attention.

  331. I’m just glad to welcome such a diverse new crowd here.

    . . .

    I’m so lonely.

  332. Mayjestyk, that sounds suspiciously like something a spambot would say if it didn’t want us to know it was a spambot. I think you’re one of them!

    GET HIM!

  333. PacmanFever – But Pauline Kael at least sometimes here and there made awesome points. Hell she threw her weight behind THE WARRIORS and even bitched at her “fellow intellectuals” for looking down on it.

    Win.

  334. I would be able to take White more seriously if every now and then his opinion lined up with critical consensus. The fact that it never, ever does, if only just by pure random chance, is what makes him a troll.

  335. Oh, and the other day I was surfing and both my arms got bitten off by two different sharks. But I learned how to type with my face so it’s all good.

    I am not a spambot, don’t be absurd.

  336. Kael was also a good writer; even when I completely disagree with her argument and/or think she’s on totally the wrong track, her prose is entertaining and efficient. White, on the other hand, can be something of a chore. Even when he’s not launching confusing ad hominem attacks, even on those rare occasions he’s making a valid point, his prose tends to be a confusing mishmash of awkwardly phrased “conversational” style, and over-thesaurus-ed smarty-pants-ness. (Much like the way I write. Ahem. My apologies).

  337. Dan Prestwich: Majestyk isn’t a spambot. Think about where he lives. He’s obviously a CHUD.

  338. Actually, I live aboveground. I’m a CHAD.

  339. So you’re like the Rosa Parks of CHUDS. That’s so awesome.

    I wonder if there is a Rosa Parks of horsefucking.

  340. People had a lot of prejudice toward me when I first moved into the neighborhood because of my glowing eyes and insatiable hunger for human flesh. But now that they’ve gotten to know me, they see that we’re really not all that different. Until I eat them.

  341. A little flesh eating isn’t so bad. It’s not like you’re a cast member of Jersey Shore.

  342. What, he can’t be both a CHAD and a spambot? Horseshit. Being a CHAD would be the perfect cover. I say we toss him in the lake to see if he floats.

  343. Also, Rosa Parks of horsefucking? What would that be? Someone who fucks a horse in the mouth? Please clarify.

  344. Mr Majestyk- Actually according to Rotten Tomatoes he agrees with critical consensus about half the time. However I’ve just noticed he actually uses the term “haters” in his supposedly serious reviews, so he truly can go fuck himself

  345. The Rosa Parks of horsefucking is a horsefucker who refuses to fuck horses in the back of the barn as if fucking horses is something horsefuckers should be ashamed of. The Rosa Parks of horsefucking fucks horses right out in front where everybody can see how a real horsefucker fucks horses.

  346. PacMan: I guess I just assumed he was an across-the-board contrarian because the only time I ever hear about him is when he vehemently disagrees with he assessment of a movie that has been otherwise universally praised or panned. I don’t think it really counts when he agrees with most critics on movies that are merely alright. Where’s the fun in subverting that?

  347. Yeah, I do agree he’s pretty useless, although there are certainly cases where I’m going against the consensus with him, although not with as much hyperbole as him.

    Incidentally on a Rotten Tomatoes note I saw THE READER only got 61%! I know the site’s system is increadibly flawed, but that’s still a pretty large number of negative reviews for a Best Picture nominee! Heck, BENJAMIN BUTTON’s 71% seemed pretty low.

  348. THE READER scores even a little lower on Metacritic: a metascore of 58, or “mixed to average reviews.” I thought it was a pretty horrid flick, a heavy-handed, manipulative, self-important mess. But, you know, the Academy apparently loves the Holocaust, so any film about it with a A-list cast pretty much gets the rubber stamp for a nomination. The Oscars are usually more about awarding prestige than they are recognizing quality, anyway.

  349. I’ve always thought Mr. White was just one of those guys who wrote obtusely enough that no one could quite figure out what he was talking about and just assumed it was because it was over their heads. Its true that he’s not quite as contrarian as one might assume, but the fact that he’s most contrary and nonsensical about things which are passionately loved or vehemently hated by most critics should be a clue that he’s got a little troll in him at least. If you haven’t seen the following list of “good and bad movie according to Armond White” it should help explain why Ebert had to actually retract his defense of the man and admit that he’s, “[a Troll]. A smart and knowing one, but a troll.”

    http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/1897/armondwhiteisntinsane.jpg

    Ebert’s original retraction and blog can be found below.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/08/in_defense_of_armond_white.html

    White is obviously well-read and quite familiar with a wide variety of movies, from classic to obscure, Z-grade to avant-garde. I honestly don’t mind his trollish tendecy to go after popular films, but to me his damning quality is that underneath all those cluttered sentences, SAT words and references to French directors, White is actually a fairly poor writer who has little relevant to say about most movies. He’s more likely to make outlandish, hyperbolic comparisons to obscure foreign films than to actually say anything meaningful about the film he’s reviewing.

  350. Yeah, I sort of figured all this out within the span of the ≈3 paragraphs of his that I read.

    It’s either a great reflection on my critical acuteness or it’s disturbing that I can read multiple sources expound on why this dude sucks as a writer and realize that I figured out the same within my few, nonprecious seconds with this guy’s words.

    Also, I’ve just re-watched THE SCORPION KING and have determined that it’s just a slight tier below RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK for adventure goodness. It has the best elements of CONAN & some crazyass kung fu flicks that I love, but it subs The Rock-esque fighting & swordplay for the martial arts. The climactic battle features flaming swords!

  351. I’ll miss Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

  352. Keith Olbermann hosted the American version of “Countdown”? We had Richard Whiteley and Des O’ Connor over here. (It went SO downhill after the late great RW died.) Somehow I can’t picture Olbermann asking the Vorderman (actually, come to think of it, similar names) to pick out the numbers and letters.

  353. Ugh, not me. Olberman reminded me exactly why conservatives think liberals are all insufferable obnoxious holier-than-thou blowhards. Even though I mostly agreed with him I can’t in good conscience say he’s any better than the likes of Bill O’Reily or Sean Hannity (OK, he’s an order of magnitude better than Beck or Coulter, but so are a pack of filthy shrieking apes).

    Ben Affleck of all fool people did a spot-on perfect parody on SNL…

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/42024/saturday-night-live-countdown-with-keith-olbermann

  354. What the heck are you guys talking about?

    *Googles then you-tubes…*

    Ah ok. We’re not talking the gameshow here, are we?

    This is another example of the phenomena I was talking about much earlier in the thread. The only function this shows has is to shore up the preconceptions of a group of people with a certain political viewpoint. Not, you understand, that I necessarily disagree with most of that viewpoint myself, but this guy will never be seen by anybody who could learn from him and will only confirm the prejudices of others who won’t consider any opposing viewpoint to their (and his) own.

    So while I might agree with much of what he says, I think this guy is toxic to political debate as a whole.

  355. Olbermann, as David Schuster explained this morning on RELIABLE SOURCES, was an emotional, passionate, literate, poetic, and unwavering source of information & well calibrated outrage for people who disagreed with a whole heap of W’s policies, RushBo’s hot airisms, and Fox’s faux “fair & balanced” “facts.”

    I rarely found him “insufferable.” I never found him an “obnoxious holier-than-thou blowhard.” What, he didn’t hide his college education and facility with the English language, so that makes him “holier than thou?” He didn’t pander to “the folks,” like certain Fox employees who deliberately suppress their intelligence to appeal to a lower common denominator, so that makes him a “blowhard?”

    Olbermann based his outrage on facts and focused it on that which was journalistically viable, even though, admittedly, he seems to have failed to give opposing viewpoints much of a chance during his nightly hour. If that’s his worst sin, then so be it, but he played plenty of legitimate, public domain footage of stupid things said by those whose policies & proposals he routinely & rightly eviscerated.

    To compare Olbermann to O’Reilly or Hannity is so absurd I don’t even know where to start. Whereas Olbermann always resorts to facts and honest disputation regarding the overreach of ignorance among our political leaders, Hannity has a default mode in which, for example, he unfailingly resorts to late 2002 White House talking points whenever someone questions something about the Global War on Terror.

    (As for Beck, here’s just the latest thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/business/media/22beck.html?_r=2 )

    Don’t even get me started on the blatant Republican/Tea Party & Fox conflict of interest issues that no one seems to want to take seriously. Neither Roger Ailes nor Rupert Murdoch knows what journalism is.

    Viewership ratings aside, comparing MSNBC & the cable channel called “Fox News Channel” and saying that they are counterbalances to each other is like comparing the NFL to the Arena Football League, or UEFA to MLS, or silk to polyester, or SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO to DIRECT CONTACT, or DEATH WISH 3 to THE ROOM, or ALIEN to ALIENS VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM. Just because they seem to dabble in the same trade does not mean they are comparable.

    At the very least, for a long time Olbermann never let us forget about the wars involving American armed service members, signing off each program with “# days since President Bush declared ‘Mission Accomplished.’” If it were up to other news sources, having 200,000+ soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors deployed to war zones at any given time, and each year losing several hundreds of them while spending hundreds of billions of dollars on this absurd venture, would just be an accepted state of affairs. It’s not acceptable. It’s absurd & disgusting. And now there’s one fewer voice on air to articulate what should be obvious to reasonable people.

    Oh, but of course we’re not at all imperialist, they say, –- Didn’t you hear Colin Powell at the pre-invasion UN presentation? And for some reason we’re not even touching the oil that’s there. — and my right wing friends have the bumper sticker & the American flag screen graphics underlining their onscreen byline to prove their patriotism, so obviously that totally negates Mr. Olbermann’s opinion on these matters.

    Oooh, Olbermann gave an impassioned, thoroughly fact-based Special Comment, they say, but really he picks & chooses his facts because he disagrees with the Citizen United Supreme Court decision because it happens to help Republicans and of course he gave money to those lefty Democrats. What a blowhard & a hypocrite, right? I trust the Roberts Court, with Justice Scalia, of course. You know, Antonin Scalia? Dick Cheney’s hunting buddy? And Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife happens to have been a CEO for a Tea Party advocacy organization. No conflicts of interest there. Olbermann’s such a liberal, just like all the others who voted for Obama and his radical agenda. You know, that lefty commie agenda that features
    1) increasing troop levels and
    2) making it his administration’s first order of business to quell the notion that anyone would ever investigate the previous investigation and
    3) keeping Guantanamo open and
    4) extending the Patriot Act and
    5) killing more people than ever using UAVs in Pakistan & FATA and
    6) giving hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations and
    7) drilling for more oil and
    8) giving 97% of Americans tax cuts and
    9) then giving 100% of Americans even more tax breaks and
    10) making major trade deals with South Korea & China and
    11) doing absolutely nothing for the environment other than a modest increase in automotive fuel efficiency standards.
    Oh yeah, the one major controversial thing the Democrats did different lately was health care reform, whereby some money is allocated to improve the well-being and health prospects of at least 50,000,000 Americans who never had such coverage before. What a disgusting waste of money. What an unconstitutional fraud, trying to help sick people get better and making sure doctors are well compensated.

    Don’t these lefty wackos know how much the War Machine costs? We can’t be paying more for surgeons & doctors’ fees in the ER! And it’s crazy, this liberal notion of trying to push more smart kids to become American doctors — don’t they know how expensive med school is? And don’t they know most doctors are overworked & underpaid? That’s why we need to repeal the new health reform law, obviously.

    And they somehow got the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to repeatedly claim that this health care reform law will reduce the deficit by at least $130,000,000,000 over the next decade while, conversely, John Boehner’s proposals would fail to cover about 50,000,000 of the potential pool of uninsured and would reduce health insurance costs by less than 3%. Why would people listen to the CBO or Nobel Prize awardee economist Paul Krugman when we have the dazzling math of Eric Cantor & John Boehner to lead us to capitalist utopia?

    And remember how the Dems forced the Affordable Care Act down our throats, rammed through the legislation that was proposed & developed during that narrow chronological window between the 2007-2008 election season and spring 2010? Remember when Obama invited every congressperson and cabinet staffer that had any say in the health care reform debate, when he literally rolled up his sleeves & sat at the table with every Republican & Democrat with skin in the fight and listened to their ideas on national television for like 10 hours straight? I mean, c’mon, where’s the transparency? Fucking slimy tricksters.

    Yeah, Keith Olbermann damn near ruined the country by being a mouthpiece for Obama’s crazy big government agenda, huh?

    ******************************************
    Related epilogue:
    I believe I have just watched an entire edition of MEET THE PRESS in which not once did the word “war” cross anyone’s lips. Fucking amazing.

  356. You know why the left doesn’t have any heroes any more? It’s because they tear them down first chance they get. They’re more interested in looking cool or being more cynical-than-thou than winning.

  357. The right has clear, seemingly permanent prominent figures, I’m forced to believe, because the conservative base, comprised of the diehards who will always be there, is willing to eschew journalistic & intellectual standards in order to — I’ll say it — cling to their guns & religion.  

    Any equivalence politicians, pundits, or reporters suggest exists between the United States’s current prominent right wing voices & current left wing voices is absolutely a false one.  

    http://www.alternet.org/story/149470/let%27s_get_this_straight%3A_there_is_no_leftist_equivalent_to_the_right%27s_violent_rhetoric

    Lefties tend to see all the options available to them, and so often the result is either paralysis or a forking of ideological paths.  

    Righties, based on my analysis of the last decade of American politics, tend to see a direct ideological path, and so they deliberately close their minds or reduce their options.  

    How is it that so many people maintain the following beliefs concurrently & simultaneously?  
     -pro capital punishment
     -anti-abortion
     -anti-stem cell research
     -anti-gay
     -global warming is a myth
     -the EPA is overfunded & too powerful
     -Jesus is coming back soon
     -every non-felon should have a gun
     -Obama & Pelosi want to take away your guns
     -advocating abstinence is the only correct sex ed
     -immigrants are ruining the US
     -we can’t afford to pay the black farmers who suffered discrimination in previous decades even though they’ve already won lawsuits and been declared worthy of back payments
     -any economic policy other than “trickle down” is socialism and will result in collapse & catastrophe
     -we support our troops by sending them to shitholes to kill brown people
     -“clean” fossil fuels are the wave of the future
     -and so is nukular power

    Does it seem crazy to anyone else that the above beliefs & policy positions so often seem to come in a package deal when we examine the conservative base and most typical Republican voters?  I know some are capable of decoupling themselves from the stupidity, but as a party their overriding idiocy scares me.  

    Meanwhile, on the left, the overriding intellectualism seems to daunt those afraid to align themselves with a movement that theoretically should refuse to bow to the majority of simpletons that inhabit my nation, and so “liberals” are labeled “elitist,” etc., even though many on the left willingly decouple themselves from rigid party positions and agree with many right-wingers on many issues.  

  358. So quick predix on who’ll win the Super Bowl between Packers/Steelers?

  359. I’ve been watching the Alien movies on blu ray

    Alien and Aliens are incredible of course, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them

    I just watched Alien 3 tonight for the first time and I fucking hated it, I watched the director’s cut version too which is supposedly better, but it still sucks

    it’s way too long, there’s too much pointless and boring dialogue, too many tension-less scenes that drag on forever, the alien only sporadically pops up until the end, the special effects suck, I could on…

    the only thing I really liked was Charles S Dutton

  360. I’d like to reply to Mouth but I’m far too scared now.

    RRA – I have, as usual, no idea what you’re talking about, so I’m going to say the Packers take it by a country mile. I’m right 50% of the time.

  361. I’d love to hear Vern’s thoughts on Kevin Smith’s new indie distribution plan he announced at Sundance tonight.

  362. I must say, I really enjoy the hullaballo about Smith these days, because he not just is totally right about critics (after all his best film JERSEY GIRL got panned, because of a less than 10 minutes Jennifer Lopez cameo), I also think his roadshow “distribution” plan is a clever idea* and a nice “this movie is really mine” message.

    *That of course only works for filmmakers who really have a dedicated fanbase. If I would make a movie and take it on the road, I would only lose money with it, but people like Smith can probably make a profit with it!

  363. Griff – RE: Alien 3….That’s not a director’s cut as much as a workprint cut. Fincher disowned ALIEN 3 and Fincher wanted nothing to do with that mess when the Alien Quad DVD people asked him about any possible involvement. I believe his comment was to the effect of any ALIEN 3 director’s cut: “Only if I could reshoot the whole thing.”

    I guess its like THE KEEP is for Michael Mann. They rather not let the new kids, the current critics find out about an early (studio raped) failure that might wreck their precious overinflated egos.

    CJ Holden – So what was Kevin Smith’s excuse for COP OUT?

  364. Hey, I like COP OUT. I wouldn’t rate is at one of Smith’s top films, but I was amused and entertained by it. And since you asked me for an excuse, I would go with: “Oh well, I tried to make a major studio movie, that also wasn’t written by me, which was in both cases a first for me, unless you count the pilot episode of REAPER. I tried something new and stepped out of my comfort zone, but then I got personally attacked by even so-called professional critics for it, which hurt me a lot, because I was really proud of it.”

  365. Also I agree with Griff about Alien ³. The longer version really makes the movie better, but it’s unfortunately still not a good movie.

  366. How the hell did you do that little ^3?

  367. I don’t think ALIEN 3 is a disaster, but it’s got some pretty serious problems and the extended version isn’t the miraculous improvement it’s cracked up to be. Doesn’t it add (or “not remove” or whatever) that horrible scene where Bald Guy #7 is lying in his recovery bed talking about “the dragon”? For God’s sakes, it’s the third film, you can’t be all cutsey mysterious about the aliens!

    There’s a sizable, or at least pretty vocal, band of ALIEN fanboys who hate ALIENS and love ALIEN 3. Their general view is that ALIEN 3 was “too intelligent” for the Space Marines-loving general public. I get that ALIEN 3 tried to go for the slightly more cerebral approach of the first film, and had some success with it, but come on, this is a film where a rapist starts raping by putting on some proto-Riddick goggles and grunting and posing like a wrestler!

    I think Smith is being kind of naive and slightly unfair about critics. Would he have got where he was today without the critical support for CLERKS and CHASING AMY? Didn’t the critics kind of stand up for him during that whole DOGMA controversey. I get what he’s saying, and no, I didn’t think COP OUT was all that bad either, but I think he should have been a bit more “hey, refraining from personal attacks would be more professional guys” and less “to hell with critics, they serve no purpose”

  368. @Mouth: On a German Keyboard it’s [Alt GR] + 2 at the same time. Don’t know if and how it works internationally.

    @PacmanFever: At least in the long version of Alien³ the “dragon” subplot had an interesting pay off.

  369. Also it’s of course [Alt Gr] + 3.

  370. Video of Kevin Smith’s “auction” http://vimeo.com/19120166

    I gotta say, it’s pretty hard to disagree with a lot of the points he made regarding the fucked up way the studio system works. The problem is of course that his new plan can only really work for Kevin Smith – his sizeable fan base wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the very system he’s now claiming is defunct. You gotta give him points for trying though, I hope it pans out for him.

    By the way, for anyone with any feelings regarding the way the Weinsteins do things (Vern), I recommend listening to episode 3 of Smith’s “Red Sate Of The Union” podcast (The Harvey Boys).

  371. Part of Kevin’s plan is, if it works, start distributing movies for other upstart filmmakers. He can use his fan base to introduce new artistists to the world. That will really take the power away from the studios.

  372. And give it all to him

  373. BTW, I finally swallowed my hate for Seth Rogen and managed to watch Smith’s ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO. Good movie, despite being about a worn out cliche (sex + friendship = nono) and having two completely miscast lead actors.

  374. I think Rogen was cast fine but Elizabeth Banks (while good in the role) was just too hot for the part. You can’t tell me that a fat slob like Rogen only ever saw her as a friend and never noticed that she was attractive before.

  375. Vern is probably aware of this but I don’t recall reading about it here yet:
    http://www.viceland.com/blogs/en/2011/01/24/holy-blood-contest/

    Jodorowski’s ‘Santa Sangre’ is being released on DVD & Blu-Ray tomorrow.

    I definitely enjoyed Holy Mountain, and I’m looking forward to checking this one out too!

  376. Fred – It’s funny, I’m working on a Kevin Smith related review and writing some things about the interviews he’s been doing lately, now I feel like not finishing it yet because everybody’s busy posting about the “auction” publicity stunt and all that.

    I haven’t watched the video, but from what I’ve read it sounds like his revolutionary new plan is to do what independent filmmakers have been doing for 50 years or more. People have mentioned William Castle, but the first one I jumped to was Tom Laughlin, who turned BILLY JACK into a big hit by renting theaters and touring with it. He did the interviews though and pioneered TV advertising instead of going the “charge your biggest fans $60 to see your new movie” route.

  377. Mr Majestyk: They never said that Zack didn’t find Miri attractive or had never thought about doing her, just that it worked out better for both when they were just good friends. Which is btw something I can relate to (Eerily not the first time that Smith made a movie about a topic right out of my personal life!). I had a good friendship with a seriously attractive girl too. And people always wondered if there was something going on between us, but there wasn’t. Just because we knew that we worked great as a platonic team, but would probably end up killing each other when we had sex with each other or even would have a real relationship. Like I said, she was good looking and the thought of “what if” came up in my head more than once, but we were too good friends to go the next step. (And to be honest, I wish Hollywood would at least once show us that men and women CAN be good friends without ending up in bed and live happily ever after.)

  378. CJ, I don’t know you or your situation and I mean no offense but as far as platonic opposite sex friends go I call bullshit. I am not saying men and women can just be friends, but it usually does not work out. One of three thing always seems to happen, either you become more then friends and that label is no longer applies, or one person ends up feeling differently about the other and the relationship becomes awkward and unsustainable, or one of you meets someone and that person becomes more important to you then your platonic friend and your friendship fades. It is in our nature as straight men to be attracted to the opposite sex, and if a girl is attractive and cool that only makes her hotter, and in that regard more desirable. I am not saying that it is best for the relationship to explore those feelings, but to deny the attraction is silly. I can only speak from personal experience but when I have found myself in the “friend zone” with an attractive lady friend the only reason I never expressed my feeling was out of fear of scaring her away, otherwise why not explore those feelings if she feels the same way.

  379. To be fair, Kevin never said his idea was new or revolutionary but for some reason everybody seems to be claiming that he did. If you watch the video he spends a good couple of minutes citing previous examples of movies released in a similar fashion and how he’s just bringing back an old idea.

    Also I find it odd the amount of people going ballistic because they never got to see an auction – you were there to see a fuckin movie you chumps, what do you care how it’s distributed? Isn’t this ultimately a far more interesting story anyway?

  380. For most of my adult life, pretty much all of my close friends have been attractive women. Sometimes it turns into something more, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least it’s always interesting. If I’m gonna drink beer and watch kung fu movies with someone, I’d prefer they were someone I liked looking at.

  381. Oh, I do agree that humans of opposite sexes are genetically engineered to find each other attractive for mating reasons, but to be honest I think not sleeping with someone for all the right reasons is way easier than most people say it is. Especially when you know each other good enough.
    When my platonic friend had asked me to sleep with her early in our friendship, I probably would have been naked on her bed so fast, that I had ripped the time/space continuum apart on my way, but the better we knew each other, the more obvious it became that we had to be seriously drunk to dance the coital boogie with each other. (And since I don’t drink, it never happened.)
    Okay, to be fair, I’m sure there are millions of platonic couples who would seriously fit together very well in a romantic relationship. Sometimes you are just made for each other. But a friendship, even if it borders on blood brotherhood, and a romantic relationship are despite their similarities different enough. And although I’m a constantly horny borderline sex addict, I have my principles about certain things. (Like platonic friendships and cheating on your partner, which has nothing to do with this discussion, but I wanted to mention it) And If I can resist to hump my sexy looking best friend with a vagina, because it just doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t work out, everybody should.

  382. Fuck the friend zone, it’s easily my second least favourite zone.

  383. That’s funny, it’s easily my second favorite. (There are only three zones, right? Fucking, Friendship, and None of the Above?)

  384. Mode – yeah, but those guys all follow Mr. Smith on his twitter and all that, so from what I understand he’s been bragging about “I’m just gonna sell it right there after the screening” for months, and I think they feel insulted that he was just faking it the whole time for a stunt like that. The reason they like him is because he seems like a regular guy and he’s supposedly very candid and upfront. So when it turns out some of that supposed straight talk is actually fiction to promote a movie they feel like chumps for believing in it all along.

    It’s kind of like the people who (allegedly) believed Blair Witch Project or some of those types of movies were real. When they found out it wasn’t they felt like suckers and got mad.

    That’s my guess anyway, but I haven’t really read much of the ballistics in question.

  385. I have many female friends, I would like to have sex with a vast majority of them. I never intend to do with most.The cost benefit analysis of getting laid for a finite period of time versus being one of like five people in the world whom I actually really enjoy the company of, a certain amount of which is predicated upon the sexual tension of having NOT fucked, it’s not that hard. I generally date girls I would hang out with anyway, but I don’t think I would be a good boyfriend to any of my friends, who are girls.

    That said, I have had one or two sexual relationships with friends where it kept working on both levels for a fairly significant time period.

  386. I think anyone who talks about how critics have ‘picked on’ Smith has some serious issues with selective memory. Like Memento level issues. THE ONLY REASON Kevin Smith has a career is because critics loved his movies and spread the word, which got distributors willing to invest in shitty looking movies that were 90 minutes straight of pop culture riffing and dick jokes. And hey, I’m not bagging on the movies, I love the early Smith stuff. But seeing the delusional, narcissistic pothead he’s become, watching him burn pretty much every professional bridge he has, watching him build these walls of self-aggrandizing and ego around himself, it makes me fucking embarrassed to have ever defended him. Kevin Smith 2011 is a warning to any one getting into films about the dangers of developing a fan base who will watch anything you put out.
    I bet guys like Tarantino and Edgar Wright are embarrassed at the sad spectacle that is Kevin Smith’s legacy. What a fucking waste of a voice.
    You’re talking about a guy who has never had a movie gross over 30 million dollars until his most recent one. About a guy who has steadfastly refused to do anything in the way of growing on any level. Every time it seems like he’s stepping out of his shell, at the slightest provocation he immediately resorts to back-peddling and whining.
    He has a Twitter response to the backlash of his premiere, and he pretentiously quotes a Rober Frost poem (except it’s not pretentious because he points out that it is, right?) and he’s not wrong, he did choose the road not traveled by. He chose to embody the laziness, the self-obsession, and the romanticization of the uninformed and the idiotic.
    At this point, he’s not even worth reading or writing about. Let him become Ozymandias, standing in ruin, thinking he’s in Heaven.

    PS: If you think that anything Smith has to say about indie distribution, read Devin’s article about it over at Badass Digest (and note that Devin has firsthand experience with this sort of model, playing a role in the distribution of FOUR LIONS).

  387. CJ, Hunter, & Majestyk, all good points. I guess I just don’t feel that by being physically intimate with a platonic friend you are guaranteed to ruin the friendship. However, it is a case by case situation. Besides if you want to be friends with a girl and never have sex just marry her (cue rim shot).

  388. Vern – Yeah I see your point, it’s just strange to me that it came as a shock to anyone that he’d do something like this. From the moment he claimed to be surprised that people thought the movie was a slam against right wingers it was clear to me he was full of shit. The guy’s been playing the media from the start – and doing a pretty good job of it too. I guess since the southwest airlines thing Smith thinks fucking with the press is fair game, I’m finding it difficult coming down on either side to be honest.

    Brendan – I’m not a huge fan of any of Smith’s movies, but that is one harsh post. The thing is, I don’t think that Kevin thinks of himself as a movie director, he thinks of himself as someone that got lucky and was given a platform, and he’s gonna use that platform for whatever he sees fit. He’s been saying for a while now that the podcasts and the stage shows are way more fun for him than making movies – who’s to say what his career should or shouldn’t be? It might be strange to us that someone might choose bullshitting with friends over directing movies but it’s his life, and to be honest I can totally see why he’d get sick of people that never had the balls to step up to the plate themselves telling him he’s doing it wrong.

  389. If I’m harsh it’s because I genuinely loved Smith and his work and considered him to be a hero of mine for many years. Shit, go read the Jennifer’s Body talkback and you’ll see me pop up repeatedly to defend Kevin and his lack of visual flair. But no more. Watching him embrace self-obsession and act like his shortcomings are somehow points of pride, and like anyone who calls him on it is some sort of jealous jerkoff makes me embarrassed that I ever put stock in his opinions and career.
    Kevin Smith is “It’s not supposed to be Hamlet” in human form. Fuck that approach to film and anyone who subscribes to it.

  390. I’d say he’s more “I’m not capable of making Hamlet so please stop expecting it” in human form. Do you really think he’d be as sensitive as he is if he wasn’t putting his heart and soul into those movies? He’s trying man, I know he tries to act like he wasn’t after the fact but if I put everything into into something only to have the world say it ain’t good enough I might do the same thing.

  391. But he’s been doing it for about sixteen years, ever since Mallrats didn’t hit. I absolutely think he throws himself into his work, but whatever happened to taking some fucking responsibility? Whatever happened to growing the fuck up? If you think you did something great but people misunderstood it, then explain why. If you realize you fucked up, own that mistake and learn from it. Try.
    I can’t take his whining about other people, his bitching about this person that fucked him over or how that part of the process is broken. Blah blah it’s not my fault blah blah.
    STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE. That’s this websites stance and it’s one that I hold to be true in every aspect of my life, whether it’s work or art or personal stuff. Badmouthing your stuff in advance and then throwing hissy fits if anyone dares to demand more of you after a fucking decade of practice and millions of dollars in revenue is not something that any kind of rational, intelligent person who truly believes in what they are doing would do.
    I don’t expect Hamlet every time I see a movie or read a book or start a TV show, but I expect whoever is the creative voice behind the project to strive for greatness. I expect them to swing for the fences. And if you can’t be bothered to do that much, then don’t waste my goddamn time.

  392. Speaking of striving for excellence, that was an excellent rant, sir. You’ve got a point, of course. I recently watched his “too fat for 40” show and he tells a story about Bruce Willis chewing him out because he doesn’t know his lenses. It was pretty funny but I remember thinking jesus fucking christ, Kevin – just learn your fucking lenses, you’ve been a movie director for 15 fucking years. It’s no wonder Bruce can’t take you seriously.

    I’m still a fan of Smodcast though, and you can’t say the guy isn’t an entertaining public speaker. Ultimately I can’t come down on him too hard since he probably gets more shit done in a year than I’ve managed my entire life up to this point.

  393. Well, I liked “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy”, “Dogma”, and “Clerks”. I kinda got into “Clerks 2”. I hardly know anything about KS beyond his public persona of the amiable comic-book geek, so I can’t say anything about his personal attitude. But he’s made movies that I’ve enjoyed. Yeah, he should’ve probably turned down his cameo in “Die Hard 4”. But I think that was more a case of bad direction.

    If I have a complaint about the guy, it’s that the scenes where he and Jason Mewes appear in his films are invariably the absolute worst scenes in those films. If you cut out every single “Jay and Silent Bob” moment from every single one of his movies, I don’t think I’d miss them. Maybe that’s a sign of his arrogance, I don’t know. I’ve never seen “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I agreed with Vern’s review of it (which was pretty much overwhelmingly negative) as it does come across, from what I know of it, as something of a vanity project.

    Brendan: “I don’t expect Hamlet every time I see a movie or read a book or start a TV show, but I expect whoever is the creative voice behind the project to strive for greatness. I expect them to swing for the fences. And if you can’t be bothered to do that much, then don’t waste my goddamn time.” A sentiment I heartily endorse. But taking aside the question of Smith’s attitude (which, as I’ve said, I’m in no position to comment on since I know next to nothing about it), does it really apply to the majority of his films, as judged on their own merits? Gotta say I wouldn’t think so, based on the ones I’ve seen.

  394. Paul-Yeah, I think it does. Either because of unwillingness or inability, Smith’s visual and narrative abilities have been turgid since Day one, and the only thing that has remained consistently strong is his dialogue, and even then he has pitfalls and shortcomings that are carried over from film to film. It gets old.

    And I think bringing Smith’s views and comments into the discussion is valid because A) He’s an auteur and his personality is evident in every frame of his movies and B) he has always used social media like the Internet and Twitter to make himself available and put himself at the forefront of any discussion of his work. HE is the point, that’s something he has made apparent over and over.

  395. Thought I’d briefly interrupt the Smith talk in order to point out this article over on Ebert’s blog http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/01/post_4.html

    Lots of interesting points as to why 3D probably isn’t a great idea but what got my attention is the following –

    “…the editing of 3D films cannot be as rapid as for 2D films, because of this shifting of convergence: it takes a number of milliseconds for the brain/eye to “get” what the space of each shot is and adjust.”

    Is it possible that 3D technology spells the end of post-action Michael Bay style editing?

  396. Thanks for the great Kevin Smith discussion, guys. I agree with Mode7, it’s almost funny how irate people are over the definition of “Auction.” He said auction, he was being ironic, and THAT’s what you’re mad about? Seems like people have hurt feelings that he’s leaving them out.

    I used to get to interview Kevin, and those interviews ran on indefinitely. I had one for an hour! I will miss those chances to talk to him since he’s decided to stop doing press, but honestly I can’t blame him for becoming less accessible. I might say stop talking about not talking about it, but that’s how he maintains the Twitter.

    What’s really hilarious to me is all my online colleagues saying, “That’s it. We will never write about Kevin Smith again. This Red State story will be the last we ever write about Kevin Smith. After that, never again.” I’m still seeing so many “last posts ever” about him.

    For the record, I think it’s an exciting revolutionary plan. I think it’s a positive plan with the intention of doing some good. How exciting would it be if movies became destination events again, and stuck around a whole year instead of DVD in 3 months.

  397. Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s a new year. Time for a new “Kevin Smith is a bad filmmaker who makes always the same film, which only relies on dick and poop jokes, over and over and over” discussion.
    I’m tired of that, so let’s just say he is better than many people give him credit for. Especially about the dick and poop jokes. Is he using lots of raunchy dialogue in his movies? Yes. Are they only relying on potty humor? No. Maybe JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, but even that one was more driven by View Askewniverse insider jokes.

    What I’m trying to say is get his movies on your home video medium of choice and watch them one after another. He has his own style of storytelling and humor, that pops up in all of his movies. Even in COP OUT, which he didn’t write. If you like this style, is up to you. To each of his own. But although he managed to turn “a film by Kevin Smith” into a special kind of brand, that always delivers what the viewer expects, each of his movies is different from the others in terms of style and content. Even CLERKS 2, which is a sequel!
    While all of his films are comedies with sometimes more, sometimes less raunchy dialogue and content, he made in his career rom coms, dramedies, fantasy-, slapstick- and action comedies. And he doesn’t just takes the same characters (figuratively speaking. Let’s ignore the interwoven aspects of the View Askewniverse) and puts them in different settings. No, each of his movies have a different look, feel, rhythm and content, apart from his trademark dialogue. He is not completely re-inventing himself with every movie, but it’s easy to tell them apart, if you just watch them.
    And then there is the one thing, that he is really great at. And I don’t know any other filmmaker who is better or equally good at that. Smith is not a visionary, someone who makes innovative movies or blows you away, but he knows how to tell stories out of the real life! CLERKS is full of things, that everybody who ever worked at retail has witnessed. And I’m talking about the REAL crazy things here! CHASING AMY, well, I know many relationships and friendships that broke apart because of the silliest things and it often happened just like in that movie. JERSEY GIRL is one of the few movies that portray realistic behaviour of kids and “functional alcoholics” and despite its Hollywood ending that tells the opposite, doesn’t shy away from telling you that having a kid not always changes your life to the better. When I watched CLERKS 2 for the first time, I almost cried, because the whole theme, about “losing” your best friend to a woman, while you are being stuck in your shitty life was taken right out of my life. I already talked about ZACK & MIRI previously.
    I seriously wish people would get over his non-flashy visual style, stop feeling personally attacked whenever he opens his mouth in public and would finally stop to suddenly become high brow critics whenever he uses the f-word in one of his movies and seriously start to watch his work.

  398. I think it’s not really necessary to mention the $30million gross ceiling* (bar COP-OUT) when trying to build a case against Smith. I don’t think he’s consciously tried to appeal only to his cliquey following; indeed I’d say that a lot of people’s issues with his post-JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK work is that he’s tried a little too obviously to get into the mainstream. Admittedly CLERKS II was a pretty blatant attempt to return to the welcoming arms of his most loyal followers after JERSEY GIRL alienated a large section of them and failed to catch on with anyone else, but other than that there’s been a distinct shift towards a more populist approach. But more to the point I don’t think you can condemn a director based on how little his highest grossing film made. What would the gross ceiling be for John Waters? $9 million maybe? Jim Jaramush? $15 million? David Lynch? That would be about $30million too, for fucking DUNE. So I don’t think low grosses are a sure fire sign of low ambition. And surely Edgar Wright is every bit as culty and cliquey as Smith, well outside the UK at least.

    *Although it is amusing, in an ultra-nerdy way, that DOGMA, JAY AND SILENT BOB, and ZACK AND MIRI all made the same figure in spite of inflation, price hikes etc.

  399. what would Kevin Smith’s Alien 3 be like?

  400. Much more slime

  401. So a Clint Eastwood movie gets its only Academy Award nomination for VISUAL EFFECTS.

    Vern, you definately dropped the ball by not reviewing the Oscar-nominated HEREAFTER.

    ~Oh and Chris Nolan gets snubbed for Best Director nod AGAIN. First guy since Rob Reiner to earn 3 DGA nods, zero Director Oscar nods. And INCEPTION snubbed for Best editing nomination.

  402. Once again, I’m confused by the criteria for Best Actor/ress and Best Supporting Actor/ress. Apart from that, not a bad line-up. The Nolan snub is strange though (get used to people saying that).

  403. It’s useless to get worked up over Oscar nominations, but they did seem to get a lot right this year. That said, RRA, you’re completely right about the INCEPTION editing/directing snub. They pissed on the TRON LEGACY score too.

  404. The Oscar list leaves me seriously indifferent. Maybe because it’s full of exactly the same names, that were handled as nominees since more than a half year.
    Not saying they are bad picks (I haven’t seen most of them yet), just that they are very save.

  405. I don’t understand the safe complaint. Are they supposed to throw wild cards into each category? “And now to Best Picture. The Fighter, Inception, True Grit, Toy Story 3. Oh, aaaaaaannd Death Race 2. And the winner is…”

  406. I wouldn’t even call it a complaint, but during the last half year or so, every award related article mentioned the same movies, which unsurprisingly all showed up on the Oscar list today. When the movies are all that good, fine, whatever, good for them, but excuse me for being indifferent, when after reading millions of headlines, asking “has The King’s Speech/Black Swan/The Fighter/Toy Story 3/The Social Network/127 Hours… any Oscar chances” the answer is just “duh!”

  407. I didn’t have the time to join the Kevin Smith conversation yesterday, but I wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I really like Kevin Smith as a person and film maker. I have been to two Kevin Smith Q&A’s and the guy is a total blast. I can see how people can give him a hard time for his limitations as a film maker, but I do not see how anyone could bash him as a person. Also, I don’t feel that his limitations as a film maker detract enough from his work to justify condemning him form them. Actually, I can’t think of a Kevin Smith film I don’t like (Disclaimer: I have not seen JERSEY GIRL or COP OUT). However, I do feel that he has lost some of his relevance in film and pop culture. CLERKS came out at a time when there were no other smart & crude humor films being made, and Smith went on to make a number of films that were good but really stood out because they filled a void. I will call this period “pre-Apatow”, but the arrival of the Apatow films truly marked the decline in relevance of Kevin Smith. Apatow has been able to build on the foundation that Smith laid and create funny and smart films that frankly Smith does not have the skill to equal. That is not only my personal opinion, but it is also shared by Smith. I read an interview with him recently (it might have been on AICN) and he said that after watching films like THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP he went into a deep depression because he knew he was not capable of making movies of that quality. Reading the interview was actually pretty sad, it really made you feel for Smith. It reminded me of an old prize fighter begrudgingly coming to terms with the fact that his time has past and he is no longer a contender.

  408. Yeah, that’s fair enough. I can’t see any applecarts getting upset on Oscar night. Cannes tends to be the festival for more eclectic picks.

  409. I thought this was amusing and you guys might enjoy it. Jesse “The Body” Ventura is taking on the Department of Homeland Security. Here is an excerpt from an article from the Star Tribune website

    “Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, alleging full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints violate his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    Ventura is asking a federal judge in Minnesota to issue an injunction ordering officials to stop subjecting him to “warrantless and suspicionless” scans and body searches.

    The lawsuit, which also names Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole as defendants, argues the searches are “unwarranted and unreasonable intrusions on Governor Ventura’s personal privacy and dignity . and are a justifiable cause for him to be concerned for his personal health and well-being.”

    According to the lawsuit, Ventura received a hip replacement in 2008, and since then, his titanium implant has set off metal detectors at airport security checkpoints. The lawsuit said that prior to last November officials had used a non-invasive hand-held wand to scan his body as a secondary security measure.

    But when Ventura set off the metal detector in November, he was instead subjected to a body pat-down and was not given the option of a scan with a hand-held wand or an exemption for being a frequent traveler, the lawsuit said.

    The lawsuit said the pat-down “exposed him to humiliation and degradation through unwanted touching, gripping and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body.”

    It claims that under TSA’s policy, Ventura will be required to either go through a full-body scanner or submit to a pat-down every time he travels because he will always set off the metal detector.”

  410. I think Smith is a wildly overrated filmmaker. He is a great speaker, but his dialogue falls flat for me. It never sounds like real people, especially in Dogma or Clerks II. He basically just strings together dirty bits of stand up and calls it a movie. Yes, there is some heart and pathos, some of the time, but it’s too often overriden by his ego. He talks a lot about nudity, but he never gets naked spiritually anymore.

    I don’t hate the guy, but I know that if and when I see a new Kevin Smith film it will be with a vague sense of dissapointment. He’s also clearly not ambitious at all. The moral of the entire Askniverse at the end of Clerks II was NEVER LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

    Actually, you know what? Kevin Smith’s films are very similar to Tim Burton’s in that way. Both filmmakers have made movies where the message is ultimately “DON’T dream big” and then both guys proceeded to follow their own advice exceedingly well.

  411. Nice to see the five BLACK SWAN nominations. Surprised Vincent Cassel didn’t get a nod though, He was the shit. No nomination for Nolan is a fucking disgrace.

  412. Yeah, Nolan deserved a director nomination I think, but only snub that bothered me much was Daft Punk. It’s always bothered me how much the really good but slightly unconventional scores never get acknowledged – for example, Ghost Dog is clearly a better score than most that have been nominated since then, but never would’ve been even considered. There have been little signs that it’s getting better, and this one is kind of a hybrid of electronic music and an orchestral score, so I thought they’d give it a shot.

    But I guess not. Robots have completely taken over pop music, but the Oscars are racist against them. I was hoping to see those guys at the awards show with their masks on. Maybe one of them could even switch places with Banksy and nobody would be the wiser.

  413. In whole different news: German star producer Bernd Eichinger is dead! He produced some good stuff (The Name Of The Rose, Downfall), lots of bad stuff (The Resident Evil movies and hundreds of films that probably nobody outside of Germany has ever heard of) and was pretty much the lone dictator of studio filmmaking in Germany and whenever Uwe Boll gave one of his (undeniable true) speeches about the corrupt, German movie system, he pretty much talked about him.
    So yeah, I’m 50/50 about him, but I’m not one of these guys who think someone deserves to die, just because he made bad movies.

  414. Hunter, to some degree I agree with you. However, I would argue that Smith is more of an over achiever then someone who is not willing to operate outside of their comfort zone. I feel like to many people want Smith to be something he is not and that is a skilled and refined film maker and writer. He is a funny and personable guy who at one point was a comedic trailblazer with a distinct pop culture influenced voice, but I would say he has got farther then his ability and skill set should have allowed. Early in his career he really stood out because he was doing things nobody else was doing at the time and that carried him despite his short comings, but there are to many people doing what Smith did better these days and to expect him to play catch up when he was never really at that level is unfair. When people criticize Smith for his filmatism and lack of visual refinement it is like complaining that Shaq does not make his free throws. Yes, it is frustrating that some one so talented can’t master something that seems so simple, but that should not discount the things that they are good at and what they have been able to accomplish. Shaq is never going to be a good free throw shooter and Smith will never be a a very polished director, and people should except that is who they are and appreciate them more for who they are then stressing about what they are not.

  415. I have a hard time caring about the Oscars anymore. They just seem like corporate politics to me, and a chance to further market films by giving them awards. Rarely, do the best films, work, or performances win or get nominated for that matter. I have not seen THE KINGS SPEECH and I bet it is a good film I will most likely enjoy, but I find it hard to believe that it is better directed then INSPECTION. INSPECTION is a film that hate it or love is very intracut and dense in information and ideas and most likely could not be effectively executed by most directors

  416. Fuck, sorry about the misspelling of intricate in my last post, but I am sure you guys are used to that by now.

  417. Double Fuck, I just realized that instead of writing Inception I did not pay attention to my spell check and selected Inspection.

    Sorry again.

  418. Charles – its ok mate. Shit happens.

    Vern – you think Banksy will actually show up at the awards?

    Also in re-checking the list, I noticed INCEPTION got a score nod. BMMMMMMMPH!

  419. Charles,

    “When people criticize Smith for his filmatism and lack of visual refinement it is like complaining that Shaq does not make his free throws.”

    I’m all for assessing things in the spirit in which they were made, but isn’t your argument veering a little close to saying that we should grade Smith on a curve because he’s not a talented enough filmmaker? Not sure if I can get behind that. “Filmatism” and “visual refinement” are important parts about, you know, films. It would be unfair to compare Smith’s visual style to a master like Kubrick or something like that, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to compare him to, say, the basic competence of your typical Apatow-n-company film.

    Myself, I’ve generally been a Smith fan, even recognizing his limitations, but if I’m willing to overlook the roughness of some of his films because of their other virtues, that doesn’t mean that criticism of that roughness isn’t valid. In fact, I had the misfortune of seeing the dreadful COP OUT earlier this year, and his technical incompetence in that film makes it even worse than it already would have been. (Smith can blame Bruce Willis all he wants, and granted the man sounds like a nightmare, but even in the scenes without Willis the film is sloppy, tone deaf and awkwardly paced).

  420. Dan, In some ways I think you and I are saying the same thing. I am not saying people should overlook Smith’s faults. He deserves to be called out on his lack of filmatism. All I am saying is that peoples expectations of him are unrealistic. He is never going to be the film maker people wish he was. If it was easy to be a competent filmastist why are there not more of them. Smith is a funny guy who made a flawed but unique film in CLERKS that really stood out at the time of it’s release, and it’s success allowed him to make more films each with their own charm despite their flaws, but at the end of the day those films are good in spite of Smith limitations as a director. He has never come close to making a film as polished and refined as anything in the Apatow catalog, and I doubt he ever will. It is just not in him, but I think people focus on that more then being impressed with the success Smith has had despite his short comings.

  421. Dan P. – What’s the point? ;)

  422. I never really understood people criticizing Smith’s lack of visual chops. To me, it was never really an issue and the bare visual style just helped emphasize his clever dialogue (clever. Not realistic, but hey, its not like INCEPTION has super realistic dialogue either). The films do tend to be akwardly paced, but to me that was always part of their charm, emphasizing the outsider feel and ensuring that Smith’s films always felt distinct. Could the end of DOGMA be staged more dramatically? Yeah, definitely, but I’m not sure it would make it a better movie; I think it might actually just make it feel less unique and more manipulative. And in fact, Smith has been able to summon some visual prowess when the occasion really demands it — the Dance sequence in CLERKS II is perfectly composed and plays out exactly right (it wouldn’t work with a clunky editing and visual style). Of course, as we saw with the inarguably weak COP OUT, without Smith’s essential earnest good humor and distinctive voice coming from the characters, the lack of directoral prowess can be a major weakness.

    But, did you see the trailor to RED STATE? Looks quite intense and very different frm anything else Smith has done. The primitive style combined with the menacing low-key production looks like it might be an effective combination. I’m definitely looking forward to it and hoping Smith’s attempts to try something new pay off.

  423. Charles,

    “All I am saying is that peoples expectations of him are unrealistic. He is never going to be the film maker people wish he was.”

    I see what you’re saying, but let me offer a counterpoint: I’m not sure people’s expectations for Smith are so high, and I don’t think basic competency (something COP OUT failed to attain) is an unreasonably high water. Plus, to Smith’s credit, I actually think he HAS shown some growth over the years. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK has some slightly ambitious visual jokes, CLERKS 2 and ZACK AND MIRI strike me as far more professional and technically accomplished than his early work, and he actually had Vilmos Zsigmond as his cinematographer on JERSEY GIRL (of course, in Smith’s typically downwardly-mobile fashion, he didn’t like Zsigmond and now refuses to work with anyone besides his buddy Dave Klein).

    He’s shown a desire to grow and has occasionally done so. I don’t think its invalid to criticize him when he fails to do so.

  424. RRA,

    THE POINT IS (insert my typically longwinded argument that goes nowhere, circular logic, nitpickery, general incoherence here) OKAY?!?!!?!

  425. Mr Subtlety,

    I tend to agree that Smith’s strengths in humor/tone/dialogue tend to outweigh his visual weaknesses. Still, I don’t think that means that he deserves an automatic pass from all critics/viewers, it’s still totally legitimate to criticize his technical skills. I know this isn’t exactly what you’re arguing, but I’ve noticed this sense people have that since he’s a better writer than he is a director, we should focus more on his screenplays than his direction.

    But, I mean, these aren’t just screenplays he’s sold and washed his hands of. He directed these movies, too, and like the vast majority of directors, he has serious limitations. He’s not a special needs student; he doesn’t deserve an “A” just for effort. I think you make a fair argument that, from your perspective, his films don’t require serious technical chops, but I can also see why people would want to criticize him on that level. I know a lot of film lovers who can’t stand Smith because they feel he really doesn’t understand the tools of cinema (regardless of whether or not they think the jokes are funny), and I think its fair to argue that that detracts from the overall quality of his films.

  426. I don’t mind Smith’s visual style at all. Every other movie is sucking its own dick trying to impress me with every shot so it’s nice sometimes to watch a movie that just points the camera at what it wants to show you and leaves it at that. I haven’t seen COP OUT though so I can’t vouch for how well this approach works for car chases and whatnot.

  427. Mr. Subtlety – I wouldn’t call it criticism as much as an observation. Someone somewhere called him a Woody Allen-type director and I think I agree with that: His movies live and die on the screenplay and acting. Not the camera.

    Which is clearly evident in COP OUT. Tracy Morgan, like his run on SNL, mugs for the camera and is all goofy and silly like to quote Mr. Majestyk on John Travolta’s performance in FROM PARIS WITH LOVE: “He’s wacky by wearing a lampshade.” What an annoying prick.

    On the other hand, Willis actually had more genuine laughs. Especially that opening where he riffs on his own cinema legacy. But hell he always had a good charismatic talent for humor.

    You know what COP OUT is? Its not a LETHAL WEAPON or 48 HRS. as much as its a fucking METRO or TAXI or HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE or THE ROOKIE or THE MAN or any of those “buddy” action comedies which may range from intolerable to watchable, but none the less they don’t just not come close to the models of this rip-off, you actually wish you was watching those originals instead. The real deal, not an inferor xerox copy.

    Or to put it another way, I never once think of DIE HARD when I watch UNDER SIEGE which may have obviously ripped off DH but dammit it was so good and entertaining, but I never miss DH.

    On the other hand, if PASSENGER 57 is on I’m missing John McClaine. Even if Wesley Snipes does sport an awesome one-liner: “Always bet on black!”

  428. Uh oh, did I just inadvertedly diss PASSENGER 57? Yes I did.

    And here is more dising: EXECUTIVE DECISION is the better DIE HARD-on-airplane movie.

    Dig it.

  429. I don’t think Smith’s camera is always pointed at what he wants to show us.

  430. RRA

    What the hell are you talking about? Allen may be a better writer than he is a director (or actor for that matter) but he has done some superb things visually, even in his lesser films. I mean, did you see how he framed Scarlet Johannsen in Match Point? The camera didn’t just make love to her, it bent her over the desk and had its way with her.

  431. Hunter D. – That is true, but it doesn’t change my argument. It only in retrospect make Smith even less ambitious and less visually interesting.

    I wasn’t making a diverse profile as much as a broad stroke stereotype, right?

    Besides if we’re talking Allen camera, how about the ending of PURPLE ROSE OF THE CAIRO? Fucking pitch-perfect craftsmanship.

  432. Speaking of Wesley Snipes, this news is old but the Libertarian Party president is protesting Blade’s incarceration.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/view/feature/Libertarians-Demand-Release-of-Tax-Scofflaw-Wesley-Snipes-2694

  433. I actually really like Smith’s basic aesthetic because I seem to have a problem when the camera moves, hence my total hate for shaky cam movies. If there’s a great scene going on, I want to just see it. Put it on a tripod. I don’t need fancy moves. Of course I like artful cinematography too but like it or hate it, Smith is the ONLY filmmaker making Kevin Smith movies. Why can’t someone just do what they do, and let other people do what they do?

    The personal feelings in reporting on Smith is pretty baffling. Journalists being indignant that Smith won’t do press anymore or violated the definition of “auction.” What, were you personally invested when Smith WAS talking to you? Does everybody else in the world do exactly what they literally said they would do with no irony?

    I would like to see Smith himself take it less personally just for his own sake. He’s got an admirable body of work and success that speak for themselves. But, talking back is his thing so who am I to give advice?

  434. And I’m glad James Franco got nominated so I can dress as Aron Ralston on Oscar night. You guys didn’t see me as The Wrestler, Eastern Promises or Precious, did you?

  435. Y’all want a laugh?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYqdKd2qG9o

    You know there are several things I’m pissed at Obama over. Watering down HCR to get the support of blue dog Dems/GOPers who ultimately told him ot fuck off, going more right wing in foreign affairs than Dubya, going back on his word regarding Guantanamo, unwillingness to push Israel, and so forth.

    And yet ultimately, I see a video like that and think: My qualms aside, I’ll still take him anytime over those fucking insane morons. They have to be stopped. In a Constitutional/Democracy fashion of course.

    And to think, she serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

    And considering a Presidential run next year.

  436. Vern, are you under attack, mate? Or are there really a lot of new people all precisely desiring to thanking you in a strangely similar tone?

  437. I did think the scenes between Bruce and Jason Lee in COP OUT were surprisingly well handled. And of course EXECUTIVE DECISION is better than PASSENGER 57! PASSENGER 57 *ahem* cops-out by having the plane land and setting the rest of the film (or most of the rest) at a carnival. It is good fun until then though, and of course still vastly preferable to AIR FORCE ONE

  438. Cop Out was poor but what made it grating for me was Tracey Morgan’s goddamn screaming from start to end, for Christ’s sake. There’s one part at the end where this six foot + man is actually blubbering hysterically like a retarded man-baby. Regardless of whether he was a pain in the arse on set, Bruce willis deserved better than that.

  439. OK I’ll make this one brief.

    OSCARS: Why are we – or rather, you – even bothering with them? If I was interested in the Oscars in any way, shape or form, I’d not be coming to this website. To me the whole point of coming here is to find little-known gems of genre cinema like “Universal Soldier: Regeneration”. Why the heck are you using this same site to dignify a lot of people, most of whom have a connection to the film industry that’s dubious at best, who will literally vote for any film to win as long as it’s got an overwrought anti-racist “message”, is a big historical epic, or features a mentally handicapped man played by a big Hollywood star?

    Vern’s written an article that is critical of the Razzies before. I agree with this, but I think the Oscars are worse because they have a very thin veneer of “legitimacy” that doesn’t stand up under the slightest scrutiny. I don’t particularly care who’s been nominated or who hasn’t been. I don’t need a group of self-important twats – whose only apparent reason for existing is to sell fashion magazines and ball gowns – to tell me that Chris Nolan is an excellent director. I already know that, thanks.

    That will be my absolute last word on the subject of this year’s Oscars. Let’s go onto something interesting.

    PACMAN FEVER: I agree with you and RRA on the three aeroplane hijack movies. To wit:

    “Executive Decision” is a tense popcorn thriller, probably one of the best movies Seagal has been in. Don’t know if I prefer it to “Marked for Death” or “Fire Down Below”, but it’s pretty damn good.

    “Passenger 57” is bad but fantastically so. The casting of Elizabeth Hurley as a terrorist was inspired, and the villain’s performance is hammier than a butcher’s shop. Very fun movie.

    “Air Force One” is a mediocre forgettable genre movie that feels as though it was written by checklist. Several of the plot points have zero payoff (what’s the point of having a traitor aboard if he doesn’t actually DO anything the whole time he’s there?) The acting’s decent but it basically does nothing for me.

    JIM BOLO – If you’re not a spambot these days, what exactly are you doing here? Get on the bandwagon dude. I have. Cheap meds for sale at low low prices!

  440. Well it felt brief when I was writing it…

  441. Yeah, what the hell I’ll give it a try… Aamaze her with yur 47% improved enlargement Cheep Vi@@@gra at 100% lowest price pleasethank you.

  442. I basically agree with Paul when it comes to the Oscars. I’m not saying we should bury our head in the sand and ignore it completely, or that it’s not nice when something we love gets rewarded or frustrating when something we hate wins. But ultimately the Academy are just a machine, and some things push their buttons and some don’t. Some things are made solely to push their buttons. Ultimatelty for most people I imagine they don’t have any more baring on what we enjoy than the Razzies do.

  443. For the record, Academy members are not “barely connected to the industry.” It’s actually kinda hard to get membership into the Academy, you have to be nominated and then voted in. John August only got membership last year and he wrote a film that had major best screenplay buzz almost a decade ago! It’s the Golden Globes that have bizarre membership rules.

  444. And yet Dakota Fanning is an Academy member since 2006!

  445. Really? That’s bizarre.

    Also, as I understand it, members in good standing are permitted to vote, but only in the category of their expertise as well as best picture.

  446. So apparently Kevin Smith is gonna re-cut Red State due to some of the post screening feedback. Sounds like it might be for the best.

  447. Also, seems our very own FTopel managed to score an interview/podcast with the man himself. Nice one Fred.

  448. Paul – What’s interesting is how on paper, AIR FORCE ONE one would think would be the better picture what with a good lead, good director, good actor casted for the villain…and yet DECISION is so much better. I was surprised back in the day by how lifeless, dull, and uninspired AFO was. It’s ubsequently not aged for the better.And that whole 3rd act Cabinet struggle wasn’t just stupid, its wreckless.

    If a real U.S. President was taken hostage, the Cabinet would have immediately stripped him of powers and installed the VP as Acting President. That’s the whole goddamn point behind the 25th Amendment, so the government doesn’t live/die on one figure.

    So I say DECISION first, followed by 57 (which did “cheat”), and then floating behind, AFO. I mean as messy as 57 was, at least some scenes were genuinely full of some life and amusement. Plus you gotta love how over the top the villain’s ridiculously awesome demise in 57 was, compared to Oldman’s subdued, anticlimatic end.

    Mode 7 – Kevin Smith tends to cut/re-cut his movies alot in post-production. No surprise. Hell on STRIKE BACK and DOGMA personally, I thought they sorta suffered from being too choppy. Then again, they’re no less or more choppy than the Judd Apatow products.

  449. Back to Oscars, I’ve found another crazy achievement made by Chris Nolan’s snubbing.

    For the three times he’s earned a DGA nomination (Memento, TDK, Inception), Nolan was the only guy in those years’ classes to NOT score an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

    Now that’s personal.

  450. Jim Bolo – that’s how you do it! Now maybe the spambots will accept you as one of their own when they take over the world. That’s my plan – I have realised I can’t hope to stop their relentless advance, so I’m going to let myself be assimilated when the time comes.

    RRA – Definitely agreed on ED, AFO and P57.

    Although, as regards the casting of AFO, I think Gary Oldman is hit-and-miss as a villain, depending on which film you look at. I think “Leon” might very well be one of my favorite films ever if it wasn’t for his (Oldman’s) performance hamming up the place. He reminded me – and I wish I was kidding here – of Daffy Duck, in full-on steam-coming-out-of-his-ears red-faced psycho mode. (Heck, when he gets angry in that film, which is at least 50% of the time we see him, he even LOOKS like Daffy Duck.) That’s the one thing I can’t believe – that his fellow police-officers would seriously accept this loony toon with hardly any questions asked.

    I actually have a lot of love for Dogma though, and I think it’s the one film of Smith’s that suffers the least from the “Jay and Silent Bob” factor, if only because the two characters actually have something to do beyond distracting me from the main plot with their annoying drug-related banter. But some of the ideas it comes up with, even when those ideas aren’t executed perfectly. Having Alanis Morisette play a creature who can destroy worlds with the incredible destructive power of her voice, for example; tell me that’s not just almost Shakesperian in its sheer poetic genius.

  451. Dan — I don’t think its at all unreasonable to criticize Smith on a technical level; on the other hand, I feel like his basic, somewhat primitive style isn’t always as much of a handicap as people make it out to be. I can’t really think of a specific time before COP OUT where I felt like the lack of a more stylish approach really undermined the effectiveness of any of his films. And when the occasion does call for something a little more visually ambitious, it seems like Smith has usually been able to deliver (like the dance sequence in CLERKS II, the introduction of the antagonist girls in JAY AND SILENT BOB, etc). So I’m just not quite sure criticism is exactly deserved. Except, uh, COP OUT. That one is really hurt by the photography and especially the editing. But then again, I feel like a big part of the problem is that it’s not Smith’s script and he is struggling to try to capture a very different cinematic voice than his own. I remain excited about RED STATE, but we’ll see.

  452. Paul, you say the damnedest thing sometimes, but “LEON would have been great if it wasn’t for Gary Oldman” takes the cake. That’s right up there with “The nunchucks scene ruined ENTER THE DRAGON.” I’m starting to think there might be a ceiling on how much awesome your system can handle. I bet you hate guitar solos, too. (Insert smiley-winky face here.)

  453. Oldman makes Leon. Surely evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvverrrrryyyyyyyyoooooonnnnne knows that.

  454. MR. Majestyk – Paul hates David Gilmour and Jimmy Page.

  455. Mr. Majestyk — I think it’s ok to use the winky smiley. I know Vern probably wouldn’t approve but I’ve seen both Snoop Dog and Ice T using em on the twitter, so I’d say careful use of smileys is outlaw approved. Someone needs to tell me if this isn’t the case, though – I’ve been using em all over the place and I don’t wanna get my licence to post here revoked.

  456. There is no problem with using smilies. After all, sometimes you just have to make sure, that even the dumbest guy gets that you are only joking.
    The use of LOL is inexcusable and should be punished, though.

  457. Totally new topic but, does anyone here know how common it is for girls under twenty-three-years old to have had plastic surgery? Like nose jobs or boob jobs? And how often is it that this is paid for by mommy and (step)daddy? Because I didn’t think this was part of my social scene…but recently I’ve met a couple of articulate, intelligent, and apparently artificially beautiful women. And I can’t tell if I find the body modification hot, or disturbing. I mean, I’m all about tattoos, piercings, and weird hair color, so logically I should be down for this, but it kinda freaks me out.

    You guys have any experience like this? Or is it just that I’m living in LA and meeting girls who want to be in “the industry?”

  458. I’m not even gonna try to explain this, just watch it (if you haven’t already) -> http://youtu.be/yysbbPStfWw

  459. Mr Subtlety,

    I definitely understand and mainly agree with what you’re saying, but I don’t think the criticism is just that Smith lacks flash or overt style. I think the argument might be that even his more basic visuals are (arguably) poorly composed or staged. “Simple” can produce great results (think later Ozu films), but a Smith critic might call his style “simplistic.”

    You’re dead-on that the editing in COP OUT is conspicuously terrible. Most reviews of the film made mention of the fact that it was Smith’s first film that he himself did not write. (In some cases, I think Smith fans brought this up to try to defer some of the blame).The interesting thing that didn’t seem to get mentioned a lot was that, unless I am mistaken, this was the first film Smith edited by himself without the help of his long-time partner/producer/editor Scott Mosier. The outright lousiness of the editing makes me wonder if Mosier and his editing skills made more of a significant contribution to Smith’s films that people might have given him credit for.

  460. Majestyk – I don’t think the nunchuks scene RUINED “Enter the Dragon”, I just think there was a very good reason why the original editors left it out. Half a minute of Bruce Lee poncing about with two sticks and not even fighting anybody, while a small army of guards is presumably getting ready to surround him, is not something that should ever have been let into the final cut of the film. Come to think of it, most of the extra stuff in the “Bruce Lee cut” could’ve been left out.

    Or to put it another way: it’s like the scene with Sarah Connor and Kyle Reece in “T2” – does anybody seriously think that improved the movie?

    As regards “Leon”, I didn’t think I was stating a particularly controversial viewpoint there. Are you seriously telling me that there are people who LIKED Gary Oldman in that movie? I’ve always regarded him as a kind of Leo Getz-type figure (I could also mention Rudy Rhood, but I’m apparently the only person on earth who actually liked Chris Tucker in “The Fifth Element” so, personally speaking, it isn’t a good example).

  461. Paul – we’ve been over this a couple times already, but “the original editors” did not “leave out” the nunchakas in ENTER THE DRAGON. That scene was censored in your country because nunchakas were illegal. It has always been part of the movie everywhere else in the world, and one of the most famous parts (which is why he has them on the poster).

  462. You guys followed the Smith/Topel tweets, I’m so touched! I of course accepted Smith’s invite and I hope he saw that amid his 1000s of @mentions. I hadn’t heard about recutting Red State. I can’t imagine what could go, or what he could soften. It’s only 90 minutes and relentlessly intense.

  463. re: plastic surgery, here’s a deep thought. I know images of women in the media are F’ed up, but I think the real problem is consumers. If people weren’t so mean to each other, the media could never sell those images. Even though women feel insecure, they have no problem bashing famous actresses, looking for belly bumps or slamming well put together 40-somethings for not being young anymore.

    I believe people who get off on the red carpet slamfest actually hate themselves, like bullies. If people could be kinder, they’d start to warm up, see that there’s lots of beauty out there, and accept some in their own hearts. Also, plastic surgery doesn’t work. Forget about arguing the morality of it. It NEVER makes people look better. It only makes them look like they’e had surgery to try to look better. Then haters make fun of them for that.

  464. I donno, both of these girls are eminently desirable. I’d post links to FB pictures, but that would be creepy and rude. Suffice it to say, they both had excellent work done while they were still teenagers. One of them is a Jewish girl who’s identical twin sister got a nose job at 18. My friend liked her real nose but decided she wanted breast implants a few months later. Since her parents had already signed off on the other sister’s completely cosmetic surgery, she kinda forced their hand.

    She has large D-cups now, but she’s always been, to put it politely, stacked. The kind of girl that, when we’d go out to party in the local college town, strangers would come up and literally congratulate me on as we walked the streets. This girl is insecure on some level, but other than the fact that she never leaves home without (a bioot t much) makeup, you’d never know it. She’s smart, funny, articulate, a dedicated student, and a pretty decent director to boot. We met working on a short I directed and she was always there on time, always a team player, and always ready to give whatever the production needed, no questions asked, and no complaints, ever. We’ve actually begun co-writing some stuff because she has a great eye for physical comedy. She’s the antithesis of the image I had in my head of the type of girl who would get a boob job, much less a boob job at 19.

    The other girl is a talented slam poet and singer. She too is a moderately rich Jewish girl. She got a nose job for her 18th birthday, apparently a family tradition. I would have never guessed it wasn’t her real nose, because it’s still fairly prominent. She’s a bit more concerned with what other people think of her and stranger’s perceptions, but she too is legitimately artistically talented. Sure, she’ll talk about how “smart” What the (Bleep) Do we Know? was, but then she’ll bring up Buddhism, and like, know what she’s talking about.

    These two revelations have greatly surprised and confused me. Are we really at a place where even the kinda bookish girls (or at least the kinda girls who would be attracted to a guy because of his intellect) are getting work done?

  465. Wow, that post has the worst spelling and grammar of anything I’ve signed my name to since my 5th grade spelling quiz.

  466. I thought getting work done meant having people shot?
    Also I have never come across anyone ever who thought Gary Oldman in Leon was not the shit.

  467. I was honestly unaware that Gary Oldman has been anything less than awesome in anything.

    Also, I’ve nothing against plastic surgery in theory, but parents paying for their children to get it is kinda fucked up in my opinion.

  468. I kind of agree, Mode7. The kids should get a part time job to pay for that sort of thing. It builds more character than just having big tits gifted to you.

  469. I can’t believe I forgot to mention this earlier, but I saw Yojimbo on blu ray recently, my first ever Kurosawa movie

    I dug it of course, the blu ray looked amazing, the score was absolutly rocking (which surprised me) and it goes without saying that Toshirô Mifune is badass

    I do have to say that I have a few complaints though, for one thing I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit bored at times, I think this is just because it’s an older movie and they were a lot more slow paced back then (plus I watched it late at night and I was a bit tired)

    secondly the action sequences were great, but it really bugged me that when somebody would get slashed there would be no visible wounds or damage whatsoever, I know this is the early 60’s and they couldn’t exactly have lots of blood, but it just took me out of the movie, it looked like guys just playing around rather than a real swordfight, it’s the samurai equivalent of those old westerns where a guy would get shot and just grab the “wound” and play dead

    but despite that I loved how the movie was an almost total antithesis to modern film making, it was slow paced, had a great and exciting score and the action sequences were just literally them pointing the camera at the action with almost no edits whatsoever, what a novel idea!

    p.d. I laughed at the surprise scene of manasses (when the sake tubs are leaking)

  470. Griff – I’m just baffled by the idea of anyone possibly being bored by YOJIMBO.

    Of course people conditioned by recent action cinema (especially say the last 10-15 years) would then maybe be excused as to why or how they could find YOJIMBO boring.

    I’m sorry mate if I’m busting your balls a tad hard here, but I’m just shocked. What is the world coming too? “Sorry RRA, but I found DIE HARD a tad boring here and there. Also why didn’t the bad guys’ get splattered all over the place like in those more awesome Zach Snyder movies?”

  471. Kind of related, saw A COLT IS MY PISTOL with Joe Shishido recently, kind of like YOJIMBO inverted back through A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS stylewise, in that it takes all the western sounds and some of the scene setup, but the dude instead of setting both gangs against each other ends up with both of them after him. Not sure if it’s directly referring to YOJIMBO, but they do use the word a few times at the start, but it may have been just because it’s the actual word for bodyguard and they were talking about a bodyguard.

  472. RRA – I didn’t say I found the whole movie boring, just a few parts, that’s all :(

  473. Vern – look, you know I love ya. But the thing about Nunchuks being illegal in Britain is an urban myth. (I don’t know how it got started, but I’m a pretty cynical soul so I’d guess the marketers thought it would pull in more sales.) Yeah, nunchuks are illegal to carry over here, but that had nothing to do with why they were actually left out of the movie – knives over a certain size are also illegal, but do you think that stopped “Lock Stock…”‘s giant machete scene from being shown here?

    The movie was edited differently in the British theatrical version than in the American one. The nunchuks scene wasn’t the only omission – we didn’t get the sister’s grave scene either. Just like with “Aliens” (we got almost ten minutes’ worth of extra backstory with Newt’s parents), “The Descent” (we got a whole different ending), and half a dozen other movies that I could name on the fly. When I talk about the “original” version I’m simply referring to the version that I, as a British guy, would consider the first one to come out over here. Maybe I didn’t make that clear on first glance, but I honestly don’t think you need to explain that to everyone else, and you sure as heck don’t need to explain it to me.

    Now…

    Enough about these highbrow films (“Yojimbo”, “Leon”, “Aliens”, etc). Let me lower the tone and talk about some crappy slasher movie I saw last night on a misguided recommendation from some guys (not the same ones, surprisingly, who said I had to see “Transformers”) who apparently have a grudge against me that I wasn’t aware of. “Catacombs”. A rather dull avid-fart-filled horror-fest set in the tunnels beneath Paris. Normally I wouldn’t even bring this up in a forum like this one, but I gotta talk about the twist.

    Thing is, I went into this knowing there’d be a twist (again, recommendations kinda give that away) but not knowing exactly what it was. The trouble is that to me, the twist was so obviously telegraphed from the get-go that it pretty much ruined any suspense. Is this a case of me being too old for this shit – or at least too well-versed in the ways of modern horror – or is this just nitpicking on my part?

    Maybe this is why I prefer old-fashioned whodunnits like “Scream” and sequels… I’ve got to the point where the conventions of “straight” horror have started to bore me. Now there’s a depressing thought.

    Anyway, I got two things out of this movie:

    1) I should really, really avoid well-regarded genre movies set in dark underground places. Apparently I seem to be allergic to them, if the mass recommendations for “Catacombs” and “Buried” compared to my actual reaction to both movies are anything to go by.

    2) My personal vision of the Funniest Scene That Didn’t Actually Make It Into the Movie: so at the end of this (I’m not giving anything away here, we are told at the beginning that Final Girl survives) Shannyn Sossamon’s character takes a cab directly to the airport. (God knows how she managed to pay the driver.) She’s wearing nothing but a thin dress, she has no travel documents, and she’s covered in bruises and dried blood. Can you imagine what the TSA would make of that? Awkward!

  474. Isn’t CATACOMBS the one with Pink?

  475. I had no idea it was her, but yes, it is.

  476. Griff – I know but still I think it was the concept of such an essential badass classic being boring that surprised me. Anyway, moving on…

    Anyone got thoughts on Egypt?

  477. I like their pyramids

  478. Paul- Nunchucks definitely were verbotten on screen in the UK for about thirty years, until about 2000/2001 when Quentin Thomas became President of the BBFC and things got a lot more liberal. They were even cut out of things like BEVERLY HILLS NINJA and A VERY BRADY MOVIE. Heck, even THE SECRET OF THE OOZE (or maybe it was the first one?) had a scene cut out where one of the turtles used a chain-link of sausages in a nunchuk-like fashion! I don’t know if ENTER THE DRAGON had a radically different cut in the UK in the odlen days, so I’ll bow to your knowledge on that one, but eliminating nunchucks on-screen was definitely one of old BBFC director James Ferman’s big passions

  479. RRA – apparently the Government has taken down the Internet. Because state censorship has always worked so well at repressing anti-Governmental protests in the past.

    Pacman – they had Michaelangelo, along with nunchuks, in the “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles” cartoon, back in the late eighties / early nineties I believe. Yep, they couldn’t even use the word “ninja”, but they did have nunchuks full and accounted for.

    There were three scenes that were cut out of the British version of “Enter the Dragon” and I do remember thinking that all of them were good cuts. I’m not a fan of the “nunchuks” scene, as you guys know; it’s basically just Bruce Lee standing there showing off his skills while the guards watch in awe (instead of, you know, doing anything productive like surrounding him. Not that that helped the guys in the preceding scene with the two sticks and the pole. Which was FANTASTIC.) The grave-promise scene is a huge cliche of martial arts films that this particular one just didn’t need – it basically does nothing for the movie or the character. And I can’t even remember what the third scene that got cut was, but I do recall thinking it wasn’t particularly good. The simple fact is that I prefer the slimmed-down British version of “Enter the Dragon”. I think it’s leaner, more to-the-point, and the stuff that got cut only detracted from the film in the first place, breaking the flow.

  480. Apparently (according to the dvdcompare.net listing) the Australians had the nunchucks cut originally as well.

  481. A question for my esteemed Vern-reading colleagues. I have been watching season 1 of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA on Netflix the past few weeks. I have one episode left.

    My question is: when does this show get good? I have heard from many trusted sources that BG is one of the best TV series, like, ever, but so far that has not been the case. I’m happy to stick it out a little longer if people tell me that season 1 was a little weak and that there’s a significant upswing in quality during season 2. Otherwise, if this is as good as it gets, I’m out.

    So any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

  482. You can stop right here. The most interesting part of the series (and the only thing that kept me watching, despite my give-every-new-show-time-to-breath-rule, a.k.a. “The Farscape rule”) was the subplot about the one guy, who was left behind at Caprica. Then it only gets worse and I gave up near the end of season 2, when they saved a major character’s life with a deus ex machina plot device, that would put any episode of STAR TREK: VOYAGER ashame.

  483. Hey guys. Someone, and I have no idea who, did a really cool video interview with James Cameron last weekend where I’m sure he got complimented by the writer/director on his questions and then got a scoop on Battle Angel.

    http://collider.com/battle-angel-james-cameron/73916/

    I’m sure the author of this piece is really cool and good looking. He totally strives for excellence.

  484. CJ,

    Interesting you say that, because I thought the subplot about the one guy left on Caprica has been easily the worst part of the entire season. There’s been about 15 minutes worth of material painfully stretched over like 12 episodes now, with each episode barely moving his story forward a half baby step. It hasn’t (by necessity) tied into any of the other stories, so it feels a little disconnected.

    Plus, they keep putting scenes with him in every episode even if there’s no reason for him to be there. I.e. that episode that’s all supposed to be flashbacks as Starbuck is ejecting from her crashing ship (already kind of a needless framing device), yet for some reason it still adds in a few scenes of that guy on Caprica even though they have nothing to do with her flashbacks. Odd.

    Still, since you liked the one part of the show I dislike the most… maybe that means I’ll like season 2 more?

  485. It dragged, there is no doubt about it. I’m not saying that subplot was tightly written or something, it even was full of stupid scenes (like when he was camping on a balcony of an abandoned house and a group of cylones was watching him from the next roof, not even trying to hide and despite being not that far away from him, talking pretty loud, but he didn’t notice them, although he just had to turn around.), but while I was waiting for the show to become finally good (and especially as good as the “OMG, SciFi that is dark, brooding, 9/11 and has no cute robots” fanboys always told me), it kept my interest enough. In some episodes it was pretty much the only time, when I looked up from my newspaper.

  486. I don’t know, you two; the miniseries kinda dragged but if “33” didn’t do it for you, stop there, because that’s in the top five episodes for the entire series (and there is a lot of great stuff in the entire show, barring the last season where it kind of went to pieces).

    Out of curiosity, CJ, do you take that newspaper to the movies too?

  487. did you guys hear that they’re gonna turn Stephen King’s The Stand into either a movie or movies?

  488. Please God no.

  489. baby, can you dig your man? he’s a righteous man

  490. Thoughts on the new Senate bill which would give the President power to “control” the Internet in a National Emergency?

  491. hahaha, I heard about that

    no sir, I don’t like it

    it sounds like something that would give Alex Jones wet dreams

  492. Didn’t they already do a mini-series of that with Rob Lowe? Not great, as I recall.

    Also, another thing the world does not need – a remake of THE KILLER in 3D. Nigh on impossible to improve on Chow Yun Fat no matter how many Ds you have.
    http://www.deadline.com/2011/01/remake-of-john-woos-the-killer-underway/

  493. RRA —

    I think the fact that the bill was introduced right after the Wikileaks scandal is enough to make anyone question Obama’s motives.

    One thing I don’t understand – would this bill give Obama the power to mess with servers owned by US corporations but physically located on foreign soil? Or is it just essentially gonna isolate the portion of the internet located in the states from the rest of the world?

  494. Mode7 – Good question. I think a big difference between say U.S. and Egypt is that Egypt has a limited number of fiber optics and cabling which was why Mubarak was able to shut down the Internet in Egypt.

    U.S. though has more cables, wires, all that shit. Much more sophisticated, not so much one giant phone cord.

    Speaking of which, I wonder what weak-ass line the Obama White House will use today after Mubarak sent that army of cops and thugs to play Smash TV on the protesters? “We would like for you to go. Now. ASAP. I mean not immediately now, sometime soon. Pretty please?”

  495. big money! big prizes! IIIIII love it!

  496. This headline meaks me wonder even more why Italy just can’t get rid of this assclown.

    “Berlusconi calls Mubarak wise man, urges continuity”

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/02/04/idINIndia-54661320110204

  497. Any of you fellas watch Charlie Brooker’s various shows? For a guy stuck in the Midwest, it’s a pretty good education for what goes on across the pond. Plus, he’s funny.

  498. Dan P – Weird timing because I’m watching the first season now as well, and I gotta say I’m enjoying it. But I kinda agree about the Caprica subplot (although parts of it have been excellent, on the whole it’s dragged a little so far).

  499. So at last night’s UFC, Steven Seagal apparently trained the winner of the main event, and taught him a secret kick that ended the match??? See the interview below:

    http://www.mmafighting.com/2011/02/06/anderson-silva-knocks-out-vitor-belfort-at-ufc-126/

  500. neal2zod, I just posted something about Seagal working with Silva on the BORN TO RAISE HELL thread. this is the second fight in a row Seagal has been in Silva’s corner and part of his training camp. As I mentioned in my other post. If you look around on Youtube you can find footage of Seagal working with Silva. It is pretty cool to see.

  501. the Super Bowl Super 8 trailer is awesome

    man, I can not freakin’ wait for that movie

  502. Charles, I’m hoping that someone has a link to video of the secret “kick” Seagal speaks of. I like how he described it in the interview like it was a secret technique like the fucking heartstopping death punch from the end of Kill Bill, and even blog recaps of the show point out how amazing it was. I need video, damnit.

  503. neal2zod, The picture quality is not the best and I don’t know how long it will stay up, but here is a link to the fight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ezS49gRw8w

    It is crazy because it is not a round house kick or high kick it is a front kick.

  504. Doh! Already gone – in my mind it sounds like the kick Seagal gave to the dude in the shopping mall in Hard to Kill that sent him through the store window. I hope it’s that awesome.

  505. Dan, I could never get into BSG either, which makes me somewhat of a pariah in both the film and TV world. I get that it’s a metaphor. Metaphor doesn’t make it a good story. It’s so SERIOUS about sci-fi shit, it just feels like a Syfy show. One day when I Am Legend happens I’ll give it another chance, but shouldn’t I watch the entire run of Rawhide first? Clint on TV?

  506. how come no one else here wants to discuss the new Super 8 trailer?

    it was fucking awesome, gave me chills

  507. Paul & Fred,

    I think there were probably 2 or 3 overall strong episodes of TV in the first season, but the rest was a mixed bag of missed opportunities and inconsistent quality. I agree with Fred; it’s cool that the show is trying to tackle some serious issues, and it has some cool ideas, but the execution is often weak. I’m not inclined to give it too much leeway just for ambition.

    The episode with the military tribunal being a great example. It has some real-world relevance, but it’s done as broadly as possible, with the officer running the tribunal immediately and egregiously abusing her power. And in case we don’t get it, they have to throw in a heavy handed ending where Adama speechifies about how the tribunal got out of hand. Of course, the episode seems to undercut its own message, since one of the people under investigation actually WAS a sleeper-cell cylon agent.

    I kept wanting to like the show, but it rarely seemed to live up to its potential. I could fault the directing, but honestly a lot of TV shows are poorly directed and I tend to agree with the conventional wisdom that TV is a writer’s medium and not a director’s. But then I’d have to point out that the writing could be pretty bad; at lot of awkward dialogue, bad pacing, occasional heavy-handed over statement of themes. And it would do obnoxious things like essentially write the same couple scenes over and over again for Baltar in every episode (Baltar realizes that he might get caught after his imaginary friend points it out, then he wildly over-reacts/over-acts when trying to handle the situation, yet no one ever seems to notice his erratic behavior). Or keep cutting to the Caprica subplot even when nothing was going on and it had nothing to do with the rest of the episode, just to remind us those characters still existed.

    Anyways, maybe I’ll come back around to season 2 if I ever run out of other things to watch, but I’m giving up on it for now.

  508. Griff – I just saw the Super 8 Trailer online and thought it looked fantastic, but I gotta say alot of the lighting effects and imagery (which were obviously intentionally Spielberg-esque) were also in the Cowboys and Aliens trailer, which seems like the “bigger” movie with more starpower, etc.. Combine that with the fact that Transformers 3 and Battle: LA are ALSO alien invasion movies with more stars and a higher profile, might explain some people’s apathy.

    But I did love the music in the Super 8 trailer though – i like that it evoked high adventure/fantasy like ET, while the imagery looked more like a horror movie. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition that really worked.

  509. Super 8 looks like it’s going to be like the third act of ET, but with a video camera instead of a lovable alien.

    I’m just not excited for blockbuster movies anymore. I watched the trailers and yes, Transformers 3 looks cool even if the trailer is straight ripped off of Battle: LA, (how do you rip off a trailer that’s still playing in theaters?!?) and I’m totally gay for Kenneth Branagh so I’m kinda excited for Thor…but most of the “big” movies look like more of the same to me.

    Who cares? When was the last time you were blown away by a mainstream sequel? For me, the only ones in recent memory are Dark Knight, Crank: High Voltage, and Spider-Man 2. (maybe Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, but that’s a guilty pleasure). I think those are the only really good mainstream non-family film sequels of the last decade. All the others have sucked. And of those 3, Crank 2 is the only one I’m likely to want to watch more than 2 or 3 times, ever.

    Here are a few movies that I think are worth anticipating this coming year. Notice how few are sequels or remakes…

    The company men
    No strings attached
    London boulevard
    Sanctum
    Hall pass
    Everything must go
    Rango
    The adjustment bureau
    The beaver
    Miral
    Super
    Your highness
    Haywire
    Fast five
    Thor
    Tree of life
    30 minutes or less
    drive
    now
    rum diary
    muppets
    hugo cabaret
    Mission: Impossible 4
    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
    Margin Call
    Frankie and Alice
    Cedar Rapids
    The Eagle
    Limitless
    Win Win
    Insidious
    Hanna

  510. yeah, I hope to God Super 8 does not turn out to be this year’s Scott Pilgrim

    it looks to be what I’ve wanted Hollywood to do for ages, that is make a movie in a more timeless and classic style, but with modern effects, it’s so rare that this happens it’s ridiculous

    well, I know for sure it’s hands down my most anticipated movie of the summer

  511. Personally I think RANGO looks like fun.

  512. Rango does indeed look fun, the whole wild west thing reminds me of the American Tale sequel

  513. oh I’m sorry, it’s actually American Tail

  514. Damn, have you guys seen how much Seagalogy sells for on Amazon now? I’m not sure when it turned into the Lost Ark. I’m looking into the situation.

  515. Is that Crom’s way of telling you it’s time for an updated version?

  516. Oh shit, man, I checked at the German Amazon site, where it’s sold for 75€. Then I checked at the UK site, where it’s sold for 99 Bucks. Then I checked the American site and WTF!?!?

  517. A must-read New Yorker piece on Paul Haggis leaving the DisneyWorld religion that is Scientology, which somehow found a way to come off as even more awesome(ly insane) than I originally known of it.

    My favorite bit: Sea Org, a youth league/paramilitary group who live in a fenced-in compound that’s like a real-life VENTURE BROS. inspired twist of insanity.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_wright

  518. I think I’ve made this rant before, and I think I made it in this topic, but can we please keep a civil tone when discussing Scientology? Sure it’s Looney Tunes, sure it’s Disneyworld, fuck it’s probably Epcot too, but it’s no more or less crazy than any other major religion. Christianity and Judaism just seem less bizarre to you because you’ve been culturally indoctrinated into their madness.

    I’m glad Paul Haggis isn’t a Scientologist anymore if it wasn’t bringing him solace at night, and in general I am pleased whenever anybody steps away from religion, but to single out this faith just because it is less mainstream and well established strikes me as a subtle, socially accepted form of bigotry. And even though I agree with you for the most part. in order to remain philosophically consistent I feel as though I must ask you to question your motives and perspective here.

    We’re all allowed to go Ted Phelps on Scientology and we shouldn’t. It trains us to fear and loath those with different faiths. And if we’re full of fear and loathing all the way out here, what the fuck are we gonna do when we get to Las Vegas?

  519. Whoa, is my dog eared paperback copy worth something now? And I haven’t even had Vern sign it yet.

  520. Hunter D. – Calm down. I wasn’t mocking that particular belief system (my religion had Jonah and the whale, so we don’t have shit to talk) as much as the organization itself.

    Its like I’m Catholic and yet I’m still allowed to criticized the Vatican. Especially on their abysmal record on child abuse.

  521. well look at this way Hunter D.

    Jesus Christ, whether you think he was divine or not, was all about helping the sick and the poor and giving up our wealth

    L Ron Hubbard was all about “give me mo money because my writing career has failed”

    I think these ancient Religions hold a lot more credibility than anything like Scientology because whether you think their founders were divine or not, they really believed what they preached in other words

    Buddha for example seems like a pretty smart guy, I’m not Buddhist (I’m actually a Christian believe it or not), but I respect that a lot more than I do Scientology

  522. Hunter D —

    If Christianity was based on a guy that was famous in his own time for inventing the exact type of bullshit Christianity is based on, a guy that could be named and was actually quoted as saying starting a religion was a great way to get rich, I might agree that Christianity is as stupid as Scientology. Even then, you have the fact that you have to PAY THROUGH THE NOSE to be a Scientologist – Christians give bibles away for free, and don’t attempt to keep the belief structure of the religion a secret to all but those that pay a fucking fortune to know it.

    To put Scientology on the same level as the major Religions is offensive, plain and simple.

    And no, I’m not at all religious.

  523. Mode 7, sounds like you’re describing Mormonism too.

  524. Vern, If you get a chance ask Titan if their Hammer art book will be back in print. There really wasn’t much time to grab it.

  525. Hunter – But Mormonism has Magic Underwear. Which surely can’t be cheap.

  526. It’s on the UK Amazon for £20 if that’s any use to you.

  527. That would be the Hammer art book for £0, not magic underwear.

  528. Thanks Caoimhin.

  529. Vern:

    “Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-kicking Films of Steven Seagal – Paperback (23 May 2008) by Vern
    1 new from £25.05
    1 used from £204.25”

    Hehe, I got mine for £8.99 about a year after it came out. Latecomers are such suckers!

  530. Name sorted. Damn, that joke went on a bit.

  531. (Some eight hours later): It occurs to me that I’d kinda like to meet the person who would pay £204 for a used copy of Seagalogy. Dan, RRA, Hunter D, Mode 7? Any takers? Because if so then I have an interesting business proposition I’d like to put to you…

  532. paul – nice try sunshine, but I bought a copy right (I think) on the week it was published.

  533. Season 2 of JUSTIFIED started last night. Good start. Liked the main story, thought it was a bit brief due to all the other stuff at the beginning taking up some of the time. The Bennetts sure are pretty cold customers. I love how Raylen often has a personal connection to the bad guys in this show. Surprised they wrapped up the Cartel thing so soon. I expect Boyd to screw it up by going after them, but looks like he’s doing something else for now.

  534. Did any of you Yanks get to see the new season of Justified start last night?

  535. Wow Stu, you answered that before I even asked! I can’t wait to see this.

  536. More Disney Reviews. Also Ver, please review this tribute act: http://www.whosbadmusic.com
    Yes.

  537. So Die Hard 5 has a director but I’ve never heard of this guy in my life. I just hope it brings McClane back cause the guy Willis played in Live Free or Die Hard didn’t really cut it.

  538. Broddie – Does this mean more than regrowing back some hair?

  539. CallMeKermit – Hooray!

    “Berlusconi to face trial over prostitution scandal”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110215/ts_nm/us_berlusconi_trial

  540. Did you hear that Robocop fans raised enough money to have a statue of him erected in Detroit? From a fan POV I gotta say “Yaaaay!”, but as a rational, human being I have to say: “Really? Isn’t there anything important you should give money for?”

  541. CJ — it may seem trivial, but the folks in Detroit are trying really hard to find sources of pride in their city. The amazing thing about Detroit right now is that with all the money and power gone from the city, it’s a surprisingly empowering place to be. The few folks who remain find that they have opportunities to do things they would never have in another major American Metropolitan area. So, its actually a hotbed of artistic and alternative activity right now, and those folks want a statue of Robocop to make them feel civic pride. More than anything, I think they’re just enjoying the fact that they live someplace that gives them the power to erect a statue or build a build an offbeat kind of culture.

  542. So no one is going to go to the TOY STORY 3 board and gloat over me admitting that I was wrong? That happens like once a never!

  543. I’m actually pretty good friends with the cowriter of the original Robocop. I really should do an interview with him about his thoughts and feelings about the Robocop statue and what that means in reference to the film’s anti-consumer themes.

  544. Rolling Thunder available on spanish region 2 dvd. You guys might know all this already, but for those who don´t know; you can order this extremely bad-ass revengflick on starscafe.com. It´s a spanish website but the title DOES have the originallanguage-track. If you have a non-coded (is that right word?) or regionfree dvd-player you wanna check it out. If you haven´t, stop reading this and forget you saw the post.

  545. Hunter D. – You should.

    CJ – I have to side with my man Mr. S here on the Robocop statue issue. Plus, ROBOCOP is a good movie. Why wouldn’t a town try to associate itself with a good movie? Plus I’m certain the statue is some sort of statement or yearning to comment on the infamous Detroit Police Department or something.

    Now San Francisco, get cracking on a Dirty Harry statue.

  546. Vern – TMZ ran a recent piece on Clint Eastwood constructing that $20 million, 15,000 square foot mansion of his. I like their gall that a 80 year old is spending that much money and time on a house.

    Of course unlike us, they don’t know the secret: Clint is a vampire.

    (except thankfully, he don’t sparkle.)

    http://www.tmz.com/2011/02/17/clint-eastwood-house-carmel-80-years-old-20-million-tmz-on-tv/

  547. Hey, I never said I’m against a Robocop statue! Shit, if I could I would totally erect one from the size of the Statue Of Liberty, which has Robo teaming up with Snake Plissken, fighting against a Terminator skeleton, Darth Vader and a Giger Alien here in Oer-Erkenschwick.
    But while I’m not the biggest “heal the world” person on this planet, I just think it’s kinda weird, that there are cities and charitable organisations all over the world struggling for money, but people are able to raise an assload of it for something comparably silly (although undeniable cool) like a statue for the fictional hero of a franchise, that got worse and worse with every new entry.
    Like I said, from an awesomness factor, I totally love it. I just wish that people would sometimes give money to something that is not just cool from a popculture point of view.

  548. CJ – Oh you’re right absolutely. Its like imagine if the all the passion and energy the Internet exhibited over the Conan O’Brien/Jay Leno feud last year could have been used for something that actually mattered?

    ~In Egypt, they overthrow a dictator. In America, we erect a Robocop statue.

  549. To be fair, you don’t know that the people who donated money to the Robocop statue haven’t given money to something that is not just cool from a popculture point of view. For all you know, they already handed out their hard-earned cash to Oxfam, Cancer research, the salvation army, Haiti, the red cross, homeless people, WWF, WWE, Wesley Snipes’ tax fund, etc, and also the Robocop statue fund.

    They should make it statue of liberty-sized.

  550. They raised something like 50.000 bucks within a short amount of time (I heard less than a week, but I’m not sure about that) for something, that started as a joke on Twitter. I’m sure there are people who gave money for Unicef AND Robocop, but our local animal shelter gets less than 8.000 bucks a YEAR from donation. And they are not publicity whoring starfuckers like Peta, they are hard working men and women who do this voluntary and really believe in it, so they would really need the money. But unless they dress their kittens up as Robocop, they will never get that much money from anybody.
    I repeat, the thought of a Robocop statue is awesome and still makes me smile, whenever I think of it. And if I ever make it to the US, I would totally visit it and take a photo or two. I just wish people would be able to be that enthusiastic about other things, from time to time.

    Also I hope they invite at least Paul Verhoeven, Peter Weller and Rob Bottin to the unveiling.

  551. If the Robocop statue helps draw some tourism dollars to Detroit, it was well worth the $50k, especially as tax money wasn’t spent on it. I certainly hear what CJ is saying though, and it was definitely my first reaction to hearing about this. Last week I learned that back in 2007 Milwaukee erected a ‘Fonzie’ statue for $85k; I guess it was rather controversial at the time although I certainly heard nothing about it here in Chicago. Robocop is infinitely cooler than Fonzie, so Detroit wins. Also, I just learned that Chicago is building a ‘flyover’ bridge for our lakeside running trail to the cool tune of $40+ million, much of which will come from federal & state money. This is largely being done to ease lakefront congestion, ie allow the locals to jog the lakefront without encountering unsightly tourists. In light of this, a li’l ol’ statue for $50k seems like a trifle.

    Also, no offense intended but based on my few encounters with Detroit, perhaps they should skip the statue and build the real thing.

    But seriously, it’s good to read Mr. S’s cheerier account of where the city is at culturally right now. Detroit is known as a bit of a cautionary example right now for what can happen to a thriving metropolis when the local economy dies a messy death, but here’s hoping things turn around for them soon. Michigan folks is good people. Any news of Detroit that doesn’t involve white flight is good news in my opinion.

  552. I know a few people that live there and it seems to be quite a good place to be for people involved in the periphery of the film industry. There’s talk of a new film studio being built there and several big productions have been filmed there (Red Dawn remake for one) or are soon to be filmed there (Burton’s Wizard of oz film), so it’s not all bad.

    To be honest, the only work of “art” I remember when visiting was a giant tyre on the outskirts of Michigan, so ol’ robocop will be a welcome addition. In fact, they should build an Ed-209 and Emil Antonowsky (post toxic-waste collision) to accompany it.

  553. Throw in an Action Jackson statue and we’re in business.

  554. CJ: Clearly the solution to your problem is to DRESS THE KITTENS UP LIKE ROBOCOP. Duh.

    Actually, people only raised 25k for the statue. The other 25k was matched by a company called OCP (seriously), who makes fake products from movies into real novelty items. They make Brawndo, Sex Panther, and Tru Blood.

  555. In japan, they’ve got that giant Gundam statue in Tokyo. How big is the Robo statue going to be, cos I smell crossover potential.
    “The other 25k was matched by a company called OCP (seriously), who makes fake products from movies into real novelty items. They make Brawndo, Sex Panther, and Tru Blood.”
    There’s also a website (Last Exit To Nowhere) who do clothing with fictional company, organisations etc. logos on them. You can get t-shirts with logos for stuff that includes Nakatomi, Cyberdine, Skynet, Weyland Yutani, Han’s Karate Tournament from Enter the Dragon, Hill Valley High etc.

  556. Shootmckay – Rolling Thunder also out on R1 through MGM’s burn-on-demand program. You can use the Vern-link and get it at Amazon (or other places, probably.)

    Now where can I find a reclining chair?

  557. Among the things that makes me happy to be back in my home country is the prospect of wearing my 3D glasses this weekend to see DRIVE ANGRY.

    I hope it doesn’t suck.

  558. Mouth – Hey who stars in DRIVE ANGRY?

    *looks up IMDB*

    Oh. Well who’s directing it? Maybe it might be actually decent? I mean Nicky can be good when giving a shit for the right director

    *looks up IMDB*

    Oh fuck, its gonna suck. I’ll wait for DVD.

    ~Did anyone read that Variety article over the article where apparently it turned out the Nazis invented 3-D films? So they were the James Cameron of their time.

  559. Ohh.. Drive angry is in 3D. The we KNOW it´s gonna be good (sarcasm).

  560. The spanish region 2 dvd of ROLLING THUNDER is weird. It has two versions of it,whereby the spanish version is 5 minutes shorter.Why? I haven´t found out yet!

  561. ROLLING THUNDER ON spanih region 2 dvd is weird. It has two versions of it,whereby the spanish version is 5 minutes shorter.Why? I haven´t found out yet!

  562. Nazis invented 3D?? Well,they were a bunch of evil bastards to begin with,so I´m not surprised

  563. I thought we were all on board with DRIVE ANGRY 3D? Well, it could go either way, but here are the reasons I’m sincerely excited:

    1. Nicolas Cage said that he was looking forward to adapting his acting style to 3-D.

    2. It’s from the writer of JASON X.

    3. Director Patrick Lussier did MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, which although probly not great at home an enjoyable moviegoing experience and some of the best use of 3D in the modern revival. It will definitely be well shot, unlike many of the recent 3D pictures.

    4. It is about a guy who escapes from Hell and steals back his musclecar to chase after the satanic cult who killed his daughter and stole her baby and also he’s being chased by a serial killer.

    mainly #4

  564. Yeah, what he said.

    My sarcasm machine’s broken, and I don’t care for the trip to NegativeTown some of y’all are dragging me on. Give the movie a chance. I’ll be the sucker and spend my $10 this weekend, and I suspect Vern will do the same, and maybe we’ll love it and we won’t even tell you how good it is and then you’ll all feel real stupid when you watch it on DVD and it’s not in 3D and you don’t have anyone to hi-5 when the Mega happens.

  565. #5 William Fichtner looks like he had lots of fun, doing this movie!

    I could see it tomorrow, but unfortunately I’m out of money for this month. :P

  566. Vern – since you reviewed RED SCORPION back in the day in honor of Jack Abramoff, and in light of current global events…I dare you to review that movie Gaddafi* bankrolled (all $35 million) back in the early 80s in LION OF THE DESERT.

    *=I’ve found at least 13 different ways to spell his name so fuck it. And fuck him.

  567. I have never been able to understand how the guy who wrote “Jason X” (one of my favorite guilty pleasures) could also have written “My Bloody Valentine” (sitting pretty high on my “worst films I saw in the last decade” list). I’ve never, to the best of my knowledge, seen anything else by him, so I’m intrigued as to which way this one will go.

  568. And I could never understand how the guy who directed JASON X could have been the director of SKINWALKERS, one of my personal worst films ever!

  569. Right… that’s it… I’m checking out “Skinwalkers” as soon as I can.

  570. Have fun! (I wish this to you, because I know you won’t.) I’m a guy who is very careful with hyperbolic ratings (like 10/10 or a straight 0), because I save them for the movies that really deserve them. And on the website, for which I wrote DVD reviews a few years ago, it was maybe the only one that I gave 0 points.

  571. Hey, I’m the guy who saw redeeming features in “Against the Dark”, a film that even Vern said was pretty much unwatchable. And I know Vern is careful about his hyperbolic ratings (as am I – heck, I just gave “Marines 2” credit for cinematography and soundtrack, and I could barely make it through half of that movie.) Can “Skinwalkers” possibly be as bad as “Kill Switch”? Guess I’ll find out.

  572. Dude, I’m a guy who sees redeeming features in crappy movies too. Shit, I even gave NORBIT two points, because I liked how Eddie Murphy disappeared within all these characters and really made us care for Norbit and the situation he was stuck in, although not one single joke in the movie made me laugh and I agree that it might be one of Murphy’s worst!
    But SKINWALKERS is just inexcusable in my eyes. The best thing I can say about it, is that Elias Koteas does as always his best and that the look of the werewolves pay hommage to the classic WOLFMAN make up (with silly pop eyes, though). It’s also a nice oddity that the script was written by James Roday, before he became the star of PSYCH.
    I’m not trying to keep you away from watching it. I always thought that it’s important to conceive an opinion on your own, especially when everybody tells you that something is bad!* I’m just saying that it’s one of the very few movies, that even I would consider as “one of the worst ever”. And I’m not using this phrase lightly!

    *That reminds me that I rented HEAVEN’S GATE.

  573. Vern – Put down whether DTV or foreign actioneer you’re reviewing next and instead review starring Mr.-walking-argument-for-rehab himself, Charlie Sheen.

    Ever since that now-legendary batshit insane radio appearance the other day, thinking he was still a Hot Shot Young Gun in The Chase for booze and pussy, but instead came off as a Major League asshole.

    Sheen’s career has gone into Terminal Velocity, his Rookie-esque mistake got his TV show cancelled. I figured he was safe because of his loaded contract, since we all know Money Talks. No longer one of the Men At Work. Will it take a Platoon of Navy Seals to drag him into AA or is he Beyond the Law? His reputation has taken a Big Bounce.

    (I couldn’t come up with one for THE ARRIVAL. Any suggestions?)

  574. I actually almost rented BEYOND THE LAW the other day, but I don’t want to make fun of a dude for a drug problem. In my opinion the guy needs help.

  575. Y’all just can’t handle the laser-fisted balls-out awesomepalooza that is Charlie Sheen’s life.

  576. Apparently Sheen is also a winner. He seems to enjoy telling us that all the time.

  577. Well, winning is pretty awesome, you have to admit. It’s right up there with improvement.

  578. Some of my most cherished memories involve various victories, which is very similar to winning.

  579. Question/help:

    I found Dust Devil on vhs. I was planning on watching it, but then found the Director’s Cut on dvd.

    So, should I not partake of the vhs? I’ve heard conflicting reports on how it was butchered, ect.

    thanks!

  580. I think the director’s cut elevates it considerably, kind of snatching it from the jaws of (boring, portentous) camp and giving it some weight. But it’s been years since I’ve seen either.

  581. DRIVE ANGRY 3D:
    It is notable here that the first 30 seconds of the movie includes a brief dramatic voiceover spiel who says “badass motherfucker” twice. So that’s an auspicious start, in my opinion.

    The first 40 or so minutes are good, with touches of greatness (excellent 3D; good, well-filmed bloody action; literally electric sex; this Amber Heard chick I’d never heard of kicks a lot of ass and seems to be healthily obsessed with sex), then it loses momentum for about 40 minutes, then it’s pretty good again for about 5-10 minutes, then it just sort of ends in an unfortunately forgettable fashion.

    The first 20 minutes, I was prepared to say this could be a nice mix of the déclassé aspects of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, the fun of violence & nudity of MACHETE, and the symbolic depth of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, but with an added layer of literalness due to the whole hell imagery intro & having a protagonist named John Milton* and a guy not unlike Anton Chigurh who’s named The Accountant, which, because it is literal and visually displayed & sorta explained onscreen, is arguably the opposite of an added layer when it comes to allusion & symbolism, so really it would be an anti-layer, which is generally not considered good. Sorry Coen brothers, that was inappropriate of me to make this comparison.

    Also, William Fichtner has never been bad in anything. He always strives for excellence and usually achieves it. No exception here; he is fun to watch.

    Cage is adequate, but there is a most unfortunate lack of MEGA. A cockroach doesn’t go near his mouth, and even when he sexually harrasses a woman, he seems subdued. He even stays mostly stationary and stone-faced during the awesome sex-shootout scene. Very sad.

    Best line: “I never disrobe before a shootout.” (Cage, in coitus just before killing several baddies while remaining in coitus)
    or
    “Go forth and pour your anger upon him.” (The bad guy who successfully scared me by bringing to mind a supernaturalish version of Glenn Beck.)

    *As an esteemed holder of a B.A. in English, I can’t help but feel that the reference to the author of (most famously) PARADISE LOST should mean something, not to mention the bizarre shot of Nic Cage driving [angry] over a snake on the highway, but I couldn’t really put it together. Now that I think about it, the woman’s name, Piper, could have significance as well if I examine some of the great early works of Milton and even Edmund Spenser. There’s gotta be something going on there, but it eluded me. Maybe I’m rusty since I last analyzed 17th century literature allusions. I was too busy watching the shotgun carnage and wishing away the blonde chick’s clothes.

  582. Vern – We’re making fun of him not for his sober issues, we’re making fun of him because he’s an asshole. In essence, Sheen is Ellis.

    ~Look up those youtube videos where Sheen claims the government was behind 9/11, which rates up there on my batshit insane meter with the Birthers.

  583. Mouth – DRIVE ANGRY is on track this week to be the lowest-grossing wide released 3-D movie shown in over 1,500 theatres.

    ~ A Nic Cage movie bombing? No way!

  584. anthony — you wanna get the DVD because you want to watch WHITE DARKNESS and THE SECRET GLORY, Richard Stanley’s awesome documentaries on Haitian Voodoo and The Nazi quest for the Holy Grail. Incredible subjects and, I’d argue, better than the main feature. The director’ cut is also a significant improvement on the vhs one, for what it’s worth.

  585. Awesome, thanks guys.

    Hitler+Holy Grail=win.

  586. I thought DRIVE ANGRY would bomb, but I didn’t think it would do this badly. I thought Cage was one of those people like Tarvolta who could have many bombs but somehow their career would always survive, but like Eddie Murphy maybe his number is finally up

  587. With the difference that we most likely won’t see Cage doing crappy kids comedies. The worst thing that could happen to him, is that he becomes an independent film star again and this is imo far from being a bad thing.

  588. Nic Cage has the same problem Charles Bronson in the 1980s had: He’s basically watered down/pissed away his brand name (in actioneers at least) to zilch it seems.

    Or in the case of DRIVE ANGRY, its bombing because it looked terrible. Just suggesting.

    CJ Holden – I agree, but as crazy as this sounds: Would indie filmmakers still want him? Remember when people raised their eyebrows at Sean Penn casting Bronson in his movie?

    Skeptical because Bronson was seen by then as the B-action star of (mostly shitty) Cannon movies, not as a solid unique presence/charisma that Penn understood. But he was like the only one who really did.

    Its easy to forget that Cage can act (mega or not), and fuck man he won an Oscar. Deservedly so perhaps. But how many remember that and not say WICKER MAN remake or NEXT or BANGKOK DANGEROUS or KNOWING or SORCERER’S APPRENTICE or SEASON OF THE WITCH?

    ~Also CJ, I like your German Green Party demanding a boycott of Libyan-owned oil stations. Not that it’ll do anything, but the sentiment means well.

  589. Oh, I’m sure Indie filmmakers would love to work with Cage! Those, who just need a (semi-)huge name to sell their movie with AND the talented ones, who need good actors who are willing to take a risk.

  590. And about the German Green party: They are a bunch of shitheads and publicity whores, who hardly ever put any thought into what they do, so if they make a suggestion that somehow sounds reasonable, they either had a lucky day or will find a way to screw it up big time, as soon as they open their mouths the next time.

  591. CJ – RE: Greens – My bad.

  592. I liked NEXT. Even though I didn’t know it existed until one random day in spring 2009, a full 2 years after its release date, when I watched it at some random CF COP’s MWR on a lark when my team had to seek friendly shelter during an extended dust storm. Maybe I was starved for entertainment, and that’s why it seemed like a decent action movie?

  593. NEXT isn’t really bad, but it felt to me like it was written as a TV pilot, which is mostly evident in the cliffhanger ending and the random appereance of Peter Falk, as best friend who is only in one scene, but might play a bigger role in future episodes.

  594. Well, CJ, you could almost say the exact same thing about WINGS OF DESIRE, or DER HIMMEL ÜBER BERLIN.

    I’d headbutt you if you *did* say that about Wim Wenders’s masterpiece, but you could.

  595. CJ- The thing about Murphy is that he’s mostly made bad films, but until the last few years he’s always reliably managed to revive his career. Around the time of VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN (which I’d say is one of his better films BTW) and that David Spade “falling star” thing people thought he was finished. The next year he had one of the biggest hits of his career (NUTTY PROFESSOR). Then in the early part of the last deacade he was making mediocre grossers (I SPY, SHOWTIME) and THE BIGGEST FLOP OF ALL TIME! (PLUTO NASH) Surely this is it? Oops, here comes DADDY DAY CARE to suck up your kid’s pocket money! But I get the feeling he may be in irreversable decline this time. Oddly, I think the problem is the less the flops than his last major hit; NORBIT. A lot of people have seen it, a lot of people hate it and aren’t going out of their way for another Murphy film any time soon unless it looks like something really special. I think Cage is in the same situation; it used to be that for every flop or two there’d be a big hit, but he’s had three big strikes in a row. In truth THE SORCEROR’S APPRENTICE was the kind of flop that most people wont notice is a flop, and probably did his career little harm. But SEASON OF THE WITCH and DRIVE ANGRY would be flops by anyone’s standards let alone an A-Lister. The Cage backlash has been building and building since GHOST RIDER, I guess it’s no longer the backlash so much as the status quo. Indie films would be a great sollution… except, apparently for Tax Reasons he wont be able to do them!

  596. Pacman – Here’s a suggestion for Cage to hedge his bets, try to get paid and be credible somewhat again.

    Stalk Christopher Nolan.

    Think about it: Consider all the positive feedback from that reported Kevin Costner/Viggo Mortensen castings for his produced SUPERMAN movie. Viggo is respected and I guess somewhat a name to sell (if only in the arthouse), but Costner? Shit name his last “hit” not called OPEN RANGE. And that was what, 2003?

    If Cage somehow wormed his way into whatever Nolan is doing after Supes and Batman 3 (his resurrected Howard Hughes’ late in life picture?), or shit give Nicky man a small part in SUPERMAN. Consider his fandom of Supes, consider how he almost did that Superman Lives under Tim Burton in what would have been an epic train wreck.

    Just a suggestion. He could also stalk Wes Anderson, Duncan Jones, PTA, Darren Aronofsky, or shit reteam with the Coens. Just something.

    ~OK he don’t need to stalk. He could call late at night and just breath into the phone.

  597. I’m kinda drunk right now, so excuse me, but I just wanna chat politics with you guys because you’re all so cool and also because I just want to rant and get this off my chest

    basically fuck banks and fuck corporations, corporations are ruining our culture (and arguably our health) and banks are ruining our economy and yet we’re just sitting by and letting this happen, we’re allowing America to be ruined

    now I’m not a communist, but ya know what? maybe I am a socialist, whatever you want to call me, but I know one thing, I know we need a strong Government to keep all these corporations and banks in check instead of just letting them run wild, this Republican belief that if you leave banks and corporations to their own devices they’ll do the right thing is bullshit and just brain washing by the very same banks and corporations

    what we need is a president like FDR or Teddy Roosevelt, someone who will stand up to these pricks, I like Barack Obama as a person, but he is kind of a wiener, he needs to grow a pair of balls and tell these Republicans to fuck off and suck his big black dick

    anyway look at China, they have problems sure, but they also have a strong Government and look how well they’re doing while America is going down down down and people want less Government

    basically if I had to predict the future of America I think we’re gonna wind up like in the Neal Stephenson book Snow Crash (read it, it’s a great book)

    ok, rant over, what are you guy’s opinions?

  598. oh, and fuck the Federal reserve and IRS!

  599. I dunno Griff, I live in England which is pretty fucking socialist, and we got just as fucked by the banks as you guys. I think the thing that concerns me the most regarding the banking crisis, is that I can’t honestly say that I understand what the fuck happened – and I think that this is the case for most people. We’re all in the position of simply having to take these economists and bankers at their word because this shit requires a goddamn degree in economics to get your head around. The problem is of course that the guy’s telling us how to fix it are the same pricks that fucked everything up in the first place, and their solution seems to be to take my money and give it to the multinational corporations that they work for.

    This shit feels wrong on so many levels, but we have no choice but to trust these guys because we’re told our entire fucking civilisation will come crashing down if we don’t.

  600. Hey guys, I recently got to talk with Gore Verbinski and I asked him for his thoughts on “post-action.”

    http://collider.com/gore-interview-rango/78182/

  601. Does Sheen really have a problem?

    Yes, he’s a tortured soul and what not, but let’s be honest here, does it really matter? He likes his coke, he likes his drink, and he likes his women. So what?

    Ignoring his history of beating women — which I’m only glossing over because it seems as though the current media fervor doesn’t really care about such things — I don’t see anything wrong with his behavior. So he’s gonna die young, so what? Dude has a specific lifestyle he wants to live, and I sincerely believe that there are millions of American men who would rather die at 55 but be allowed to do unlimited amounts of coke with unlimited quantities of A-list porn stars while living in a mansion so opulent that he has en entire refrigerated room just for cigars than they would like to live to be 80.

    Hell, I think on some level the dude’s got it right. Cigarettes and processed foods are gonna kill me, and probably a lot of you. Sheen isn’t robbing people to get his drugs. Sheen isn’t sucking dick at a truck stop to get drugs. He’s a perfectly functional addict and if he wants to make those life choices, so be it.

    And don’t give me that, “think of his children” BS. I had horrible, neglectful, abusive parents who were basically never there for me. So did millions of other kids. 99.99% of us kids aren’t gonna get to inherent more money than we could ever spend on all the therapists in the world, so my sympathy for them is somewhat diminished.

    We have this cultural perception that the longest life is the best life. I don’t buy it. Would you rather be Kirk Douglas? I mean, does his life seem super awesome?

    Me? I wouldn’t want to live Charlie Sheen’s life. It’s not what would make me happy, but it sure seems to make him happy, and his interviews made me laugh hysterically, so I’m okay with it…you know, other than the beating women bit. But I think he would probably do that sober.

  602. Whoever bought a bike through my Amazon link – and also whoever bought a very expensive copy of Extreme Canvas – plus everybody else who bought anything… thank you. I really appreciate it.

    I was thinking about it and I came up with a really ridiculous idea for a more direct fundraiser, but trying to figure out exactly how to work it I keep running into problems with keeping my anonymity. I wonder if I should email Batman about this.

    Anyway thanks again.

  603. Vern, if Bansky can keep his identity secret I am sure you can do it.

  604. Hey, Vern. When are you going to review some more Clint Eastwood movies? I´d love to discuss those here. When it comes to Bad Ass Cinema, he is probably second to none. There are plenty of movies like THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT and THE GAUNTLET that should be dissected and discussed by all the wonderful people that keeps contributing to this site. Just a thought i had….

  605. Sorry Shoot, I go off in so many directions that I have a hard time sticking with one thing. But I seriously carry a list in my wallet of every Clint movie I don’t remember seeing, and I intend to review all of them eventually. I also have the 35 film Eastwood box set so that oughta help. I’m even gonna do Bridges of Madison County one of these days. Should’ve done that for Valentine’s Day I guess.

    Anyway bare with me, but you are absolutely right. I gotta do all of Clint’s and all of Bronson’s before I die.

    (that is not some hint that I have a terminal disease or anything. I just plan to see all those is what I’m saying.)

  606. Vern, next Clint movie you review should be Midnight In The Graden of Good And Evil

  607. hey Hunter D. – interesting interview, but come on, you should’ve cited Vern as the origin of the term “post-action” instead of “some people”, get Gore to actually visit this site, that’d be cool

    and on the subject of Rango, it looks pretty cool (kinda reminds me of the American Tail sequel) and I’d like to see it, but I’m too busy at the moment to go to the movies, I’ll definitely check out the blu ray though

  608. Mode7 – gotta say, you say England is comparatively socialist, but you are wrong on SO many levels. “New Labour”, supposedly the socialist party, kneecapped the welfare state, continued Thatcher’s policy of privatising anything that actually works until it doesn’t, overcrowded the prison system with people who shouldn’t be in prison, expanding the surveillance society to a point at which we’re looking like a genuine police state, and generally doing everything that the Republicans have been doing in America for the last twenty five years or so.

    Last election I said to my family that I would rather have the Tories win than Labour, despite the fact that I disagree with them on many, many issues, because I couldn’t imagine anything worse than another Labour term of power. I wasn’t kidding.

    On another subject: Vern, you’d see every BRONSON movie? You’d do that for us? You poor brave fool. Yeah, there are some good Bronson flicks out there, but the man has had more misses than the “Patriot” missile tests. You really want to put yourself through the likes of “Sea Wolf” or “Family of Cops”? (Trust me, don’t bother. I’ve seen them so you don’t have to.)

  609. In my dream last night, a bunch of stuff happened and then Halle Berry walked me home and then I gave Halle Berry an orgasm in the shower.

  610. It would have been very, very cumbersome to namedrop Vern in the already too long question. However, I DID give the site a shout out via a link on http://www.collider.com in a fairly prominent story. We get about 2 million individual IP hits a month, I think, so I figured it was a fair trade off.

  611. After drinking half a bottle of Jim Beam, it seemed like a good idea to watch BATMAN & ROBIN.
    It certainly reflects the ´60´s tv-show more than Burtons darker work. The dialogue is some of the worst i have ever heard, but beyond that it is a fucking blast!

  612. Yeah, BATMAN & ROBIN is seriously watchable, if you look at it as a big budget remake of the 60’s show.

  613. The mega-acting of Arnold and Uma makes me wanna kiss them.God bless them for having the balls of giving such performances.

  614. It pains me to think that the last great Bruce Willis movie was THE LAST BOYSCOUT and that was fucking made 20 years ago!! SIN CITY was a great movie, but it wasn´t a solo vehicle for Willis. Nowadays he only makes PG-13 bullshit. I don´t know if I want to see RED…………..fuck.

  615. PULP FICTION doesn’t count?

    And no, you probably don’t want to see RED. That movie has kid gloves on the whole time, and the script is never hesitant to insult the audience, especially those of us who are already keen on action cliches and hitman/spook-talk.

  616. Unbreakable, man. Don’t forget Unbreakable.

  617. I´ve become a bitter and angry person, since I never got to see “The real” Guns N´Roses live as a kid,but my sister did. I was around when they did their shit, but for some fuckin´reason I never saw them. i guess life is like that. you always regret shit you never did.

  618. PULP FICTION doesn´t count since it´s an ensamble vehicle. But UNBREAKABLE was pretty cool. Forgot aboutthat one. Strange,since I have the soundtrack and that kicks ass

  619. UNBREAKABLE actually made raincoats cool!

  620. Nowadays the equation reads like this: BRUCE WILLIS+PG-13 MOVIE=FUCKING BULLSHIT!

  621. Guys,seriously.Our genre is a dying breed, Willis has given up to the marketing department . We have Lundgren,Seagal and possibly Van Damme to save the precious old school bad ass cinema. Jason statham may be a savingg race, but some of you guys might not like his flicks. Who else can we count on?? I need to know!

  622. To be honest, I think we are at the gallows end…

  623. don’t worry Shoot McKay, if I ever succeed in my dream of becoming a filmmaker I promise to make a hard R rated action movie

  624. It’s Monday morning, 9:30am, I turn on the TV and see Christina Applegate, Salma Blair and Cameron Diaz sing an explicit song about giant penisses.
    Sometimes I love German TV.

  625. Ok, new topic. I just saw “Devil” by M Night Shyamalan, and liked it enough that I thought I’d write about it here.

    Here’s a brief plot synopsis: there are five people trapped in an elevator, while various other people are trying to get them out of it. Of the five people in the elevator, four are genuine “sinners”, and one is the Devil. Yes, I said the Devil. Whose hobbies apparently include:

    1) Periodically turning out the lights and, under cover of darkness, killing off its victims in various painful-looking ways for no apparent reason, and

    2) Announcing its presence to the obligatory wise ethnic minority guy by means of “glitches” in the security camera feed and various other weird unexplainable phenomena (“Omen”-style deadly sheets of glass, etc). All of which could also be explained by shoddy building work, but, y’know, what’s more likely here, a dodgy contractor or the freaking DEVIL?

    So if you’re into this kind of thing, and can get past the appallingly dumb premise, it’s a fun if frustrating movie (there’s no real logical basis for suspecting the Devil – whether you guess who it is basically depends on whether you’ve seen enough movies to anticipate the “twist” that Shyamalan uses to first mask and then reveal its identity. Unlike the “Scream” movies, the clues AREN’T there.) Otherwise it’s a fairly effective paranoia piece with a good score, decent enough acting, and a few effective scares.

    Bottom line is: I wouldn’t say this was a very good film, but the reviews have been fairly polarised and I think I know why. If you’re into this kind of thing and can accept the basis idea of it, it’s a fun enough ride. If you’re NOT into this kind of thing or can’t get beyond the ridiculous premise (and a lot of reviewers I’ve read have said that they can’t) then you will hate this film, so be warned.

  626. The schizophrenia of German TV: While it’s okay to show in the early morning sex themed comedies, with songs about penises that are so big, that they don’t fit in any hole, showing in the afternoon a giant robot attacking a military base isn’t.
    (Which means: THE SWEETEST THING ran in the unrated version [“unrated” in the US. It’s rated “12” over here], but TRANSFORMERS [which has also a “12” rating] is so heavily cut, that the giant robot in the beginning just walked away, without doing anything.)

  627. Vern, could you perchance put in one of those Amazon thingies for the UK Amazon as well?

  628. I’ve always thought the “de-assified” (“ha ha Schoemaker is teh gayz lol”) cut of BATMAN & ROBIN had completely the wrong idea. Trying to turn it into a serious Bat movie is futile. Cutting out all the Freeze brooding, Alfred dying stuff and O’Donnell grunge angst and you might reveal a fun little Westian adventure. For what it is I think the film works for about the first fifteen minutes or so.

    Also “the penis song” from THE SWEETEST THING shouldn’t be allowed on TV at any hour

  629. I agree about the penis song, but only because I can’t get it out of my head anymore.

    And what is the de-assified cut, you are talking about? Is it one of those fan edits? Fuck, I HATE them! I mean, some (many) of them are pretty well made, but the intention behind most of them is usually something stupid like “Oh no, I don’t want that every character gets a worthy good bye in RETURN OF THE KING, because it makes the Hobbits look gay and in Family Guy they said, it had a million endings, so I better fix that omglol.”

  630. I think Devil had one of the best opening credit scenes in recent memory. A very eerie take on West Side Story’s immortal opening, some clever editing tricks, and screenplay from the dude who did Hard Candy that is vastly superior to what any reasonable person could expect. Not a great movie by any means, but it’s a fuckin’ masterpiece compared to what it should be.

  631. Yeah, it’s one of the more infamous (and acclaimed) “fan edits”, and yeah I’m not into them either and think there’s often (not always) an unpleasant and disrespectful arrogance behind them (there are some notable exceptions like the famous THIEF AND THE COBBLER edit). But if someone simply has to make a B&R fan edit, I think what I suggested would work a lot better. You could even put the old theme music on top of some of the fight scenes!

    You know something that’s cool about the old BATMAN series? Rumour has it they were going to get Clint Eastwood to play Two-Face! Shame that didn’t happen. Also King Tut rules

  632. Hey, I just got a late call on this, but I’m gonna be doing 10 minute video interviews with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Greg Mottolla later this week for Paul. Do any of you guys have any burning questions for these guys? I’ve been instructed specifically to ask weird as shit questions. Seriously, if you’ve got a good one, I will ask it, on camera for you.

  633. “Simon, if you had to hollow out Nick and wear his carcass as a cloak to stay warm whilst stranded on an ice planet, would you prefer to have him stuffed afterward or use him as a bearskin rug? If the former, what position would you pose him in?”

  634. Damn, Mr. M stole my questions.

  635. After my little Willis rant last night I actually,after some brooding, found out I really liked 16 BLOCKS. I might be alone on this one, but I thought it was a classic Willis-flick. You know with the down and out cop that nobody believes going to get the job done.

  636. I like 16 BLOCKS as well. I even got dumped the night I saw it and I still like it. One of Bruce’s best hungover performances.

  637. 16 BLOCKS, is good stuff, and one of the better recent Bruce performances, but Mos Def’s voice does bug me in it.

  638. Just watched “The Adjustment Bureau”. Don’t think Vern’s reviewed it (yet, I assume) so here’s my two cents on it, and on the inevitable comparisons between it and “Inception”:

    If, like me, you thought “Inception” was easily one of the top three movies you saw last year, you’ll make comparisons between the two, and be disappointed. Because “The Adjustment Bureau” isn’t even close to being as good as “Inception”. The basic premise of the movie doesn’t seem to have been thought through a great deal, and without wishing to spoil, there are plot holes you could drive a horse and cart through. Inception was tightly-plotted, epic in scale and scope, and had great cinematography and a fantastic soundtrack. “The Adjustment Bureau” aims for all four, but fails.

    If, on the other hand, you didn’t like “Inception”, then you might like this one more, because a lot of the things people found objectionable about “Inception” aren’t here. At their heart, both movies are love stories, but whereas “Inception” is about a man who has to deal with the loss of a loved one, “Adjustment Bureau” is about two people who find love for the first time, and have very little time to appreciate it. By necessity of the plot, Damon and Blunt had a job to do to convince the audience that they could be that much into each other in such a short time. I think they pulled it off magnificently.

    So… as a convincing love story, “The Adjustment Bureau” works great, and it has great performances from the two central characters. As a thriller, it doesn’t really work at all, suffering from some head-scratching plot incongruities and some noticable pacing issues. I’d definitely recommend you guys see this one, but don’t go in with expectations set too high.

  639. so did you guys hear about Universal Studios putting the kibosh (for the time being at least) on Guillermo Del Toro’s HP Lovecraft movie?

    what the fuck happened to Universal? they used to be cool (just re-watched American Werewolf In London the other night), but they’ve really waned in the last ten years, the only Universal movie I enjoyed in the last couple of years was Scott Pilgrim

    I mean didn’t Steven Spielberg pretty much abandon them for Paramount after The Lost World: Jurassic Park? I guess I can see why

    and they’re so fucking slow with the blu rays, we had to wait fucking FOREVER for Back To The Future and here we are STILL waiting for Jaws and Jurassic Park, what the fuck gives?

  640. Scott Pilgrim? Really? Michael Bay makes movies that express the concept: “helicopter.” And Pilgrim expressed the concept “hipster.” These do not, on their own, a good movie make.

  641. I thought the concept of Scott Pilgrim was: “Take the story of a typical, quirky low key indie romcom and turn it into a surrealistic action movie”.

    Anyway, I wonder why Guillermo del Toro needed 150 Million Dollar for AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. I re-watched both HELLBOY movies last weekend. Both of them did cost less than half of that budget. To me it looks like he could make an expensive looking special effect and art direction heavy blockbuster on a lower budget.

  642. Universal just tried making a 150 million dollar budgeted period horror movie, it was called The Wolfman. It would be incredibly financially irresponsible to try it again only a year later and with an even more niche character with fewer ancillaries to spread out the cost.

    Heads would roll if they actually let this happen. Certainly Del Toro is a genius, but he does not produce 4 quadrant pictures, which is what you need to do if you want a studio to invest that much in you. We’re talking a bet of at least a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS here. It would have to be twice as successful as Interview with a Vampire, and is Tom Cruise’s stock today twice what it was in 1994? It would have to be as big as a Twilight movie, just to break even.

    150 million dollars is what they spent on the first Transformers movie.

    I frankly don’t see why Del Toro couldn’t do this for a fraction of the budget. Pan’s Labyrinth cost 14 million dollars to make, there is no reason this needs almost 1100% of that budget. The film is not happening because of hubris on the part of Del Toro. This should have been a 60-80 million dollar film, tops.

  643. Damn! I guess I have to add STRIKING DISTANCE as a Willis-movie made post-Boyscout, that I acyually enjoy! Maybe I should have given my Willis-Whining a correct treatment at least.
    It certainly, as far as I´m concerned the best “let´s put an actionhero toe to toe against a serial killer!”, that many actionheroes has made, Bronson made the awful 10 TO MIDNIGHT, Norris made one as well and Seagal (as we all know) has not only made one, but two. There might be more of those, I don´t know.

    If not else, STRIKING DISTANCE has one helluva cast.

  644. I’m sure Del Toro would make an amzing mind-blowing film for 150 millions. He’d probably make an even more mind-blowing one for 500 million. On the other hand, with a little elbow grease I think he could make an absolutely perfect Lovecraft film for 20 million. In my experience, directors forced to work with less get more mileage out of the things they do have. 150 million encourages complacency. It buys you whatever you want. 20 million means you really have to be imaginative and consider ideas, and I think that actually encourages creativity and smart filmmaking way more than just handing a blank check to an artist, even a really fantastic artist like Del Toro.

    I’m not usually one to hate on the Prequels, but can you imagine in Lucas had to actually stop and think about what he was going to put in there, and decide what was important and worth spending money on? It would have made it necessary to write a tight, focused script which made the most out of the setpieces it could create. It would mean that they could focus on really fine-tuning the sets, design, and presentation of the stuff they had, and likely would have given it much greater impact.

    So I really think the best thing you can do for a creative person is to force them to consider what they really need, and a great way to do that is by limiting their resources just a tad. I’d wager I’d like a 50 mil Lovecraft film MORE than a 150 mil Lovecraft film. Keep the focus on the atmosphere, not the CG.

  645. Guillermo Del Toro should be given ten billion dollars (BILLION) and asked to make movies of every Lovecraft story. There is no better match between director and source material that could possibly occur. This amount sounds large but it is less than the government spends on one supersonic bomber. I believe if we start a petition we can make this happen.

    If Mr. Toro chooses to blow the entire ten billion on one film I would not complain.

  646. But Subtlety, what if he was planning on making the $500 million version for $150 million?

  647. I echo the love for “Striking Distance”.

    No comments on my “Adjustment Bureau” comments? I thought that’d been out in America for ages.

  648. hahaha, great comment Vern

  649. How could you even make a 500 million dollar creature feature…unless they actually bio-engineered creatures. Were they gonna do that? Because I wanna go on record and say, while I love Del Toro, I feel that playing G-d and actually creating the monsterous beasts that the story is about is perhaps a step too far, ethically speaking.

  650. hey Hunter, that reminds me of Watchmen

  651. So, secret admission time; I am attracted to almost every single Lesbian Who Looks Like Justin Bieber.
    http://lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.tumblr.com

    It’s a confusing site though, because mixed in there are actual photos of the Biebs, and sometimes I can’t tell it’s him immediately, and I think, “Oh, she’s super cute” and then I’m forced to question my sexuality. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not attracted to Bieber, I’m just attracted to the parts of him that look like ladies who don’t like boys.

    In any case, it’s a pretty funny site.

  652. Stallone doesn’t want to direct EXPENDABLES 2 and is now looking for a good director. I think we should start sending him DVDs of Isaac Florentine’s films.

  653. Hunter D: “This was blocked in your country because of copyright grounds.”

    NOOOOOOOOOOO! WHY, GOD, WHY??!!!!!

  654. I know some people seem disappointed by this Stallone thing, but he did such a poor job directing THE EXPENDABLES that maybe it’s a good idea. The Dolph/Jet Li fight may have been the worst piece of directing I saw all last year. It was so rapidly edited and incoherently shot that I couldn’t even tell half the time if the actors were even together in the same shot, or if they were just fighting each others’ student doubles.

    Which was surprising, since I thought Stallone did a decent job with both RAMBO and ROCKY BALBOA.

  655. Damn! When am I going to learn to think before talking? Now I remember another Post-BOYSCOUT Willis flick I liked; LAST MAN STANDING by Walter HIll, no masterpiece and not as good as FISTFUL OF DOLLARS or YOJIMBO. But amazingly looking and some cool shootouts and a great cast. ´nuff Willis-Whining from me for a while. Well, until I see RED,anyway. Have no great hopes on that one.But, who knows. Wait..is it PG-13? If it is that means I can only say the f-word once. Here goes; FUUUUUUUCCK!

  656. Paul: Personally I don´t think God is to be blamed on that one. It´something more grounded in reality,but a lot more annoying: Copyright laws. Which brings me to the next question; if you post a torrent of the bible on piratebay, can you get sued for copyright infringement? I mean,what´s gonna happen? Who owns the right, besides God? Is this a stupid question. cause I certainly thinks so!

  657. Vern — I am humbled by your genius, sir. I hope every director reads that post and dreams big.

  658. Dan: I know it’s probably a typo, but I like the idea of Jet and Dolph having student doubles. They get some interns to come in from the local university to get kicked in the head for college credit. I guess it’s easier than taking geology.

  659. It’s like a summer internship thing. You have to take Intro to Badassery 101 as a co-requisite.

  660. What if there really was a Bad Ass University, developing new talent for our beloved genre. Then we wouldn´t be in the shit,would we? Or am I just bringing negativity to the table? If i am, I´ll shape up and only bring good shit…

  661. About Expendables 2: somebody else said Jon Hyams, and I think he’d be the best choice. His action is clear and thrilling but also has the “real” quality that Stallone was going for in the first one. He just knows how to do it well. He also got great performances out of Dolph and JCVD and knew how to make their age an advantage. And he has extensive knowledge and experience with MMA fighters from both SMASHING MACHINE and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, which could help with showcasing Randy Couture and any new MMA guy that might be added.

    And honestly I think if you’re pushing for Hyams or Florentine or anybody you should post it on the Ain’t It Cool talkbacks and “twitter” it to Stallone. In any other case that would be silly but I honestly believe that he cast the first one based mainly on talkbacks. Almost everybody that was mentioned on there ended up in the movie or turning down the movie, and 50 Cent mysteriously disappeared from the cast after about one day of newsie outrage.

    I hope it will still have some of that Stallone passion and personality, and not shy away from craziness like the Mickey Rourke monologue. But I think different writers and director could potentially fix the problems that part 1 had with story and action. I just hope Statham doesn’t bring in Simon West or Nevildine/Taylor.

  662. Done and done. I haven’t posted on AICN in years, but for a cause this worthy, I had no choice but to come out of retirement like Rambo putting down the sticks to save Trautman.

  663. Badassery cannot be learned in the classroom, it must be learned on the street. Unless there was some kind of work study program or something.

  664. Ebert on BATTLE: Los Angeles. Great description of ‘post-action”without actually using the term. Featuring Roger’s trademark wit.

    “There is a lazy editing style in action movies these days that assumes nothing need make any sense visually. In a good movie, we understand where the heroes are, and where their opponents are, and why, and when they fire on each other, we understand the geometry. In a mess like this, the frame is filled with flashes and explosions and shots so brief that nothing makes sense. From time to time, there’ll be a closeup of Aaron Eckhart screaming something, for example, and on either side of that shot, there will be unrelated shots of incomprehensible action.

    When I think of the elegant construction of something like “Gunfight at the OK Corral,” I want to rend the hair from my head and weep bitter tears of despair. Generations of filmmakers devoted their lives to perfecting techniques that a director like Jonathan Liebesman is either ignorant of, or indifferent to. Yet he is given millions of dollars to produce this assault on the attention span of a generation.

    Young men: If you attend this crap with friends who admire it, tactfully inform them they are idiots. Young women: If your date likes this movie, tell him you’ve been thinking it over, and you think you should consider spending some time apart.
    .

  665. Subtlety – I love it. Don’t always agree with Ebert, but the man knows how to write a review that would make a film-maker’s testicles withdraw into his oesophagus.

  666. Damn. I was actually interested in this a bit from reading a piece on it in a magazine and the director saying he was trying to do more of a war movie with aliens in it, than an alien movie with marines, and he was citing stuff like Black Hawk Down as an influence (as well as Aliens), but it seems he may have overdid that style.

  667. Stu – Considering how “post-action” BHD is, thats an ominous article.

    Mr. Subtlety – I’m surprised you didn’t also bring up Ebert’s recent thumbs up review for IP MAN 2:

    “”Ip Man 2″ is a reminder of the pleasure of classic martial-arts films in which skilled athletes performed many of their own stunts. In its direct and sincere approach, it’s a rebuke to the frenzied editing that reduces so many recent action movies into incomprehensible confusion. I’m not saying deceiving camera angles and crafty stunt work aren’t involved in the fight scenes here, but basically we see fighters in real time and space. That enormously increases the impact.”

    God. Damn. Right.

    It’s official: Ebert is on the Vern band wagon.

  668. Virgin Gary – check in when you get a chance. We hope you’re safe over there.

  669. hey vern, wow, thanks man, i’m touched! yeah, i’m fine. it was pretty intense, but there wasn’t too much damage down here in tokyo. i mean, it was scary and lasted forEVER, but nothing worse than broken dishes in my apartment (that i can tell so far). i used to live up in the northeast of japan, in the very part that got hit the hardest by the tsunamis. just hope my friends up there are ok. phones and text messaging are completely down (as are all trains), so can’t really confirm.

    it’s all very crazy here right now, but so far i and everyone i know seem to be alright. totally pales in comparison to what happened in christchurch last month, though i suppose we won’t really know the extent of the damage or the casualties until probably tomorrow or later.

    i came to this site after several hours on facebook, the only way to get in touch with people currently, to take a break from the craziness… and here i am still talking about it, haha!

    was supposed to go see THE KING’S SPEECH tonight (it just came out here) on a first date with a cute girl, but whatever pagan god they pray to over here derailed those plans! oh well, i am sure she’ll take a raincheck.

    (that was a joke about the pagan gods, btw)

    i feel like there was one other (semi?) regular poster on here in japan…

  670. Shit man, I was thinking all morning if I know someone from Japan. Glad you are save. I don’t have ANY earthquake experience. The last one we had was in 1989 and I was sleeping while it happened, so even the harmless footage I see on the news looks scary for me. Not to mention that endless loop of that giant flood wave. (Which makes me wonder [again] while films like 2012 are considered harmless entertainment, while something absurd like SAW should be banned. Disaster movies are so much closer to reality!)
    Anyway, like I said, I’m glad you are save, man.

  671. And Gary approached the girl, and she said yes, I will go out with you. And so Gary felt a great excitement, knowing that he would use the god-bestowed power of Best Picture Oscar to humor her, and he was sure it would come to pass that she would share a bed with him. And God was not pleased that he would use Oscar for personal pleasure, and the pagan gods sensed Gary disrespected them, and so a great quake was sent forth upon the homeland of Gary, and so he postponed his time with the cute girl, and it was fated that he would never go out with her. And thus Gary, V-card intact, became forever marked as Virgin Gary.

  672. man, I just heard about that earhquake in Japan, my day is ruined

    and it’s my mother’s birthday today, go figure

  673. Apparently one of the Family Guy writers twittered: “next time you feel bad about the earthquake in Japan, google the Pearl Harbor body count.

    Classy, eh?

    I haven’t had much chance to read up on tye Earthquake due to personal matters, but I wish anyone here who might be affected all the best. It’s been a dream of mine to visit Japan for a long time.

    And sorry to bring this up now, but potpourri should get a remake soon, vern. It’s quite long to scroll through :P

  674. Hey Philip Dick fans, the trailer to that film version of RADI FREE ALBEMUTH we’ve all been scratching our heads in bemused puzzlement about it now online. I sort of like the low-key small-scale vibe of the trailer but dear God, Alanis Morisette? Have a hard time believing I’m going to be able to get past that one, but I guess I’ll try just to honor the audacity of attempting to adapt such dense and noncinematic source material faithfully.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q6vAkwIpcg

  675. I don’t know, but judging from the trailer, Alanis seems to be the best actor in that movie.

    But while we are at headscratching trailers, what about that low point in Harvey Keitel’s career?
    http://youtu.be/TVVgHq3vVIQ

  676. Yeah because so many people in modern day Japan had fuck-all to do with Pearl Harbor. Could have been an attempt at humor. Hard to tell sometimes with the Family Guy idiots.

  677. just a quick update from japan, mainly because i feel a bit bad about my previous post maybe having a bit of a cavalier tone. when i wrote it it was just a few hours after the earthquake hit and before i realized the full extent of what was going on with the tsunamis in the north. it is undoubtedly a disaster on a major scale. the official body count now is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000, but it is only gonna get higher. i’ve unofficially heard that it might be as high as 10,000. un-fucking-imaginable. as i mentioned, i used to live up in the north. thankfully (if that’s not weird to say), i lived in a town far inland, so it was unaffected by the tsunamis, and all my friends up there are safe and sound. but i watched footage of towns on the coast that i used to hang out in being totally swept away. they don’t exist anymore.

    here in tokyo everything is okay still. we’ve had a bit of a nuclear scare, as i’m sure most of you have seen on the news, but so far everything SEEMS to be under control.

    now, i feel cautiously optimistic.

    and i definitely want to reschedule that date to go see THE KING’S FUCKING SPEECH. is it wrong of me to want to exploit not only the oscars but also the post-earthquake sense of vulnerability to get laid? is that so damn wrong?

  678. Andy C:

    I’m sure he’ll say it was just a joke and then reuse it in a FG episode.

  679. I don’t like Family Guy. And I don’t like it a little bit more after reading that.

  680. Family Guy sucks, every time I watch it I am left scratching my head wondering why it is so popular. I guess maybe it is because they aim for the lowest common denominator.

  681. I’m not sure how many people bought the outstanding Nate Dogg MUSIC & ME album 10 years ago like I did, but I bet I’m not the only one here who has a ridiculous number of “featuring Nate Dogg” tracks in his music collection. No lie, he was my favorite hip hop vocalist by far.

    I love THA EASTSIDAZ and all the stuff he did with his 213 crew. I love that track he did with Guerrilla Black; the first note he sings on that one, “From coast to coast. . .,” is so damn low & smooth & hard-hitting. I love that track “I’m Fly,” which I listened to way too much not too many years ago. For some funny Nate Dogg and a good Dr. Dre verse, I recommend “Your Wife.”

    So let’s all pour out a little liquor and agree that “Regulate” is one of the coolest songs ever. RIP Nate Dogg.

  682. No. Family Guy aims to lower the common denominator.

  683. Mouth: I’m a big fan of his solo track “Nobody Does It Better.” He’s like the gangsta Tony Bennett on that song.

  684. I like his song about how he pledges allegiance to all his homies who ain’t never loved a ho and never would. It’s sad, he was definitely unique and contributed to many great songs.

    Was HEAD OF STATE the movie where he was the narrator?

  685. Anybody read about this RED DAWN remake business? They shot the movie a while back but couldn’t get it released because of MGM’s financial problems. Now they’re searching for a new distributor and have had trouble finding a corporation that’s okay with its “China invades the US” plot, since there are plenty of legal, possibly even ethical-ish ways to do business with China, and they don’t want to burn any bridges. To get around this problem, the producers have digitally changed the flags in the movie to North Korea and changed some of the dialogue so that the armies of Chinese guys will seem Korean. There is no way this could possibly hurt the movie and since the internet is censored in China I’m sure they’ll never find out about it to be offended. In fact they’ll be impressed that it provided jobs for so many Chinese actors.

    After that story was reported the other day they’ve of course become a laughing stock, but my buddies at The Ain’t It Cool News got an exclusive email from one of the producers defending their actions. I figured it would be an intelligently written explanation that would give us more context to make us understand why it’s a good idea and not as ridiculous and blatantly racist as it seems on the surface.

    Instead it was this:

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/48899

    I didn’t want to do a whole post about this but please check out this guy’s email, it’s hilarious.

    (SPOILER: his explanation is that if you don’t like the movie you are a sissy who hates America and meat)

  686. While reading his e-mail, I imagined him* standing in front of a giant American flag, while the TEAM AMERICA song plays in the background.

    *in my imagination he looks like Duke Nukem.

  687. Personally I want to see a movie where evil oil-seeking capitalist Americans invade the communist state of Great Britain, and the Americans are the bad guys.

    Plus I’m a total sissy. But I don’t hate meat. So I guess I’ll like one third of this movie then?

  688. **”If you like meat with your potatoes, muscle cars that roar, tanks, guns and things blowing the fuck up by American’s [sic] kicking some Commie ass – then we have something special coming your way.
    WOLVERINES!”**

    I don’t like potatoes. I hate muscle cars, roaring cars, tanks, guns, and things blowing the fuck up (even though this is my expertise as my primary occupational specialty). In movies, I guess I enjoy these things.

    I’ve never encountered a Commie, though I’ve written reports & game planned the hell out of a prospective northward sweep operation from the DMZ to Big Red.

    And I always pull for the Wisconsin Badgers over the Michigan Wolverines.

    Since I have principles, I’ll take the high ground on this Vinson guy and just illegally sneak into this movie for free when the time comes.

  689. “Personally I want to see a movie where evil oil-seeking capitalist Americans invade the communist state of Great Britain, and the Americans are the bad guys.”
    YES. And the “Wolverines” in this case are a coalition of english, scottish, welsh and irish football (or as you guys call it “soccer”) fans, who disguise themselves in bowler hats and suits to conform to the american soldiers’ stereotyped views, and the Powers Boothe character would be Buckingham Palace Guard, who we learn is a Royal Marine, RAF Pilot, Royal Navy Officer AND SAS operative all in one, because that’s how badass you have to be to stand still for so long in front of a tourist attraction.
    Speaking of Wolverines:
    http://www.sfx.co.uk/2011/03/18/darren-aronofsky-not-directing-the-wolverine/
    Dammit.

  690. Fuck liberal Hollywood! Yes I DO want meat with my potatoes, I hate vegetables and sissies. And i DO want hilarious xenophobia/paranoia mixed with my ridiculous action-movies! (INVASION USA, MISSING IN ACTION). Fuck P-C bullshit! This is what i´m talking about. I don´t care who the villains are, as long as it´s offensive to people who are currently undergoing sensitivity training!
    And since this guy seem to like the old school action-movies made during the Reagan years… I´m gonna give him some slack and give this flick a watch, if and when it is released.

    (Disclaimer: I do not acknowledge INVASION USA nor the MISSING IN ACTION-flicks as good movies! But they are damn funny!)

  691. I think it´s funny how it´s ok to classify North koreans as evil assholes, while you can´t do the same to the Chinese ( also a very non-democratic country) because of money. God bless capitalism..

  692. **”God bless capitalism.”**

    There are so many perversely amazing things in & about that statement that it achieves a self-contained, self-evident transcendence. Nicely done, Shoot.

    That reminds me of a poem verse featured in an article I read a few hours ago:

    I went outside to see
    if God’s voice
    was disturbing anybody

    -Manav Sachdeva Maasoon

    NK is easier to target, literally in the military aspect & banteringly among those who follow current events or have seen TEAM AMERICA, because China lacks any clear, Kim Jong-il-esque focal point for our ridicule & hatred. Also, yeah, the US owes China a gajillion dollars.

  693. Why the hell would anyone invade the USA? To take your economical problems of your hands? North Korea’ so poor that they can barely feed their own people. This movie sounds so stupid it will probably never get a cinema release.

  694. I like how he’s desperately appealing to the fanboy scene by bragging how UNAPOLOGETIC, BADASS, FUCK-YEAH his movie will be, when there’s no doubt it’ll be PG-13 like the first one. (I bet it’ll be even softer, actually, because I saw the first Red Dawn as a kid and I’m still traumatized by some scenes.)

    Oh, and not to offend anyone, but why do we even need a remake of an outdated plot like “the U.S. gets invaded!”, when we’re kinda the only ones doing much invading these days?

  695. If movies like REDDAWN, INVASION U.S.A and MISSING IN ACTION are the movie equivalent of red meat ( it´s bad for you,both your heart and soul, but you can´t stop enjoying it), then movies like RED and KNIGHT AND DAY are vegetables ( tasteless,bland and inoffensive).

    WILLIS WHINING ALERT!!

    I just watched RED, despite being warned about it. i guess I´ve seen worse. But my god! the comedy is terrible and inoffensive, the action bland and mediocre. The whole cast is a wasted opportunity.
    I felt like the movie was saying to me:
    “You don´t really want to have all that gratuitous violence, profane swearing and racially offensive sterotypes? It´s bad for you…..here´s some bland, inoffensive jokes, that noone will get offended by. Why can´t we just all be friends?”

    Fuck that! I felt like I just digested an entire plate of my least favourite vegetables; peas!…PEAS! Seriously who likes to eat peas?! These puke-green,rabbit-turdlooking motherfuckers that sits next to the wonderful potatoes and are spoiling the gravy with just being there!! No matter how hard you try, you always end up swallowing one of those little bastards.´

    PG-13 movies are for hippies and carrot-eaters.

    End of rant

    To end all this foodallegory I just like to quote my favourite r-rated. completely racially offensive action/comedy LETHAL WEAPON 4:
    “Flied lice? It´s FRIED RICE, you plick!” Show THAT movie on your Sensitivity training Courses!

  696. The only things I’m certain of are that no invading force in the eastern US would ever even make it past Fort Bragg, a well-equipped & well-manned installation that could probably become its own superpower if we chose to impose ourselves as such, and that lima beans are the #1 devil vegetable.

  697. It seems to me a single gunman did pretty well in Fort Hood, another well-equipped & well-manned US military installation.

  698. Shoot, you should quote the racially offensive, “hilarious”, food-related dialogue of Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs. while you’re at it.

  699. I certainly don´t condone racist behaviour in any kind or form. I just think it´s better to make fun of and pinpoint racial sterotypes, than to ignore them. And some movies just tickle my bones in that respect. Does that make me a racist for thinking the “flied lice,you plick”-scene in LW4 is kind of funny? I don´t think so, since racism is based on fear and hatred. The only thing i fear and hate are beans in gravy and PG-13 Bruce Willis-movies. I just want to set the record straight, in case some of you wonder.

  700. I love peas and LETHAL WEAPON 4.

  701. Shoot – nah, i can tell from your other posts you’re a cool dude. But I just wanted to point out the double standard that making fun of Asians is still “funny” to most people, but they wouldn’t dare tell a similar joke about black people. There’s really no difference between saying “flied lice” and “let me AXE you something” other than saying one means you’re just having fun, quit being so PC, get over yourself, etc….and saying the other makes you a racist. (Think of Don Imus getting fired over the “Nappy Headed Hos” comment, yet when Rush Limbaugh did his blatantly racist “Ching Chong Chang” bullshit on the air, it got people quasi-stirred up for about 1 day and was quickly forgotten.)

    Gotta agree with you though, that Red was possibly the laziest movie of Willis’ career. (maybe after The Whole Ten Yards) It’s mediocrity personified. I do, however, like beans in gravy and The Sixth Sense/The Fifth Element.

  702. Guys is it true “Odyssey Dawn” is also the same name of a Jean Claude Van Damme DTV actioneer?

    I wonder if the Pentagon are fans of the Muscles from Brussels?

  703. RED at least made me happy to learn Ernest Borgnine was still alive. That was a pleasant surprise.

  704. Test. Can I post again? I think Iposted yesterday so much and so quick that WordPress took me for a spambot.

  705. Ipost? Is that another evil Apple abomination…?

  706. Shoot McKay – I feel you man. I’ve had “issues” with both mediocre movies and with peas.

    I’m starting to feel as though my expectations of movies are set too high, at least intelligence-wise. But then I remember some of the stuff I’ve seen over the past couple of years… “The Adjustment Bureau” is probably the most intelligent movie I’ve seen these past few months, and even that feels a bit like “Inception” for dumb people. (Although having said that, I’d still recommend seeing it just for the love story – Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are excellent in this movie. Just don’t expect the “thriller” bits to be anything other than frustrating.)

    You know what really sucks though? They didn’t allow critics to view that Nic Cage movie, “Drive Angry”. And so it was off my radar when it came out. Then all of a sudden it started getting recommendations from everywhere, including people I trust (one friend described it as “the film Machete should have been”). So I went to look for it AND THE GODDAMN CINEMAS AREN’T EVEN SHOWING IT ANY MORE. What the FUCK?

  707. I have major issues with peas. My middles school made us have school dinners, and you know what they sometimes served? Cold mashed potatoes with cold peas shoved inside! I shit you not! Put me off both foods for life!

    Also I liked THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (I nearly typed THE ALUSTMENT BUREAU, which would be a good name for the porn spoof)

  708. Good catch, Brendan. MZ Seitz is a decent writer with an admirable devotion to some of the same stuff most of us here like. A lot of his older pieces, video essays, & NY Times mini-reviews were hit & miss, in my opinion, but in recent years he’s become a better critic, expanding his purview while maintaining a sharp eye for detail & important artistic flourishes.

    This is a good paragraph from that link:
    **I’ve decried the shaky, shallow-focus, cut-cut-cut, all-exclamation-points style of Michael Bay (“Transformers”), but I’ll say this for him: He can frame a shot. He understands depth, balance and the concept of blocking physical action in a way that is dynamic and attractive to look at. You cannot say the same for “Battle: Los Angeles,” which looks as if the cinematographer strapped cameras to the heads of a dozen baboons and fired a pistol in the air when the director called “action.”**

  709. PacmanFever- Finally someone who shares my pea-issues! Fuck peas! Disgusting little fuckers!

  710. ..and Paul as well.peas should be eradicated of this planet.Can´t we sentence them like Marlon Brando sentenced general Zod into a fucking Phantom Zone??

  711. I don’t know what you guys are talking about. Peas are awesome. Peas are my favorite vegetable. Peas make everything better. I will throw one of them little silver cans of young sweet baby peas into just about anything, except maybe cereal. But don’t tempt me.

  712. And yes, the only thing good about RED was Ernest Borgnine! How fucking old is that guy?? he looks terrific! God bless him! A true legend!

  713. I don’t really like vegetables. More a fruit man. I tried eating a subway sandwich with lettuce recently and…it’s not for me. Lettuce shouldn’t have an after taste. It’s fucking lettuce!

  714. If I was the council on Krypton and peas were on trial. i would undeniable be saying: GUILTY!GUILTY!GUITY!GUILTY!GUILTY!GUILTY!GUILTY!GUILTY!GUILTY!GUILTY!

  715. …i still like peas…

  716. CJ-don´t take it personally.it´s just one of my many character flaws .I just naturally hate those fucking things!

  717. I´m gonna change issue here.i don´t think Michael Bay is to be blamed for ” ruining action-cinema”. You know who is the real culprit? Lars Von Trier and his fucking dogma-style! Fuck you,you fucking pretentious danish prick. As a swede,i have to admit that danes make better movies than us.But von Trier is a cocksucker of a prick. His whole , shitty lit,shaky cam has become the holy grail for directors. Please correct me if I am wrong.But I for one is not goin to blame bay for this.But my fucking neigbours!

  718. Shoot,

    Um, I don’t, my friend. I somehow doubt that Stallone busted out his personal copy of BREAKING THE WAVES for reference when making THE EXPENDABLES.

  719. Generally speaking I DO think that Von Triers douchebag approach has affected cinema industry seriously.Look at Paul ” WherethehellamI” Greengrass style at shooting the Bourne – series. The whole shaky cam, for all I know, didn´t exist before dogma-style hit directors. All of a sudden this was the new way to shoot films. A more “realistic” (my ass) approach to convey to the audience a more realistic sense of the action on-screen.

  720. It has to do with the overall impact of one “groundbreaking” idea of filmmaking, rather than one film in particular.

  721. Fucking Dogma has ruined modern day action-films!

  722. Actually, shaky cam has been around a lot longer than Dogma. Here’s a David Bordwell post about Bourne where he mentions some of the earlier uses of the technique: http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=1175

    Still, I like that you are blaming Von Trier for ruining modern action movies. I think it is just as off-base as blaming Michael Bay, but at least you get points for originality.

  723. Shaky-cam has been around forever. If you look at most action-movies you DO get the sense of Dogma-style in one way or another ( at least that´s how I see it). Von Triers idea of filmmaking was that taking away what was fake ( just like grunge was making with arena rock) and bringing it more real (arena rock = Hollywood movies) with having no artificiallights or steady camera. By doing that you add a sense of reality.

    Once in a while you get someone who change the perception of how cinema should be shot and I REALLY do think that LVT is (unfortualtely) one of those that have shaped the cinematic design of cinema. I may be wrong, but damn I´d like to start a discussion on this!!

  724. Shaky-cam didn’t kill the action film, slow-mo did. Shaky-cam was just a gross over-reaction to another problem that was just as bad, albeit not quite as pervasive.

  725. Let’s get a few things straight over here:

    1. Making jokes about spoonerisms can be damn funny in the right context. It’s all about intonation. If you walk up to a black guy in a bar and snidely say, “Lemme axe you a question, brudda,” well, thems fighting words. However, I’ve seen countless comics of all stripes and ethnicities do impressions of specific people, usually black, who do, in fact, speak like this. I mean, is it even possible to do a bit about Mike Tyson without throwing an “axe” or two? It’s a bit like calling someone a “Jew.” It’s tonal…like Cantonese.

    2. Don Imus was not fired for calling a black basketball team “nappy headed hoes.” He was fired because his contract was going to be up in a year or two, he wasn’t pulling in the ratings he once had, and the company saw it as an easy way to cut their losses. It would cost too much to fire him for ratings and they could replace him with someone cheaper and turn a higher profit. Meanwhile, Imus was able to parlay the notoriety of his sudden “outrageousness” (which wasn’t actually that outrageous by any logical barometer), into a profitable deal with satellite radio, who in turn had something to gain by hiring pretty much ANY dj whom they could spin as being “too hot for the public airwaves.” Even if he didn’t pull great ratings on satellite, the media exposure for the burgeoning business model at a time when there were still two major competing formats was well worth the investment.

    Same with Dr. Laura. Same with Olbermann. This shit happens fairly regularly. It’s called “media spin.”

  726. I love the idea that someone could make an argument that Lars Von Trier ruined mainstream Hollywood entertainment…and actually make me consider if they’re right, only to have someone else counter the argument with a citation from David Fuckin Bordwell. Yet another case of “Only on Outlawvern…”

    Though, actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Dogme 95 was an influence on Spielberg making Saving Private Ryan, Ridely Scott making Black Hawk Down, or Greengrass making the Bourne films. Those are considered the “masterpieces” of the shaky-cam genre, and each of those directors is a man whom I could easily see using an LVT film as a point of reference.

  727. By the by, this is post 738 in this topic. At current rate, Vern could almost publish this as a book of film theory/comedy within the next few weeks.

  728. If such a book is published I hope there’s a chapter or two about the different uses of slow motion and shaky cam. There seems to be a misconception here that all use of slow motion and all use of hand held camera are plain bad. And we all know that that’s not the case. I would certainly like to hear someone argue against Peckinpah, Woo and Hill’s use of slow motion. And even if the Dogma director’s use a hand held camera, they don’t shake it or throw it around like they did in NYPD Blue (who really made it popular). The same goes for Mann and Raimi, or Stallone for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with slow motion or a hand held camera if it’s used properly.

  729. Did you hear the news that THE VENTURE BROS has been renewed for two more seasons, one 60-90 minute long movie and they are already working on an 11 minute special? Fuck yeah, I say!

  730. I’d be more excited, but that that last season was so spotty and random, it honestly shook my faith in how well-thought out the show is. Hopefully they can get teir mojo back.

  731. Are you kidding me? BLOOD OF THE FATHER, THE BETTER MAN, SELF MEDICATION, EVERYBODY COMES TO HANK’S and OPERATION P.R.O.M. are only five reasons, why season four might be the best season so far!

  732. Pegsman – I can point out instances of both shakycam and slow-mo that worked. The trouble is that in both cases, they became used because they were conventional, not because there was any reason to use them. I will keep coming back to the examples of “MI:2” and “Bourne Supremacy” for slow-motion and shakycam respectively, because I think in both cases it was lazy filmmaking and not stylistic preference that meant that particular device was used.

    The bottom line is that for the majority of filmatic techniques, proper moderated use can be effective; overuse without reason or thought can kill off a movie. That applies to slow-motion, shakycam, whatever. My theory is that a great deal of the “frenetic” style of film-making was something of a kneejerk reaction to the overlong three-hour epics that were popular in the nineties and early-mid 2000s – Gladiator, Titanic, LotR, etc.

    Now shakycam is getting a bad reputation, I expect another technique to take its place. For a while this technique will be lauded, but then it’ll become conventional and people will get irritated by it. And something else will take ITS place. (Personally I’d bet that in thirty years or so, directors will be filming every shot from between a woman’s stockinged legs, with a lens flare coming from the point where they meet.)

  733. CJ- Yeah those episodes on thier own were very strong, but I don’t think the season as a whole stood up to the standards of longform storytelling that the Venture Bros. built up over their last couple seasons. I’m speaking primarily about Vol. 2, where it honestly felt like you could rearrange the episodes in any order and the sum total of what happened this season would be the same. The show would give guys like Doc and the boys their own episodes and they would come to these really huge epiphanies, and then…nothing, let’s hang out with Billy or SPHINX this week. There was no sense of a bigger story or sense of momentum in Vol. 2, something that felt totally out of whack with the modus operandi of theprevious two seasons and the back half of 1.

    I hate to say it, because the incredible sense of continuity is one of the things that first got me hooked on the show, but the universe of the Venture Bros. may have simply become to big and complex for them to manage all of it within a season. Having to service all of those characters, and trying to give all of them legitiamte personalities and arcs, it’s exciting and ambitious but afterwhile it starts to feel like continuity for continuity’s sake, like there’s no real REASON to spend time with all these people, but the creator’s are so jacked that they CAN that they just goo ahead anyway without thinking of where that leaves their bigger story and major characters.

    Still one of my favorite shows on TV and I’m obviously pumped that somethign as weird and smart as the Venture Bros. can build up the kind of audience support to garner the kind of show-of-faith pick-up they got, but still, they’ve shown a level of excellence in the past and I’m not convinced they hit that level this season, funny though it might have been.

  734. Speaking of Venture Bros., has anybody else listened to co-creator Doc Hammer’s band Weep?
    They sound a like a little more mellow, present day Jesus and Mary Chain to me. I like them.

  735. Weirdness Alert: I just received a review copy of Tobe Hooper’s new book, MIDNIGHT MOVIE. Instead if an autobiography, it appears to be an epistolary novel about an unreleased film that Hooper made when he was 15 that causes an outbreak of death and insanity when it premieres at SXSW. I’ll read it and keep you boys posted.

  736. Tangent off Majestyk’s comment: My fiancee wrote a poem called “Midnight Movie” that was published in a literary journal called Slow Trains:

    http://www.slowtrains.com/vol10issue1/hahnvol10issue1.html

    Which, er, appears to be one of the last things they published before apparently not publishing any more? Or something.

    Any ways, I think it’s the only poem I’ve ever read about horror movies.

  737. I have to take my hats of for what might be the friendliest and funniest of talkbacks/forums i have ever came across, where even my prepostrous (correct my spelling,PLEASE!) Lars Von Cunth…ehh i mean Trier-rant gets greeted with more respect than it deserves. Not that i don´t backup my words.I really do. But on other forums you would just get abuse and personal attacks in response.I love all of you gals and guys out there striving for excellence when it comes to correct behaviour.(Just like jason Blade!)

  738. Kind of a slow Tuesday so here’s a montage of Steven Seagal breaking every bone he’s ever broke in a movie!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIabNqGnqn4&feature=player_embedded

  739. Ok guys, I’VE SEEN A NEW FILM. So here we go. Paul’s evisceration of “The Lincoln Lawyer” begins now. Or not, as the case may be, because yeah, it’s pretty good.

    But on the off chance that anybody actually reads my posts, I’m sure it’s not because they want to see me point out how a film is an intelligent courtroom drama with good performances and cinematography. (It is all of those things, by the way.) So let the nitpicking commence!

    1) There’s a character twist near the end that comes out of left-field, and I kinda feel it sabotages the movie somewhat. The film would have been better if the character in question had been frankly portrayed from the start as an unintended victim of the main villain.

    2) While I like the cinematography, some of the camerawork fits into the regular “natural” style, which means that whenever you get a shot of two characters walking down a corridor and talking, the camera will jerk around at head height and is arbitrarily focussed somewhere in their general direction, presumably to give the impression that the viewer is walking with them. At times this becomes REALLY distracting. Near the start, for example, there’s a shot of Matthew McConaghey as he walks around a corner that seems to stay pointed directly at his left ear for three or four seconds.

    3) The plot is exactly that of the pilot episode of Veronica Mars, so much so that it’s actually distracting. McConaghey even has a friendly biker gang who helps him out after he gets one of their number out of jail. Of course, McConaghey is less butch than Kristin Bell…

    4) Ryan Philippe plays a darker version of his normal persona in this one, but I wish he’d have had the chance to really let loose his inner psycho.

    4) The TBF (Token Black Friend) Earl, McConaghey’s driver, is played by Lord Nikon of “Hackers”. I keep expecting him to turn to McConaghey and shout: “You’re Zero Cool!” He and Marisa Tomei both get fairly high billing, but neither really adds much to the movie and I feel as though Earl’s scenes in particular could’ve been expunged to make it a lot more streamlined. Which brings me to my only really major quibble:

    6) The scoring of this movie is fine (the ambient music fits the mood well and doesn’t intrude, although it’s hardly memorable). But the pop songs that occasionally play, especially during the driving between scenes, are pretty bad. Some of the rap music they play just doesn’t fit the film in tone. It does in lyrics, but rap lyrics are intentionally overdone – rap is all about emphasis – which makes them seem mawkish. And why do they have to play shitty rap music whenever the TBF is onscreen? This is LORD NIKON, he doesn’t need “ghetto music” to be cool. And why the hell do you play rap music when McConaghey’s obligatory shirtless scene comes up?

    In summary:

    “The Lincoln Lawyer” is an intelligent courtroom drama with the cast of a fluffy romantic comedy. Most of the time it works really well, although there’s some padding that doesn’t really need to be there. Despite some obnoxious soundtrack issues and a few missteps regarding character and pacing, this is a tense, fairly gripping thriller with an effective lead and villain. I would definitely recommend it if that’s your “thing”.

  740. Watching the first part of the JCVD documentary on british TV now-Oh, awesome, SCOTT ADKINS!
    Uh…what was I saying? Oh, right. Watching this and Jean Claude really seems to think of saving the environment as his personal responsibility. He’s crying because he thinks he might have lost the environmental message in THE EAGLE PATH while editing it. Damn.

  741. On a lighter note…roundhouse kick while holding a chihuahua? THAT’s badass juxtaposition.

  742. I also enjoyed THE LINCOLN LAWYER but I can’t agree that it would be improved by putting less Eric B. & Rakim and Gang Starr in it. I find it hard to believe that any movie would be improved with less Eric B. & Rakim.

  743. I would have watched DRIVING MISS DAISY if Morgan Freeman would have told that old bag to shut up and popped in his tape of FOLLOW THE LEADER.

  744. I was waiting for someone to diss Paul dissing Rakim. He was a fiend, before he became a teen, man!