So once again we have survived.

Bulworth

tn_bulworthWarning: this review talks alot about American politics that won’t matter to many of you, but then so does the movie so it should be fine.

Recently I was reading last month’s Rolling Stone article about the Democrats caving on all the meaningful parts of health care reform. It paints a convincing picture that if they give up on the public option then the plan won’t help much, could even make things worse, will hurt the Democrats politically and hurt the chances of real reform happening any time soon. I thought jesus, what is wrong with these people, we elected them for “change” and now the opportunity to do what we asked them to do makes them run around in a panic, peeing on the floor like a dog on the 4th of July. (Another American reference for you there.) Are they really all in the pocket of insurance companies? They have the majority, they have the majority of the people. You really worried those dumb fuckers at the town hall meetings are gonna be mad if you give them cheaper health coverage? I don’t think that’s worth losing sleep over. (read the rest of this shit…)

Crank: High Voltage

tn_crank2I gave CRANK two tries. I really wanted to like the movie, but I sort of hated it. I had a hard time getting past the hyperactive editing and camerawork – Jason Statham would do these things that should be exciting but the directors, “Neveldine/Taylor,” were hammering me over the head so hard with all their visual tricks that it just seemed boring. I honestly fell asleep the first time I saw it and missed that charming moment where he causes an innocent cab driver to be lynched by pointing at him and yelling “Al Quaeda!” on a crowded street.

And that’s maybe a bigger problem I had: the overall douchebaggy attitude of it, the Marilyn Manson going door-to-door trying to shock people approach to humor. Ha ha, he said something racist, you’re not supposed to do that. Oooh, he raped his girlfriend in front of a bus of Japanese school girls and they took pictures, what a fun time at the movies. (NOTE: I have been informed it’s not rape because she eventually liked it, like in STRAW DOGS.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Sleep Dealer

You know how there’s that endangered subtn_sleepdealergenre of “intelligent sci-fi”? Like the recent MOON and SUNSHINE and I guess people would say that movie PRIMER although I haven’t seen it. Coming out on DVD today is another small, low budget, independent sci-fi full of smart ideas about the modern world and what could happen with our technology. This one’s not an action movie at all though, it’s a small drama, and from a Mexican perspective. So if you never heard of it that’s why. Subtitles, and no exploding heads.

(There are robots and lasers, but not in a cool way. They’re just tools. Maybe about as cool as a city employee riding a Segway. Exactly that cool or less, no cooler.)

The story is about Memo (Luis Fernando Peña) who grew up in a tiny Mexican village screwed over by the building of a dam. He’s spent his whole life dreaming of getting away, but just like people in the not-future his way of getting away is just secluding himself in a little room and using technology to connect with the outside world. He builds a radio that he uses to tap different frequencies and listen to people’s conversations, but this gets him into trouble. (read the rest of this shit…)

My new most anticipated movie: KNOCKOUT

ginacaranoI’m sure most of you have heard about this one by now, but just in case: Variety reports that Steven Soderbergh’s next will be a spy movie starring mixed martial arts star Gina Carano. I never heard of her until I watched BLOOD AND BONE, and her part in that is really small, but I remember a couple of you in the comments were asking about it. Well, don’t worry, you’ll be seeing more of her than that little cameo.

The script is by Lem Dobbs, who wrote THE LIMEY, by far Soderbergh’s most badass movie. The article says it’s about “a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes.” In other words, xXx, but without skateboards, starring a woman and directed by one of our best instead of Rob Cohen. Wouldn’t that be great if it was “the smart xXx”?

I like most of Steve Soderbergh’s movies, even the real inaccessible ones, but I think he’s at his best when taking an artful approach to mainstream, entertainment type of movies (OUT OF SIGHT is his best, OCEAN’S 11 is fun, ERIN BROCKOVICH is way more effective than it ought to be). The article claims he wants to do “a flat out action film in the James Bond mold.” I’m sold.

Halloween Remake II

tn_halloweenremakeiiMTV: And you won’t be coming up with ideas for “Halloween” sequels on the tour bus?

Zombie: No. I have no plans on watching them or making them. [He laughs.] My movie has a beginning, a middle and an end — and then I am done. Anything that comes after that? It will not involve me.

Writer/director Robert Zombie returns with the sequel to his remake of HALLOWEEN from two years ago. Mr. Zombie showed some promise with his HOUSE OF THE ONE THOUSAND CORPSES/DEVIL’S REJECTS movies. Then they hired him to remake HALLOWEEN, which seemed to me like a better idea than hiring whoever else they were gonna hire. I liked some of what he was trying to do, but the movie was a mess and made me question whether he really knows what he’s doing.

But he had done his remake, time to go back to what he was good at, so he was working on some kind of biker or wrestler movie or something and then… dropped that because they gave him some money to do this. I know he previously said he wouldn’t even watch a sequel, but this is different, he figured out a way to make it work: he gave Michael Meyers a beard. (read the rest of this shit…)

Nowhere To Run

tn_nowheretorunFrom the director of THE HITCHER, the writer of SHOWGIRLS and the stars of BLOODSPORT, DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN and IGBY GOES DOWN comes this mysterious drifter vs. greedy developers action drama. Co-story credit goes to the guy who directed RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Somehow I never got around to this Van Damme vehicle before, but it kept coming up in IMDb searches: first when I saw THE HITCHER and looked up director Robert Harmon, then when Geoffreyjar emailed me about Joe Eszterhas. It’s a little light on action compared to some Van Damme pictures, but the story (generic as it is) is executed well enough to make up for it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Highwaymen

tn_highwaymenYou guys know how it is when two men in separate cars drive around the country, one trying to stalk and then run over women, the other trying to hunt the other guy. The one is a perverted serial killer, the other has gone mad from the first guy running over his wife, so he rammed into the guy disabling him and making him even more hellbent on murder. They are antagonists, arch-enemies, villain and dark avenger. You know, a couple of highwaymen.

This is the 2004 movie from Robert Harmon, director of THE HITCHER. I remember the trailer but it didn’t catch my interest – just looked like another studio serial killer movie, at best on the level of JOY RIDE, probaly worse. But seeing THE HITCHER made me more curious and I’m glad about that because HIGHWAYMEN turns out to be way weirder and more interesting than advertised. (read the rest of this shit…)

Cohen & Tate

tn_cohenandtateCohen & Tate. Sounds like a buddy movie, huh? Cohen. Tate. Just a couple guys goin around together, their last names eventually linked together with and to form a team. Ol’ C & T. Co and Ta. Some mismatched dudes maybe, sounds like one’s Jewish, maybe the other guy’s real Catholic and they always bicker about it. Ha ha, what a great time for everybody.

Well, no. Cohen and Tate are the two mob hitmen who massacre a couple and all the cops protecting them and kidnap their 9 year-old-son so they can bring him to their bosses to be questioned about a shooting he witnessed. Then somebody’ll probaly kill him and throw him in a lake somewhere. It’s not that funny of a movie, is what I’m getting at. Cohen and Tate hate each other, they hate the kid, the kid hates them, they’re all pretty much plotting how and when to kill each other for the whole movie. No jokes except when Tate tells that old one about “what’s the last thing that goes through a bug’s brain when he hits your windshield?” So there are no laughs. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bad (a film by Martin Scorsese)

tn_badIt’s Michael Jackson’s birthday. Would’ve been his 51st, and if all had gone perfect he would’ve been 17 shows into his run at the 02 in London. Hard to picture. It really feels to me like this country is going through a time of massive change, like the tectonic plates are shifting beneath us. It figures that the same year we have our first black president we also have to lose Michael and the last Kennedy brother. All earlier than I expected, but maybe we’re ahead of schedule. The big live news events of the year: an inauguration and two memorial services. And both Kennedy and MJ instantly reborn as beloved legends.

Now you’re really gonna think I’m a weirdo (though I’ve never owned a chimp) but the truth is I would’ve known it was Michael’s birthday anyway. For some reason it’s a date I always remember, so I usually watch at least a little bit of MOONWALKER. But this year, during all the mourning and memorializing, I picked up the MICHAEL JACKSON VIDEO GREATEST HITS – HISTORY dvd. I had been obsessing over the dancing in his videos. MTV had a marathon, but they kept showing the shorter versions. I was jonesing to see that scene they cut out of “Black Or White” where he smashes the car while grabbing his crotch and yelling. It’s on this DVD (the cover calls it “the controversial ‘Panther’ version”).

But the highlight for me was the “never-before-seen 18-minute long version of ‘Bad’.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Synechdoche, New York

tn_synechdocheSYNECHDOCHE, NEW YORK is the most complex and convoluted movie that worked that I’ve seen in a long time. I loved it and you might too. But there’s also a good chance you’re not on its wavelength, and in that case it will be torture, like me watching WAKING LIFE.

P.S. Hoffman plays Caden, a guy who directs plays. He’s fat, unhappy and uninteresting and his wife (Catherine Keener) is obviously miserable. The opening is so mundane it’s almost hard to translate as a movie: he has trouble getting out of bed, reads the newspaper, mumbles to his wife that Harold Pinter died, they have sort of a conversation but aren’t listening to each other. It’s kind of nice that it begins so uncinematically mired in normal life, because as it goes along it becomes more and more fantastical. (read the rest of this shit…)