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Saturday, January 31, 2009

DVD Review: Hulk Vs


Who would win in a fight between the Hulk and Thor? Or the Hulk and Wolverine? Who cares as long and they smash stuff? Here's my review for the Direct-to-DVD double feature Hulk Vs.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Movie Review: Taken


Don't kidnap Liam Neeson's daughter. He will find you. And he will kill you.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hillary Duff is remaking "Bonnie & Clyde"....Oh God, Kill Me Now


Hillary Duff is playing Bonnie Parker in the upcoming film The Story of Bonnie & Clyde.
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Hillary Duff...is playing Bonnie Parker...in the upcoming film The Story of Bonnie & Clyde.
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HILLARY DUFF is PLAYING BONNIE PARKER in the upcoming film The Story of BONNIE & CLYDE!!!!!

OK, everyone calm down. Don't panic. There's obviously a perfectly reasonable, logical explanation for this ludicrous yet horrific development....we're all dead and in hell. (In what world can a privileged starlet of little-to-no talent hope to find herself in a remake of one of the greatest achievements in American cinema? Only in the darkest depths of Lucifer's lair. A lesson courtesy...of The Twilight Zone.)

OK, admittedly this could be worse (though imagining anything worse is threatening to send me into a 12-year coma). They could have gone with any of Hollywood's ever expanding collection talentless, dumb sluts (OK, that was probably out of line, but I'm seriously pissed here), like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Hudgens, or Megan Fox (who better not get the part of Lara Croft, by-the-way!...or Cassie Hack!) Hillary Duff, admittedly, has at least tried to maintain a reasonably clean image...or at least she did before War, Inc. came along. But still, the girl has the acting talent of a 3rd grader! She's pretty much been stuck on Lizzie McGuire mode her entire career. Even in War, Inc. she was acting like Lizzie, just the slutty version of her, with the same bad accent she had as her own french double in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Face it Hil, you're a one trick pony...and that one trick wasn't impressive in the first place. Seriously babe, stick to singing, at least you're reasonably decent at that.
Now those of you that have done your homework (your 30 page essay on how awesome I am is due at the end of the week) know that The Story of Bonnie & Clyde is not technically a remake of the classic 1967 crime film Bonnie & Clyde (a film so badass it brought about the R rating). But, seriously, what does it matter? A film about Bonnie & Clyde is a film about Bonnie & Clyde, so it might as well be a remake.

Seriously Hil, what do you want from us? Haven't we always been nice to you? I mean sure, a most of us aren't exactly fans, but we've always let you do your thing without much complaint. Hell, Miley Cyrus takes more crap than you ever did! So why? Why are you doing this? What did we ever do to you to warrant this defacing of such a classic? WHY!?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Nominations are in...and yes, I am pissed.


Well, the Oscar nominees are in, like it matters. Obviously I am not a fan of the Academy, but for some reason I expected them to act like human beings this year, and once again they let me down. Don't get me wrong, I seen them make more stupid decisions than this but...well, just take a look.

Best Picture

Best Actor
Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn for Milk
Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Actress
Kate Winslet for The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin for Milk

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams for Doubt
Viola Davis for Doubt
Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler

Best Director
David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant for Milk
Stephen Daldry for The Reader
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Foreign-language Film
The Class from France
Departures from Japan
Revanche from Austria
Waltz With Bashir from Israel

Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon
David Hare for The Reader
Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay
Courtney Hunt for Frozen River

Best Animated Feature Film
WALL-E

Best Art Direction
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Revolutionary Road

Best Cinematography
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Sound Mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E

Best Sound Editing
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
James Newton Howard for Defiance
Danny Elfman for Milk
A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman for WALL-E

Best Original Song
"Down to Earth" from WALL-E by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
"Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire by A.R. Rahman and Gulzar
"O Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best Costume Design
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

Best Documentary

Best Film Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight

Best Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man


OK, where do I begin? Obviously I was rooting for The Dark Knight to snag both Best Picture and Best Director, but knowing the Academy I wasn't expecting it. At least they had the decency to give Heath Ledger his supporting actor nom (he doesn't get it and they'll be blood to pay). But What the hell is up with the Best Actors? Mickey Roarke I expected (it was about the only good thing about the film), but Brad Pitt? Seriously? He was the weakest part of Benjamin Button! A part of me really wished Michael Rapaport could walk away with a nom for Special, but obviously there's no way the Academy would give that a second glance, the gorram snobs. BUT WHERE THE FRAKING HELL IS CLINT EASTWOOD!!!??? WHERE!!!!???? You've done some despicable things in your time Hollywood, but denying one of the greatest actors that ever walked the Earth his Best Actor Award is unforgivable!! Vengeance!! Retribution!! Anti-life justifies my hate!! My rage!! AAAAUUUUURGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, I'm allergic to Hollywood bullcrap. Anyway the rest of the noms have the usually going on, the same five or six films hogging half the awards. I was pleasantly surprised by Robert Downey Jr. getting tapped for Tropic Thunder. And it was cool to see Hellboy II get recognized for is costume design. But what's up with Wanted? Honestly, Wanted?! With two noms!? Are they out of they're minds!? Ugh, whatever. I'll be in the corner of my closet, curled in the fetal position whispering repeatedly "they don't really matter, they don't really matter, they don't really matter".

What about you? What do you think about the nominations?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mad as Hell: Oscar Season


I hate Oscar season. I really do. It's where the tyrannical grip of Hollywood is most present. Theatres are flooded with pretentious Oscar bait, and dozens of films are instantly labelled "the best films of the year" before they've even come out. And, like them or not, if you fail to recognize these films as flawless masterpieces, you'll be cast out like a rabid animal. I'm not saying all Oscar season films are bad, but close-minded critic gab can sour anything.

Just this year, we had, for example, The Wrestler. Best film of the year, right? WRONG!!! There's a reason I left it out of my top ten, people, and it not because I didn't see it; I just didn't like it. Don't get me wrong, the acting was great, there's no disputing that (of course Mickey Roarke is always great. Why else would I have watched Stormbreaker?) But here's the thing: the film bored me out of my gorram skull. I really can't stand it when people defend a movie by saying it was "realistic". When did that become a good thing in cinema? Aren't movies supposed to be escapism? Y'know, getting away from reality. I not saying realism is always a bad thing, but when it's all your film has going for it, it sure as hell is. One of my favorite quotes of all time (as to who said it, I've got no clue, but he's a fraking genius) is "reality is a poor excuse for bad drama". If a film isn't engaging, entertaining, or thought-provoking it's crap. Period. And The Wrestler was none of these things. The documentary style camerawork may have made it seem realistic to some people, but too me it made it feel like some bad reality show. And I wasn't exactly expecting a sunshine-and-lollipops ending, this is Darren Aronofsky after all. But I was, in fact, expecting an ending of some kind. The film had no ending, it just suddenly stopped. It never resolved any plot points or character arcs, it just went to credits.

But my point is not that The Wrestler sucked. My point is that most of you by this point have already written your hate comments, or at least written me of as a trolling hate-monger who just doesn't appreciate good films. And half of you thinking that haven't even seen The Wrestler. You just believe what your told without question, no actual knowledge required, and it makes me mad as hell.

I could go on about this, but as it turns out, Robert Fure over on Film School Rejects has it covered much better than I ever could. Not that I agree 100% with him (The Dark Knight is not overrated!! The Batman shrine in my basement proves nothing!!!) but still, this dude knows what's up. So I leave you in his capable hands:


What about you? Do you think Oscar acclaim makes people close-minded?

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Top 10 Films of 2008

Joshua the Anarchist presents his list for the top 10 films of 2008.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Year in Review: 2008

I've already made my top 10 list, which should be up soon. However, a simple list doesn't do an entire year of films justice, especially a year like this one. So here are my top picks of the year that didn't make my top ten, in a bunch of meaningless categories I pulled out of my ass. Starting with my number one fav (Well, technically number eleven, but still):


MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF THE YEAR: Repo! The Genetic Opera


Yeah, didn't see that one coming, did ya, DID YA!? I admit, watching and reading my reviews you probably figured out I don't like gory horror movies, and in general I don't. Here's the one major exception. Just when I thought Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was the best musical I'd seen in years, POW!!! Y'know, when I saw the first Spy Kids movie at the ripe old age of twelve, I developed a massive crush on Alexa Vega. Of course, as I grew older, my feelings for her began to fade, especially after Spy Kids 3D (seriously H-Wood, enough with the 3D threequel gag, it was never funny!) Besides after that she kinda faded from the spotlight. But man, oh man, has this film reignited our love!! Come away with me, Alexa! There is a world out there, and a throne! A woman's throne here in my heart!! (a special no-prize to the reader who can name the movie I was just paraphrasing)

This thing just plain kicked ass. There is not a single song in the score that I don't want on my IPod (or would if I had an IPod. "Please sir, can I have some more?") It had an eye-popping sense of style, and yes, I'll admit it, even the gore was cool. Not to mention that it was a brilliant satire of our beauty-obsessed plastic surgery culture, which is what made Paris Hilton's casting so brilliant (and no, I can't believe I'm saying that either). And what really seals the deal is the fact that this is a true anarchist's movie. Many of the professional critics hated this movie, while audiences loved it. Power to the people! They can take our lives, but they'll never take our MOVIES!!

MY FAVORITE MOVIE I KNOW I'LL TAKE CRAP FOR: The Spirit


Haha, yeah, that one you probably saw coming. I'm one of probably 4.5 movie goers on the planet who liked this movie. Which is why I'm now the target of a bloodthirsty witch hunt (like I need another one of those. But they'll never find me! Bwa ha ha ha!!) I'm pretty darn sure people went into this film cynical. They wanted to hate it, that's the only explanation. Was it a good movie? Hell, no. Not even close. Did it respect the original? Kinda, but not really. Was it fun? Frack, yeah!! A wise-cracking hero in sneakers, trench coat, fedora, domino mask, and most importantly...black? Armies of hot chicks, ridiculously over sized guns, Neo Noir setting with the coolest elements of every decade rolled into one...and Sam Jackson!? How can you not have fun with this?!

THE BEST MOVIE EVERYONE HATED: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Now I know the category looks awfully similar to the previous one, so just to clarify: The Spirit was a guilty pleasure; Indy 4 was unfairly panned. Sure it wasn't the greatest Indy film ever made, but neither was Temple of Doom. At least Crystal Skull had an original plot, Temple of Doom just ripped off Gunga Din. I mean, so what it had a few character inconsistencies and missed opportunities? Considering what we've come to expect from George Lucas lately, this is pretty awesome (though I suspect Steven Spielberg is responsible for the lack of suckage). Was the infamous "Nukin' the Fridge" scene any more ridiculous than the life raft parachuting scene from Temple of Doom? Was the "Swingin' with the Chimps" scene (I'm official campaigning for that one to replace "Jumpin' the Shark" instead, it was way worse) any worse than the miners cart roller coaster in, again, Temple of Doom? In fact, the "Nukin' the Fridge" scene was one of my favorites. Believe it or not, that was the moment it really started feeling like Indiana Jones. Any other action hero would have grabbed some nearby vehicle and outran the explosion, racing toward the screen with the mushroom cloud in the background. But not Indy, Indy improvises. Personally, I thought that Indy 4 was just as worthy as the other two sequels, although obviously nothing will ever match the original.

BEST MOVIE NOBODY SAW: Good

You wanna know how few people saw this? I didn't even see it. That's right, this pick is pure speculation. Believe me, I tried to see it. It was nowhere to be found. But it looked unbelievable. Had I been able to see this chances are it would have ended up on my top 10 list. The plot was fascinating, like Valkyrie if it was a serious drama and not an action flick. It stars Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs, two of my favorite actors, which is more than enough reason to see the film right there. Revolving around a principled german professor struggling with questions of morality due to the rise of the Third Reich, the film asks the question in it's tagline "Anything that makes people happy can't be bad, can it?" That is awesome. I hate to get political here, but that is an issue that is talked about far too little today with any seriousness. People see fascism as the stereotypical black clad stormtroopers policing the streets and herding helpless civilians like they were cattle, like we've seen in the movies. Fascism is an attractive thing. It promises us peace, and for some it delivers. That's why it's so dangerous. If it looked like Darth Vader, who would go for it? I personally believe that we live in a country inching closer and closer toward fascism, and that if this film is what I think it is, it's one we all need to see. (EDIT: I have finally seen this film and reviewed it. Check it out here.)

OTHER RUNNERS-UP (in no particular order):

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Tired of the same ole' westerns? How about if they were set in Asia (Manchuria to be exact)? This film is yet to be released in the U.S. (Stop hogging all the good movies, Korea!) but it better be. Not only is is set in Asia, but it takes place in the 1930's so you can mix cars and machine guns in with horses and revolvers. Combined, it makes a very unique look and one damn cool action film!!

Kung Fu Panda


Man, who ever thought DreamWorks had it in 'em? I was never a fan of the Shrek series but even it's fans thought Shrek the Third was awful. And Madagascar...well who gives a damn about Madagascar? But this movie was awesome (like you didn't already know that). Just as The Incredibles made the perfect animated superhero adventure, Kung Fu Panda has made the perfect animated Hong Kong kung fu epic. The fights are beautifully choreographed, and every fighting animal is incredibly kick-ass without every being anthropomorphized, or moving unnaturally for their species.



Sure it wasn't near as good as the first one. It took a number of liberties from to book, some I liked, some I didn't (though admittedly I haven't read the book in years). But still, these films mean a lot to me, because the books mean a lot to me. My mom read the whole series to me when I was little (OK, flashback over). To me, The Chronicles of Narnia series are some the the greatest works of fiction ever written, right along with Lord of the Rings, even if the movies don't quite match up.



Why is Jason Statham going back to Crank? WHY?! He proved with this film that he can make solid action films, why go back? I mean I love stupid action movies as much as anyone (long live Tango & Cash!), but why go back to beef jerky after you've had steak? The Bank Job has all the feel of a classic 70's crime film, capturing the feel of the era flawlessly. I half expected Dirt Harry Callahan to show up (which would be the only thing that could've made it better).


Ben Stiller was never funny. Ben Stiller is still not funny. EXCEPT when he's directing apparently. I rarely, if ever, like R-rated comedies. What I do like is films about the movie industry itself. Especially when the are making fun of it. Hollywood has had self-satires in the past, but they always come off as insincere. But whatever the motivation behind this film, it works. Plus, if you're going to make a bold move by having a white character undergo race change, who better to pull it off than Robert Downey Jr.?



I never did understand how this film went so unnoticed. This is every kung fu geeks dream come true, their version of Freddie vs. Jason. Except, y'know, good. Sure, the undisputed kung fu king of the year was Kung Fu Panda, but The Forbidden Kingdom was still pretty cool. I mean, it's Jackie Chan fighting Jet Li! This would've have been the equivalent for me (a die hard western fan), of a film with a duel between John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.


A part of me really wanted to put this on my top ten, but there were already too many sappy films on it as is. A lot of incredibly heartwarming films came out this year, Slumdog Millionaire not the least of them. This is just one of them, but it's a good one. Despite what you may think, this is not a Christian film. It is more about the concept of faith. It portrays the people who see things like the virgin Mary in half-eaten sandwichs not as religious fanatics, but as good people who need something to believe in.




Why did people hate this one so much? I know I covered all this in my review of this film, but I found Quantum of Solace to be just as good as Casino Royale. Sure it had more action than the first, but that doesn't mean it was more action-oriented. It was every bit as character driven and well-written, even if they did crank the stunts a few more notches toward ludicrous.

Taken



It took me a while to decided whether to put this on my runners up, or my most-anticipated list. The most confusing thing about the end of the movie year is that is can be really unclear which year the film officially belongs in: the year is debuted or the year it went wide. But it's too awesome a movie not to mention, so ultimately I'm calling it a 2008 movie (don't worry America, you'll see it in theatres this month). Not many people think of Liam Neeson as a supreme badass, but he is. This film is basically a Bourne movie without a convoluted plot. And a much more menacing main character at that. Seriously, don't mess with this guy.


What about you? What where your favorite movies of 2008?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top 10 Anticipated Films of 2009

Just a quick disclaimer: No one voted on this. This is not based on any public consensus, it is purely my opinion. It's my opinion that you guys should stop focusing on the big Hollywood blockbusters, and really look at the upcoming lineup, look for those potential hidden gems. So if your offended not to see films like Harry Potter 6 and Transformers 2 on the list, get over it. And now without further ado, the list:



10. Black Dynamite

This looks like everything Grindhouse should have been. That Tarantino/Rodriguez project was an admirable experiment, but somehow it never clicked, at least with me. Maybe it's because i never liked zombies films or slasher flicks. I'm more of an action guy. And in the way of stupid grindhouse action movies, this looks like a dream come true.



9. Monsters vs. Aliens

Basically the 50-Foot Woman, the Blob, the Fly, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Mothra team up to fight aliens. Does it get much more awesome that that? Dreamworks animation has had their share of bad movies, but with Kung Fu Panda, they proved that they are capable of great things.


8. Give 'Em Hell, Malone

Thomas Jane is so underrated. He's a great actor, one of my personal favorites. And he shines his best in the action genre, at least that's my experience. Plus the fact that, with Clint Eastwood retired, this is pretty much the closest we'll get to another Dirty Harry film. Sure it looks a little under-funded, but that can often be a plus.


7. Terminator Salvation

Can James Cameron's shoes be refilled again? Well, the PG-13 rating and a lackluster television spin off initially suggested no. But Live Free or Die Hard worked out fine, and the trailers look very promising. Besides, how can you go wrong with Christian Bale? Of course, his last post-apocalyptic film was the less-than-stellar Reign of Fire, but still.


6. Rambo V

Now I admit that this seems like a bad idea. John Rambo's last battle felt like a perfect conclusion to the series. One of the reasons the Rambo series is my favorite film franchise is because it hasn't been done too death...yet. Still, I can't deny a desire to see my favorite commando on the big screen. I trust Sly. You should too.



5. The Road

Viggo Mortensen. Oh, you need more? OK, how about: sunless post-apocalyptic setting, Lone Wolf and Cub-style father-son story, Reaver-type cannibals running around, and a source book written by the author of No Country for Old Men. Oh, and Charlize Theron. Got your attention now?


4. Avatar

James Cameron and science fiction go together like peanut butter and jelly. Just look what happened when he tried his hand at a period piece? I mean, sure, Titanic was they highest grossing movie of all time, but that doesn't change the fact that it turned a real human tragedy into a cliche teen soap opera. So it's nice to see the man doing what he does best.



3. Up

Pixar never fails. Sure they've stumbled a bit here and there, but have they ever had a genuine total failure? No, of course not. This film seems like a combination of Around the World in Eighty Days, and The 21 Balloons, and looks like the perfect timeless adventure epic that could possibly challenge even WALL-E.



2. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Heath Ledger's REAL last film. Maybe not his last completed film, but his true last film, nonetheless. Not only is it basically a tribute to the late actor to allow audiences to say goodbye properly, but it looks to be an incredibly artistic, visually stunning film. Did you expect any less from Terry Gilliam?


1. Watchmen

The greatest graphic novel of all time is finally getting the cinematic treatment. No wonder the hype is so big. Fans have been speculating about this thing forever, with their reactions ranging from joy to rage. Obviously the choice of Zack Snyder to direct was a controversial one, but I have faith in him. This will either be an epic failure or an epic masterpiece, either way it's a can't-miss event.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Wolfman, Inglorious Basterds, Sherlock Holmes, Public Enemies, Where the Wild Things Are, The Lovely Bones, Ninja Assassin, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Incredible Love, 9, Franklyn, and Clint Eastwood's next project (as a director) that doesn't have a name yet.

What about you? What movies are you looking forward to this year (I mean other than Transformers 2)?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Movie Review: The Spirit


So is The Spirit truly the worst superhero movie ever made? Watch my review to find out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

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