THE KARATE KID was such a phenomenon, man. It mainstream-popularized karate in the U.S. and was heavily imitated in everything from kid’s movies to sports movies to actual action movies. It was sequeled, next generationed, cartooned, action figured, parodied in REVENGE OF THE NERDS, postmodernly referenced and recently remade. It’s hard to remember what the context was then. I can’t really watch it without comparing it to martial arts themed movies made since then. But I’ll try to be nice. (read the rest of this shit…)
Stage 1: The miracle of birth. Somewhere in the United States, young African Americans decide to start using “holla” (as in “holler”) to describe talking to each other. “If you need anything, holla at me.”
Stage 2: The use of “holla” spreads and evolves. At some point, a rapper decides to yell it to a crowd, a call for a response. “HOLLA!” It becomes a trademark catchphrase for the Rocafella label. Other rappers like it, want to get in on the action.
Stage 3: Holla becames available for home use. People full of hot air who are in jobs where it’s important to maintain an image of with-it-ness (mostly commercial radio DJs and BET hosts) overuse the term.
Stage 4: White people find out and start using it. They sort of have a sense of what it might mean, but it doesn’t matter because it’s divorced of all context. It’s supposed to automatically denote insider status or “being down.” The meaning of the word “Holla!” is now “I have heard this word, ‘Holla!’ and I can prove it by saying it out loud!”
Final stage: A cartoon animal or elderly person says it in a movie, and that’s supposed to be funny.
Let’s say you are an adult male, single. You’re unhappy with your advertising job, but you are a home owner, and you also own a whole bunch of instruments and recording equipment for pursuing your true passion of songwriting. You even have a very good connection – a college friend who runs a huge record label and who’s willing to listen to your demos. Only problem is your music is corny and old-fashioned, and he’s looking for terrible and new-fashioned. Also, you’re lonely because you were Afraid Of Commitment so your model-looking girlfriend left you. Then one day you steal an entire basket of muffins for no reason, and your hearing, eyesight and powers of observation are so off-the-charts terrible that you do not notice three large, talking anthropomorphized chipmunks loudly hanging from and climbing into your basket while you’re carrying it. So they hide in your house and eat a bunch of your food and for some reason you keep not hearing them even though they’re talking at normal volume in the same room as you. But you finally notice them so one of them farts in your face, they break a jar over your head and think they killed you so they discuss disposing of your body.
But when you wake up you throw them out of your house and then you hear them singing. You thought they could only talk but it turns out they can also sing. So what do you do? (read the rest of this shit…)
I guess I got a nuanced view on these Robert Zemeckis “mo-cap” movies. I think he’s kind of delusional if he really thinks this is the future of movies, and I was complaining about the creepiness of attempted realism in POLAR EXPRESS (and earlier in FINAL FANTASY) long before it was a common complaint with the name “uncanny valley.” When it comes to being creeped out by dead-eyed computer animation, I’m NWA and mainstream critics are Ja Rule or somebody.
On the other hand, I kind of love POLAR EXPRESS and BEOWULF and paid to see both of them twice in the theater. Never on DVD, but I’d gladly go back to see either if they were re-released in 3-D again. I love the strong atmosphere of these worlds that Zemeckis creates, and the way he moves the camera around them. I guess here he’s God and the only way He knows to show us things is through His perspective, so we can float through every crack or groove on a wall or hover high into the sky looking down on the settings and characters like they’re ants in our ant farm. (read the rest of this shit…)
First of all, this one is VERY different from the other WILD THINGS movies, and with virtually no nudity. But easily one of the best of the series. Second, I don’t usually go around reviewing movies made for kids, and I got a reputation to uphold and what not. But this is a movie of ferocious artistic purity. Whether you like it or not you’d have to be a numbnuts not to recognize it as a unique achievement.
This is the movie Spike Jonze has been working on for years, based on the famous Maurice Sendak picture book. You probly read about how Sendak asked him to do it, at first he turned it down, then he thought of an idea for it, they started making it, one studio dropped them, they moved to a different studio, continued making it, that studio freaked out when they started snooping around and found out there was no farting or Smash Mouth songs in it. Rumors circulated that they were gonna fire Jonze and start over or redo some of his scenes with CGI or who knows what. But he kept on going and they must’ve either got distracted by something on TV or decided he knew what he was doing. Somehow he got to the end and looked down and in his hands he was holding the movie he set out to make at the beginning. Except transferred into Imax. Nobody knows how it got there. (read the rest of this shit…)
If the old Speed Racer cartoon had a baby with a Hot Wheels commercial in the back of a candy store and fed it magic mushrooms every day for breakfast, then when it turned 18 that baby would legally become this movie. What I mean is it’s clearly the product of its upbringing: silly cartoon plot, Skittles color palette, cartoon physics, monkey wearing clothes, etc. But it wants to become a man, so it rebels. It confuses little kids and their parents with a complex non-linear structure intercutting a present day race with backstory and a flashback race and overlapping past and present races within one shot. And instead of trying to stop some evil plot to destroy the world like you’re supposed to do in this type of movie, SPEED RACER helps an investigative body stop a corrupt corporation from manipulating the stock market by fixing races. (It does not mention the tax disputes from PHANTOM MENACE.)
The result is a movie that people want to beat up. The Wachowski Brothers until now have only directed 4 movies, 3 of them THE MATRIX and the other one just to prove to the studio they could direct THE MATRIX, so this is almost like their sophomore slump. It’s an absurdly ridiculous and/or ridiculously absurd, kind of alienating and weird Wachowski version of a kiddie movie that already seems destined to lose the studio a ton of money and either force the Wachowskis to try something smaller or safer or to go away and not direct for ten years. Also I kind of liked it. (read the rest of this shit…)
I like to think I’m a pretty tough individual, even on a cellular level. So I don’t usually watch movies like this and I don’t usually get sick. A year or two ago I got some crud that really knocked me out, so while I was laying there a useless husk of my regular self I decided that God had opened a window – a window of opportunity for me to watch KILL BILL VOLUME 1 and VOLUME 2 in a row. The movie seemed even better in one sitting and I was healed the next day. Thanks God. You got good taste in movies.
So the next year when I got real sick I did the same thing, with the same success. Only trouble is when I got sick again this month and it was the worst I had in years. My KILL BILL treatment had been too recent, I didn’t know if it would work and I didn’t want to overdo it and create a KILL BILL-resistant supervirus. So I watched a bunch of other DVDs I had laying around. (read the rest of this shit…)
As you know I’m not one for the cartoons but somehow I ended up seeing this new one called CARS. What CARS is about is cars. However they are not any ordinary type of car like you’ve ever seen before, they are living cars. And when I say that I am not even talking about a Knight Rider or Herbie the Love Bug type of scenario here, I am talking about an entire society devoid of human life, but dominated by living, feeling cars with weird eyeballs on their windshields. They can make gestures and they can use their tires sort of like hands, and they have jobs, etc. Even the insects of this world are cars, but there are regular non-car plants.
These cars have not only created a civilization, but their civilization has been around long enough that the good old days are gone. The story is about Lightning McQueen, who is apparently not named after Steve McQueen despite his brave service to the cause of cars in LE MANS and BULLITT. Thanks alot, assholes. Lightning is a hotshot race car, basically a NASCAR star without a driver. Because he’s a stubborn egotistical asswipe of a car he fucks up and blows his huge lead making the big race a three way tie. One of the other racers is played by Michael Keaton but he looks like the Burt Reynolds of cars. Anyway Lightning has to go to California for another race and because he’s a celebrity he doesn’t even bother to drive there himself, he goes inside his friend, a Mack truck played by Cliff from Cheers. Basically, he is inside his friend’s ass, but you can’t completely blame him because the inside of his friend’s ass looks like some kind of luxury apartment. (read the rest of this shit…)
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here about to head off to bed so I can be chipper for tomorrow’s flicks at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, but I noticed another review by our own outlaw Vern trickle in via this fancy electronic mail box. I couldn’t help but immediately read it… laugh out load at least a dozen times and then post it up for the rest of you folks to enjoy. Without any further ado, here is the man himself!
I’m only watching number movies this week. You saw my review of 2001 MANIACS. I’m planning on seeing THE THREE BURIALS OF (whoever it is, Miguel Arteta or somebody) but there was this screening of Walt Disney’s new picture EIGHT BELOW INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY, so I went to that first. This is a dog movie, and usually a movie like this would have a trailer set to either
a) “Bad to the Bone” or
b) “Atomic Dog”
and then the poster would say, “Every Dog Has His Snow Day” or some stupid shit like that, and the dogs would be wearing sunglasses and possibly giving a thumbs up, if dogs had thumbs. (read the rest of this shit…)