Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just because I like it...

No connection whatsoever to movies, I just like that video so damn much I had to post it.
Band is called Metronomy, song is The Look. Still can,t decide if that drummer chick is cute or creepy...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

REVIEW: The Hunger Games

I should start by saying two things. First, I didn't read the books; I tried but but but... the first 5 pages didn't grab me, a'ight!?! and that's usually my gauge for knowing if I'll like a book. Doesn't mean it's bad. Second, even without reading it I do agree with core fans that the film should've been  made Rated-R. I watched a movie where children -CHILDREN mind you- are sent by an authoritarian government to slaughter each other for entertainment, and I didn't quite feel the horror of that, not like when watching Battle Royale or reading Lord of the Flies. Maybe I was too distracted by Jennifer Lawrence's protuberant shiny cheeks, or the point is that we as a society have grown "comfortable" with this kind of violence. Which, granted, is a horror in itself.

For the few souls who don't know, the story is set in a post-apocalyptic future where North America has been redesigned into one rich and superfluous capitol which oppresses and enslaves poverty-stricken surrounding districts who decades ago tried and failed to revolt. As a means to keep them in line, each of the districts must send two juvenile tributes who will all fight to the death in a yearly televised event. The action thus follows the underdogs, the duo from the poorest district whose spirits and ingenuity will challenge more than the other contestants.

I have to give praise to Lionsgate who knew they were holding something special and went all-in by injecting $80M into it (their biggest investment ever) without however making it a Michael-Bayesque atrocity. Director Gary Ross already proved his chops at using tricky visuals to help carry a story instead of swiping it, and keeps a surprisingly steady pace for a 2h20m  film where the Games themselves only start at the half-way mark. He does however make it too sleek, sometimes even going Tony Scott-like with unnecessary shaky and blurry shots (at least one person in the audience had to "leave n' heave" because of it) and missing the mark repeatedly when he should've gone for far more shocking and arresting a narrative. He instead tries to romanticise the whole thing, Twilight generation requirement I guess.

"Toi et moi dans'l couloir, ta-tsa-na-na..."

What does serve the narrative and quite well are the incredible costume, courtesy of Judiana Makosvky whose  unique touch brought to life Harry Potter's robes and the X-Men's leather uniform. The clothing and make-up serve as in intentional indicator of  these people's politics, allowing to gradually discover their world through fashion instead of having it all spoon-fed to us wholesale. Where the district dweller's rags uniquely reflect each of their personalities, so does the Capitol citizen's overdone flash reminds us that they too are prisoners to their society's divide. Elizabeth Banks' universally concealing make-up and wigs can't be interpreted otherwise; her situation in life desperately depends on her self-torturing with corsets and booties that no one even today would dare risk their life with.

Speaking of Lizzie Banks, somebody please write her up for a Best Supporting Actress nod as I found myself unable to take my eyes off her every appearance, making her character far more complex than it had the right to be. Same goes for Woody Harrelson who arrested me with the singular use of his voice that conveys just how little life is left in his Games mentor character, showing us without visual aid the full horrors he himself was submitted to. As for the leads, Jennifer Lawrence is as solid and confident a choice as you could get for such a part, though her chemistry with co-star Josh Hutcherson never feels quite right. Maybe that was the point, would need to ask the book's fans in that regard. Not that I will. Sorry.

"Domo Arigato, Mr. Robot-O...."

All in all I was surprised at how entertaining and well crafted the film was, but found myself craving a more incendiary approach to a subject matter that does touch us all in this day and age: juvenile violence. Most surprising though is how wide-appealing it is, compared to it's shining-in-sunlight predecessor who mostly catered to a tweeny-ladies viewership. Definitely recommended, but not in IMAX. Leave n' Heave, you know...

Final Word: 7.5/10

Since no one will say it...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SCENE IT: Down With the Bridge


An epic movie which is large in scope and personnel, The Bridge on the River Kwai speaks of the code of honour amongst men during war, the respect shared by enemies of war, and the madness which war evokes.  All of it is embodied and summarized by the brilliance of Sir Alec Guiness whose performance here was completely over shadowed by a lesser though much popular turn in a certain space opera.

At the climax of a powerful film comes the most significant moment, a last looks of both confusion and hatred that sets the record straight on who the true enemy really is. Sir Alec would never be that towering again until George Smiley came along.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

REVIEW: 21 Jump Street

You know what? I'm too old for that Sh*t! Since we're talking about rehashing the 80s, it's completely à propos that I should express it. There's a good comedy in there somewhere, but it tries much too hard to both be self-conscious and cater to double-standards of demographics; those who grew-up with the show and want to dwell back in it a bit, and those who love the Apatow-crewesque onslaught of crude humor. I feel terrible for saying I hated it because it's not as terrible as I expected it would be. But  at the end of the day I disliked it greatly, probably because age turned me into Murtaugh.

The film follow a former high school nerdy loser and a former high school star jock who become friends at the police academy and partner after graduation (there's a missed gag right there, if you want to trash the 80s - get the Goot as the instructor for crying out loud!). And since those two are lethal weapons of a different kind, their chief ditches them into a revival of an 80s operation because no one has any original idea anymore so they just rehash stuff from the 80s. I swear to God they say that verbatim in the movie. So those two are sent to high school to snif out the makers of a lethal new drug, but the unthinkable awaits them: nerds are cool now, and jocks are just jocks. One of them gets to live his dream, to other gets to learn valuable lessons. Dear God....

The Good
There is some of it. None of it belongs to Jonah Hill, who should keep to support roles and let others write his dialogs in order to be invited back to the Oscars. The good belongs to Channing Tatum who continues to surprise me every time he does something that doesn't rhyme with "Beehive Schmoe". The dude's got real comedic chops and great timing, and knows better than to try and steal the show; he's a great sounding board for a co-star with greater comedic pedigree and I really hope the Coen Brothers are reading this so they can keep him in mind when they eventually return to funny movies.

The Bad
They just try so hard to be cynical it peels the paint off the wall. Like casting Ice Cube as a commentary on black stereotyping in movies by having him be the most annoying jive talking black guy since Chris Tucker met Brett Ratner. And Tucker shines in comparison. Same for the cracks at how comic books are now cool and the environment is hip. And how someone having his penis cut off is even funnier when he picks it up in his mouth because his hands are tied (it's not suggested, you actually see the poor thing lying there on the ground than in the guy's mouth). The film would've benefited someone wise and humble like Charlie Sheen telling them they're just making fool of themselves. Most of the gags fell flat and forced, and without Tatum's charming oaf it would've been downright boring too.

"I Pity the fool who makes a Mister T joke. I do"

The Ugly
I didn't expect Jonah Hill's writing to be on par with Jane Austen, but having the film's declaration that true manhood is attained by having the courage to shoot someone (in the privates, no less) felt strangely perverse and outdated. And akin to Palin, if I may take a swipe at my favorite hypocrite. The weirdest thing though ***BEWARE - I'M ABOUT TO SPOIL A CAMEO BY JOHNNY DEPP*** is a cameo by... Johnny Depp who pops as undercover agent Tom Hanson from the original show. And gets killed. Still can't figure out if he was paying tribute to the show that put him on the map, or simply flipping the bird at the biggest stain in his career. In any case, it just felt wrong to see him stoop that low. Richard Grieco though, it's always appropriate to make fun of him.

I'll admit it wasn't as horrible as I thought it would come out, but it's by no stretch of the mind a great comedy and will thankfully be forgotten fast as one more bad remake that nobody asked for. But it might also be the one to show Channing Tatum is much more than the dumb action star of a bad Stephen Sommers blockbuster.

Final Word: 4.5/10

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cronenberg Back to his Old Tricks? Teaser for Cosmopolis

A grand master goes back to his beginnings and a new idol tries to move away from his. That's the feeling I get from watching this 30-second teaser that just made Cosmopolis jump straight to the top-tier of my watchlist.

The film is based on a Dan DeLilo novel that received mostly negative reviews, ergo critics didn't like at all. But then again neither did snobs of yore appreciate Burrough's Naked Lunch, which is now considered one of the 100 most important American novels and made for one of Cronenberg's head-scratchiest. THAT alone says a lot...

So this thing down here looks like old school Cronenberg, gritty, dark, bloody, psychedelic and just plain out there. Reminds me of Videodrome mixed with Dead Ringers. It stars Ro Pat, visibly -and understandably- trying to offend his legions of Twihard followers, as a rich and disillusioned young asset manager on a limo ride across town to get a haircut. That's gist of it. Which means anything can happen. This could be the one to show once and for all if Pattinson's got game, and if there's life for Cronenberg after Viggo. AND it's got one of the more eclectic assortment of players seen in a long time: Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Jay Baruchel, Samantha Morton, Kevin Durand... Who else could bring those people together and make it work?!? Can't wait!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TAKE 5: Spectacular Flops (In honor of John Carter)

So Disney's pretty much thrown the towel in the John Carter vs The Box Office saga, announcing this week they expect losses in excess of $200M for the film (which felt like a shameless ploy to guilt people into going to see or buying the soon-to-come DVD), and are calling it their biggest flop ever. Which I feel is extremely unfair since it's actually really good (some have been calling it this generation's Star Wars) and I have yet to meet someone who hated it (someone REAL, not some online wannabe critic who writes on a blog with a stupid name, you know the kind...).

So in honor of the film , let's do a comparison:


5. Eric Clapton & Anheuser-Busch (1988)
Clapton hasn't really ever been an endorsement kind of guy, which made him the perfect spokesperson since he appeared as anything but a sellout. The guys behind Budweiser and other ales got their hands on him in '88 and had him sign a substantial contract for a marketing campaign that spread from TV ads to print media, cardboard cutouts, personal appearances and probably a swig or two on stage during his concerts. BUT before the first commercial even hit the airwaves, Slowhands had checked himself into rehab; he later said in interview that his struggle while filming it forced him into self-admission about his drinking problem. Awkward is an understatement and not exactly what Bud was going for, and the whole campaign folded rather quickly to significant loss. "Hey folks, THIS is a GREAT beer, though I can't drink it 'cause it turns me into an enormous douche who pisses his life away and beats the shit out of loved ones. But, you know, YOU buy it!"

4. BiC's Disposable Underwear
The BiC brand sucessfully extended its concept of short-term items to multiple products, like lighters or razors or ball-point pens. At some point in the 90's, someone on the top floor figured they should keep "pioneering" by extending said concept to things no one thought of before. First up: Boxer shorts. A post-mortem on the very-quickly canceled experiment had the company saying that people found the brandname association with private-protectors a little awkward. Or, you know, maybe disposable undies is a little too close to diapers and may be the stupidest idea since CBS moved Murder She Wrote to Thursday nights opposite Friends.

3. Sony's Betamax
Truth be told, Betamax was superior to rival VHS in audio and video quality, but it was also costlier, had lower capacity for recording time and Sony tried to shaft its competitors by imposing its technology as the industry standard, for which they were close to convincing the Japanese Ministry of Trade & Industry. JVC wouldn't give in to the monopoly attempt and 18 months later came out with the much more affordable VHS, which could already attain up to four times it's rival's tape recording time and also was much quicker to launch on the North American market. By 1981, 6 years after its debut, Betamax accounted to no more than 25% of all VCR sales, going down to 7.5% by 1985. By the end of the decade, Betamax was synonymous with failure, and a case-study in marketing Dos and Don'ts. Sony got its revenge however, when its bulkier and much-costlier Blu-Ray DVD mopped the floor with HD DVD not too long ago. And just to turn the knife and torture us a little more, they made Spider-Man 3...

2. Montreal's 1976 Olympic Games
For people outside my home province, the '76 Olympiads are synonymous with Nadia Comaneci and Sugar Ray Leonard, but to us it meant decades of taxes just to re-imburse the damn stadium that fell into decrepitude long before it was finally all paid for (which happened in 2006). The stadium tower, which was to be a monument to architectural advancement and ingenuity, was completed after the games and serves as nothing else but a touristic observation spot. '76 is still regarded as the most financially disastrous Games, leaving the city tens of millions in the red and forcing a complete rehaul of how Olympiads are managed, marketed and financed (now relying on the American capitalist model of the '84 venue in LA). Needless to say, when Quebec City was passed over a few years back in favor of Salt Lake (the year of the bribes scandal that forced out the almost entire International Olympic Comittee), taxpayers over here didn't mind at all. Can you blame us?

1. New Coke
There's failure, and then there's Fiasco. And somewhere a few rungs above that, there's New Coke. 200 years from now THIS is the example school teacher will use when explaining the meme of Epic Fail. THIS is the mother of bad business decisions.

Coca Cola felt the competition stiffening in the late-70s, with more and more companies releasing similar soft drinks, so they decided to move ahead and try to look, well..."New", by changing their recipe and ditching the old one. The results, unleashed in 1985, was a unanimous -and instantaneous- rejection by consumers, forcing the company to very quickly come back to the old formula which they dubbed "Classic" Coke.

The Wolverine teaser poster (?)

If it is the real thing, and the folks at Screen Rant say it is, well it starts off much better than the previous piece of shit disappointment that was the awkwardly titled X-Men Origins Wolverine. So this here is a snapshot of a poster that supposedly hangs in the office of one James Mangold, guy who did the Johnny Cash movie (just before Joaquin Phoenix gloriously destroyed his career) and also last year's Tom Cruise bummer Knight and Day (talk about awkward title...) who stepped in and took over the sequel/reboot/thank-God-they-know-it-stunk project when Darren Aronofsky slammed the door because... well because he's Aronofsky and that's what he does.

So anyway, film should be called simply The Wolverine, it,s supposed to follow the storyline of Logan looking for himself in Japan from the comic books (and animated show) and it starts production this Summer for release in July '13. So what do you guys think? I think it looks REALLY cool. I might even get excited (a bit) if it's the real thing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja E.T.? Michael Bay strikes again...

UPDATE: Michael Bay responded to wide-spread backlash on his official forum by saying, quote, "Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script." 
 I love it when a Hollywood gasbag who entirely depends on my money tells me to "chill". Classic Bay. Ethics have nothing on this guy.

No words. Just... watch.

Michael Bay talks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by stuffwelike

My childhood just threw up a little.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Summit Entertainment may sue you over OWNERSHIP OF AN ENTIRE DAY!

Be advised, forewarned and prepared: if you got out of your house at all to do anything on November 20th  2009, you illegally infringed on the property of Summit Entertainment. That's right buster, that day belongs to the studio that Twilight built, and they will not hesitate to remind you of that fact. So, what did YOU do that day? Huh?!?

Summit's been known to sue anyone (thing) that even remotely threads on the Twilight brand (even things containing the word Twilight from before the books even came out), but this time they cranked the crazy up to 11 by forcing an artist to take down a replica of her painting because of the date on which she created it. That's right folks, corporations are now copyrighting time.

The artist, one Kelly Howlett, was advised by hosting site that her painting had to be taken down from their site due to a letter received from the studio. The reason for the takedown was initially kept ambiguous, but after contacting the site's administration repeatedly until confirmation that nothing in her painting even reminds of Summit intellectual property (an oxymoron, if you ask me...) she was presented with the incriminating fact: her painting was dated Nov.20th, 2009, the same day as the theatrical release of New Moon.

Kelly fought back by putting it up on another site, and warning everyone through her facebook and twitter accounts that Summit was after that date. The Zazzle folks eventually woke up to the fact they had just bent over for something quite idiotic that seemingly didn't so much come from the studio directly but from a bot surfing the net on its behalf for possible infringement, and generating cease and desist threats to anything remotely emulating their stuff. They ended up re-instating Kelly's painting. Nice peeps. Just don,t expect them to have your back.

Here's a look at the painting that landed Kelly on Summit's radar.

Source: Bleeding Cool
Thanks to Mr.Whiskers for the find.

John Carter: What Happened?!?

I've been meaning to review John Carter since I caught it on opening day, but I doubt my review would've reversed the tide, and quite frankly I didn't expect such a commercial failure. I tremendously enjoyed the film, much-much more than any Transformers atrocity or most of the major blockbusters unleashed every year. It moves along and never bores, shows some impressive visual effects and creative cinematography, and sports a cast that rivals any Soderberg flick. It's an awesome piece of entertainment, which will sadly never get a sequel, not with a 30$ opening weekend on a 250M price tag. So what the heck happened?

First stumbling block would be the studio itself that completely fumbled the marketing campaign. The posters aren't bad, but none of them mention ANY of the powerhouse cast in favor of showing only the star which no one knows outside the elitist Friday Night Lights core fanbase. Neither is there mention that it's an adaptation to  an absolute classic of sci-fi adventure, one so iconic and beloved it's been ripped-off or stolen from by Hollywood for decades (did anyone really think Avatar was original?!?). There there's the title, which not only foregoes the Princess element of the book's title which would've attracted female viewership had they stuck to it, but also ignores Mars in order to call it only John Carter. Which conveys nothing, and interests even less. The romantic angle is never even hinted, the characters are never introduced (not even the cute dog-monster thingie) and without context it just looks like a big mess.

Then of course there's the reviews. Those pesky critics. Most people will claim they possess an independent mind not influenced by overpaid "journalists", but with most "professionals" giving it a scolding, it certainly shows the Lemming mentality of our society if people who've actually seen it (well, at least all the people on the spot where I watched it) were entirely surprised at how good it was. The trades seem to have been struck with a case of blockbuster fatigue, or simply reviewed it without watching it, as many simply called it "more of the same". Of COURSE it's repetitive, it's based on a 95 year-old novel that every Hollywood screenwriter and director copied at one time or another. That doesn't make it bad, especially not with Andrew Stanton negotiating himself a blank check to make the film he truly wanted without studio roadblocks everywhere. Here's a funny comparison: G.I.Joe: Rise of Cobra, the 4th biggest load of cr*p in 2009, was NOT screened for critics and sure enough ended its run with $302.5M. Ergo no reviews is much better than bad reviews...

"You're right, Nic Cage movies look better from far far away".

Last but certainly not least: the release date. January and February are months of sadness in terms of movie-going, only bombs and "mistakes" get released there. And that usually splashes onto early March, no one expects a great movie there. This is a Summer-Blockbuster type of film, and should've been released as such, but audiences, dealing with the first Daylight Saving weekend of the year and having recently dealt with Spring Break, saw the "Ghost" of Nic Cage in it and promptly decided to stay warm and cozy at home. Which in turn negates the usual word-of-mouth that usually brings a large portion of the film's business. Only word of mouth here was that critics hated it. Whether we like it or not, people have gregarious instincts, crowds follow crowds and sheep will always be sheep. If no one goes, no one will want to go, simple math.

Hopefully Disney will get it together in time for the DVD release and give that a more proper marketing push. I doubt it'll be enough to warrant even one sequel, but at least then audiences will discover this film for themselves and realize what too few people already know: this is movie is awesome fun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

SCENE IT: I Always Wanted to Be a Gangster


I have a confessions to make: I didn't really like Martin Scorcese back in my younger years of being an arrogant know-it-all teenager. I just didn't "get" his movies, much too dark and slow-paced for my taste, so aside from Color of Money nothing of his really made my grade. Until I was 17.

I caught Goodfellas late at night on cable, nothing else to watch and too bored out of my mind to grab the remote. I didn't know what the film was, but the opening shot made me curious. Why is this car careening all over the lane in the dark? What's the guy from Field of Dreams doing with Al Capone and Leo Getz?? And then they pull over and open the trunk... The final blow: Ray Liotta's narration. BOOM I'm a Scorcese nut for life.

Today's Scene It: The game-changing opening scene from Scorcese's masterpiece Goodfellas.

Goodfellas - Intro from Arnprior on Vimeo.

So I just watched the trailer for Dark Shadows...

...and I can't really blame anyone for my expectations being what they were, but still, what the f"%$?!%! For some reason I was expecting this to be Sweeney Todd with more bloodsucking and less singing. But this...This is Rip Van Winkle: Disco Inferno

I'm honestly VERY disappointed. Not because it looks bad (well, it does a little) but because I was expecting  -Nay, HOPING for a movie version of the dark supernatural thriller of a soap this was based on. Burton did great comedy in the past, but a comedy is not what fans wanted from this, especially not a spoof of the cult show as opposed to, say, an adaptation. I was wondering why we still hadn't seen a trailer yet with barely two months to go before release, and now I know.

Hopefully this trailer is merely a misfire that crammed the entire film's comic relied in 90 seconds, allowing me to get the wrong impression. But for now it's the only impressions I gots, so this one's going down from Must-See Top-5 to Coin toss between this and Battleship. Yeah, THAT bad. Check it out below and sound off with your own thoughts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

REVIEW: The Grey (2012)

I've been shamefully sitting on this one for over a month when I really should've written it right away, if only to allow one or two more movie geeks to discover this unexpected breath of fresh air. I should warn you beforehand: I'm gonna gush over how much I didn't expect to love that movie! For once the fraudulent marketing was worth taking the bait: it's much better than what they tried to pass this off as.

First off, forget about the marketing campaign. They did a job good of selling it, but the movie they sold is absolutely not this one. The trailer made it look like an action-pack thriller where Liam Neeson spends the movie kicking furry butts, when the truth is this is NOT an action movie, and Neeson only kick metaphorical ass. And that he does en sacramament (pardon my french). I guess it was the right move to defraud the audience, because after all winter movies are usually not worth wasting your time with; the studio HAD to capitalize on the recent similar Neeson thrillers like Taken and its weaker little brother Unknown. This isn't a fun or uplifting or thrilling film; it's a thriller for sure though.

The film follows Neeson as the appointed hunter in a remote Alaskan oil outpost; his job is to the wildlife that could potentially threaten the workers, but as he points out himself the biggest danger in these parts are the men, brawlers and lowlifes who wouldn't fit anywhere else in society. He and a group of workers board a plane back to the mainland, but as fate would like it the plane crashes, leaving a small group of them to fend for themselves in the middle of the frozen tundra. Things get even more hopeless when a pack of vicious wolves take an unhealthy interest in them. 

Yes, the synopsis does keep in line with the trailer, but this isn't a story about men versus nature, but instead of man vis-a-vis his own nature and especially his own mortality. The storyline and events are sometimes far fetched and perhaps even unrealistic, but never does director Joe Carnahan aim at depicting real-life survival in the cold. The elements and hazards encountered are meant to reflect on just how far our spirits will take us when faced with the inevitable: we ARE all going to die, it's nothing but a matter of how and when. 

This is thankfully not the Joe Carnahan of Smoking Aces trying too hard to be the hottest thing in town since Tarantino; this is very much the Carnahan of Narc, who uses the visual medium to tell a story that definitely feels personal to him. The hopelessness of the situation and characters is sharply contrasted by an amazing scenery that never reeks of CG trickery, and is carried along by an absolutely haunting score. It all combines to such a palpable sense of dread that the whole thing sometimes feels like a horror movie, where the cheap scares are replaced by the actual horror of watching what we already know will happen, what we known can not be avoided or changed. 

Recent chatter claims that the director knows the film was mis-marketed AND released at an odd time, and intends to put it back on the big screen in October to generate some Oscar buzz. I doubt the Academy will bite much to that bait, but I do feel there's acclaim to be awarded here, if only for Neeson's uncompromising performance as well as supporting player Dallas Roberts who keeps stealing scenes in every film or TV show lucky enough to have him. Actually, the whole cast contributes to my surprise toward the level of quality involved in this film. 

As beautiful as it may be, The Grey is again not a film to be cheerful from. it is dark, bleak and provides an chilling look behind the curtain of our refusal to admit, most of our lives, that no one escapes this life without death at the end. The question that will remain is how will we decide to face that end. 

Final Word: 8/10

TV Show You Might Not Know: Comic Book Men

For some unexplained reason I never managed to catch on to the "Reality TV" fad, either because it's anything BUT or because watching it would confirm my suspicion that the human race is even more pathetic that we think. I AM however a fan of Kevin Smith, not so much of the man himself (his wife even less, I must admit) but his films and especially his stories. Smith's greatest talent is talking, and he parlayed his fame as the "Clerks Guy" into a lucrative notoriety as a storyteller during conventions, Q&A sessions held throughout the world and a series of podcasts that gave birth to a whole network of talking heads under the Smith banner. If you're a geek and a fanboy, you just can't ignore Kevin Smith's contribution into that "universe".

So the next logical step was to take his talking heads concept to television. AMC, which does not require millions of viewers to consider keeping a show, gave his new series Comic Book Men a prime spot as the tailgate to its flagship hit The Walking Dead (BRILLIANT move if you ask me), and I just this past weekend  discovered the darn thing. Liked it so much I downloaded (YES, downloaded, so sue me I don't get AMC here in Parasite Land) all 5 episodes already aired and watched them in one sitting.

The concept is pretty simple: cameras are set-up at Smith's New Jersey store Jay & Bob's Secret Stash, and capture the geeky shenanigans perpetrated by his buddies who maintain and populate the store (among them Bryan Johnson and Walt Flanagan, also known as Steve-Dave & Walt from Smith's earlier movies). It surely won't appeal to people who despise the man to begin with, but anyone who appreciate his particular humor or simply a good ol' fanboy debate should check this one out.

Here's a quickie look at the show, while the next episode airs this Sunday at 10:30pm EDT.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dear Cougar Town: Kiss my Quebecer derrière

Don't know who's responsible for this -writers Bill Lawrence & Kevin Biegel, Star&Producer Courtney Cox, ABC network that airs it or just some disgruntled exec who needs to vent out some marital or financial frustration and chose the easiest target. Whoever is responsible, Cougar Town went too far with it last night.

We get it, we get the f*cking point: Hollywood, chosen medium of God who are the light of this world and without whom the planet would stop spinning and revert back to the dark ages, hates Quebecers. We get it, you don't like the millions (yes, MILLIONS) of Canadian dollars we pour into your FAILING  AND WEAK economy, you hate that we're regarded by the rest of the world as the friendliest people on the planet while EVERY other country hates the living shit out of you lot, you hate that nobody here carries a gun and yet you will hardly find a safer place on Earth, you HATE us. Trust me, it's not like we didn't know, we live right next to "y'all".

We get it, it's neither subtle nor any kind of original. Every American TV show I've ever watched has made a crack at us. BUT any of the jokes made in that episode last night would've NEVER EVER EVER been made toward any other ethnic group on the PLANET. "Why is this place always filled with Chinks?" No, won't hear that. "There's no spot on the beach, there's too many WOPs!" Nada. And let's not get started on the N word. That's the gospel truth: Quebecers are the last nation you can make fun of without anyone -ANYONE- protesting it it any way. Hell, it's even encouraged, by our own f*cking Federal Government who refused to condemn Conan O'Brien in any way when he came here and called us all a people of "faggots and perverts" to our faces. Though you bet your sweet ass they were up in arms when Billy Bob called the rest of Canada a bunch of Mash Potatoes WithoutGravy, whatever the Hell that meant.

We get it, and I can take a joke, I really do. One crack at us would've been funny. Hell, even three. But I counted 12, and not just jokes; we were physically depicted as a bunch of embarrassments on legs.No wonder your own MPAA doesn't want the rest of the country to see the documentary Bully: that's what this is, Bullying, picking on someone who doesn't pose any kind of threat (it's not like we have nukes or 16 covert agencies spying on everybody else), kicking the shit out of them because it makes you feel bigger and better in your ego. Look at me, Look at me!!! I crapped all over those stupid French Canadians!!! I'm tough, aren't I?!?!? And by the way, I speak 4 languages and never EVER EVER met a full grown Quebecer who doesn't speak any English, because unlike some neighbouring country I won't name we embrace the world we live in instead of trying to dominate and exploit it. Good luck finding a goddman Yank who could ask for directions over here, though.

I used to be a fan and vocal supporter of that ratings-deficient show. That might be why they hate me so much. Who needs people to pay for your product, in this economy!?!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Avengers meet Winnie the Pooh

Watercolor artist Charles Paul Wilson (the 3rd) used his considerable skills to imagine what some Marvel heroes and vilains would look like had they been imagine by Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne. Check out his sketches right down here, or head over to Wilson's Deviant Art domain.

Tweet of the Day

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Swayyde's P.O.V: Act of Valor (2012)

Gal-Pal Swayyde, resident reviewer and all-around cool cat over at, agreed to drop a few nuggets of her opinions on some of the many movies she regularly sees. THIS is her point of view regarding recent release Act of Valor.

Hey Fam,

So it's been quite some time since the kuicklysynkingfloater that I have written anything. Today, I think I may try to go on a little spree.

I'm going to start with Act of Valor.

I would say that my first mind was a tad dubious; my initial feeling of "How are you going to get active-duty Navy Seals to act?" being the question that pushed me into my seat. Well, they're not very good at it, actually you can pick them out cause they can't deliver a believable scripted line to save their lives. The very first conversation in a bar was so forced that it actually tickled me to watch them try... and I actually loved them for it. I love the concept of getting the real deal fellas to do this. Now when it came to actual actors acting, it was a bit refreshing delivery-wise. Jason Cottle did an excellent job of being the enemy you love to hate. Roselyn Sanchez (gorgeous as always) was a perfect damsel in distress. Alex Veadov did a nice greasy job of being greasy.

So then now we get to the interesting part. Supposedly this movie is inspired by true events. I always have my doubts when it comes to military propaganda, but anyways, Act of Valor is about an extraction and stopping a coordinated terrorist attack that gets very close to home. Regardless, the action scenes were awesome, and right away puts a little perspective into why they chose actual Active Duty Navy Seals to do this flic. I honestly can say that with every warfare movie I have scene, none of them have (to me) the palpable sense of team camaraderie as this film does. Other films can convey it well, even bring us to tears with it, but there is something about looking at the real thing that changes the essence of what we're seeing. You can tell these guys know each other, work together, respect each other, and are a brotherhood. What they are lacking in script delivery is nullified by the smoothness of their delivery, or should I say, their second nature in everything else. It was a pleasure to watch and discover.

When I think about it, it's a bit ironic that as movie lovers, we see it all; Action, Drama, etc. And at the same time I'm left here with the sensation that we really don't see much. In Act of Valor, I discovered some men of few words but all about doing. They're not the industry glorified heroes with signature punch lines and intense (or not) character development. These guys are kind of just are who they are. Even though the movie attempted to put a couple of those men forward out of the bunch, it is still the bunch in their elements and their symbiosis that stuck out to me.

Definitely worth going to see at the movies.

To contact Swayyde regarding her P.O.V. or to obtain her chocolate chip cookies recipe, drop her a line in the comments and if you're worthy of her awesomness she might read it. 

REVIEW: Goon (2012)

So I was watching Goon and starting to get a little bored, to the point where I got seriously focused on clipping my nails and then cleaning up the stubborn little dirt that keeps hiding under them, and I realized why I was getting so bored: I was dead sober. No, I didn't get skunk drunk to finish it off, but I did try to remember the way I felt  when I first watched  Slap Shot. Which I couldn't. Because THAT time I was skunk-drunk. Maybe, just maybe, it's because playing glorified Hockey violence for laughs just isn't a safe bet in this day and age.

As is often the case, the claim that the film is based on a true story is a bit of an overstatement; the only element of truth this has is the bare-bones plot: a no-education burly brawler becomes -almost by accident- an enforcer for his local Hockey team even though my grandmother's shiatsu drives better than he skates. The real-life goon is named Doug Smith, while his counterpart is renamed Doug Glatt AKA Sean William Scott. He's a no-brain bouncer for a local dive who gets into it with a Hockey thug and easily takes him out, which wins him an invitation to step on the ice. Soon enough the bigger club calls him up to watch over their wimpy super star, a French Canadian (why are WE always the goddamn wimps!) whose confidence was shaken by ageing thug Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber). As Doug impossibly leads his mates toward a playoffs spot, he also races toward an inevitable confrontation with the veteran he's pushing out of the game.

Maybe my dislike stems from the fact that right form the opening we're treated to an overindulging Jay Baruchel who uses his status of co-screenwriter to take off the gloves and allow himself every and any crudity and impropriety, as if exacerbated by having done a high-priced Disney Bomb 2 years ago and quite eager to give the mouse the finger. I like Jay, homeboy hails from my beloved Montreal and even filmed his first TV show in my hometown (which, ironically, was called My Hometown...) but right out of the gate he tries -way too hard- to position himself as the indie-movie version of Seth Rogen. Here's a tip Jay: everybody's sick of Rogen's shtick, so please clean up your act.

"It's not my fault! I had to do an entire film with Nic Cage and he f*cked me up!"

Or, as previously stated, maybe it's just the fact that everything centres around the glorification of a guy whose only possible talent is to beat the crap out of others. But he's not a bully, will the producers say, he's a really nice guy who just happens to break jaws very well. Sure, of course, right. But couldn't you ask someone to actually write you a movie? I mean with actual dialogue. OK, maybe keep one joke or two (the 69 Jersey joke was easily the funniest one), but overall... You know what, I know what's bothering me: It's not written by Kevin Smith. Ive been waiting for Hit Somebody for SO long I've subconsciously allowed myself to hope this would be View Askew quality.

Did I like something in it? Yes, I did. Liev Schreiber with a handlebar 'stash. The dude looks so cool with that ugly thing hanging form his nose it was enough to make me forgive the atrocious attempt at a Canadian accent. Want a tip too, Liev old Buddy? There IS no Canadian accent, and we certainly don't sound like we're all Irishmen raised in Australia by Austin Powers! But, you know, otherwise his solid, layered and even funny work is the saving grace of a film that should've been much funnier, and is quite frankly the funniest minor-league Hockey comedy since Slap Shot, but certainly can't hold a candle to the latter.

"Yeu therrrrrr, whut arrrrr yeu toaking aboot? Meye moastatch?!?"

Overall I'd say worth the watch if you catch it on TV or on promo night at the video club, but otherwise I'd suggest waiting for Smith's career opus (he vowed it would be his final film), which hopefully will get made before the end of the decade.

Final Word: 4/10

4 Bat-Films That (Thank God) Never Were

As I unfortunately reminded myself yesterday, there's still a good four months away before Chris Nolan's insanely anticipated final Bat-Flick, and with the wait becoming unbearable I thought I'd turn anticipation into appreciation for this film instead of a quartet that we could've had. So here's a list of the 4 batman films that came this close to the multiplex.

 1. Ivan Reitman's The Batman (1985)

With Ghostbusters knocking it out of the park so spectacularly, Jason Reitman's dad was in a position to pick any project he wanted and have it greenlighted any way he wanted. And what he wanted was for his 3-time comedy star Bill Murray to play Bruce Wayne. Yes, you read that right. I can hear those clamouring that Michael Keaton  was a comedian too and he nailed it, but hold-off the bat-bitching for a moment; this was scheduled to be released in 1985, but pre-production began in 1983. Before Burton's Gothic re-imagining, before even Frank Miller's game-changing Dark Knight Returns. Add to that the casting of David Bowie as The Joker and Eddie Murphy in talks to play Robin and what you got is Billy Murray playing Adam West, NOT Bruce Wayne.

As often happens though, the film went into re-writes nine times, at which point Reitman had moved on to bigger and better things (like, you know, Kindergarten Cop and Ghostbusters II). Gremlins helmer Joe Dante came in to replace him but Warner quickly scrapped the whole thing and decided to start from scratch. Interesting to note that Tim Burton considered Bill Murray for his own take, before sticking to his Beetlejuice star instead.

2. Joel Schumacher's Batman 5 (1998)

Poor Joel. Like most people involved with Batman & Robin, his career never recovered (Clooney should get an Oscar just to recognize that he made us forget he ever was involved with it), and when Chris Nolan broke the bank with TDK, started jabbing that he could've done that had Warner let him. Part of me wants to say "Yeah, Riiiiiiight", but part of me also feels for the guy. After all the reason Burton stepped down from Batman Forever was that he refused to do a family-friendlier film and instead wanted to go even darker than his Horror-movie laced Batman Returns. SO basically Schumacher was contracted to make a 2-hour toy commercial. Forever was forgiven, but B&R was just too damn horrible.

Before the world-wide thud heard form the film's crash, Warner was already planning a fifth one with Joel yet again, called Batman Triumphant which would've see Clooney battle Scarecrow played by Nic "Wig Out" Cage. But of course that one was now out of the question, so Schumacher apparently went to Warner with another idea: Batman Dark Knight. That thing even went as far as a logo. BUT Warner (wisely) decided that audiences need to forget about the bad ice puns of Arnie for a few years before trying again.

3.Boaz Yakin's Batman Beyond (2002)

While the live-action Dark Knight was getting worse, the animated side of him couldn't have been better. On the heel of Bruce Timm's amazing Batman: The Animated Series and the equally successful JLA series, came the next generation as Terry McGinnis doned the cowl and suit 40 years after Bruce Wayne. Batman Beyond launched in 1999 with a highly entertaining DTV movie, and follow-up with a quite creative series that turned many of the Bat-clichés on their head while keeping the Dark Knight flame alive.

Since logic dictates that no successful title should be left unspoiled, Warner indulged series creators Paul Dini & Alan Burnett who turned in a script in 2001 with Remember the Titans director Yakin on board as well. By then though the darker & grittier idea of Batman Year One had already planted its roots in Warner minds, and the idea was indefinitely shelved (in other words killed).

4. Darren Aronofsky's Batman Year One (2002)

Poor Darren. Dude's been trying for A DECADE to bring his personal vision of a superhero to life, with three different properties, and each time it ended up the way of most Friday Night shows on Fox. His much-buzzed about Robocop couldn't survive MGM's financial woes (although that one's back on the books with a new director) and he slammed the door on his Wolverine sequel after Sony tried to coax a toy-marketing movie out of him. But before all that, there was The Bat.

Although sharing a title, his take would only borrow some elements of Frank Miller's iconic Batman Year One graphic novel. The reason it didn't work, believe it or not, is Aronofsky's insistance on going even darker than Miller. His Bruce Wayne becomes a crime fighter not out of duty and revenge but sheer insanity, driven mad by a childhood of poverty while mentored by "Big Al'", a gruff but kind African-American mechanic meant to replace the usually-rich kid's usually British buttler. Selena Kyle is a prostitute who comes to admire and emulate the new crime fighter, while Jim Gordon is a chain-smoking a-hole. Alright, so Aronofsky is regarded as a genius in Hollywood, but so was David Lynch when he made Dune (Oh get off it - he's the director, he gets the blame!). And THAT sounds like a bad batman movie from ANY director.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

SCENE IT: The Hallway Scuffle

Inception is THE vindication for fan boys and geek squads, a collective UP YOURS to Hollywood from all those who -quite rightly- considered overcostly crap like Transformers not worthy of flooring my cat's litter. It was definitive proof that high-price blockbusters can also be smart, complex and compelling films. I've geeked out about this one high and low for months after seeing it for the first of many many times, so I won't do it further here, except for that one scene the defines the arresting visual prowess displayed all throughout.
For those unfortunate lost souls who haven't seen the film, the scene take place in a dream, where the butt-kicking cool Joseph Gordon Levitt must protect his team who are in a deeper dream, while himself must be protected in the previous layer by a dude who drives like someone looking for a bathroom really bad. Therefore when "it" hits the fans, physics goes to hell and paves the way for a fight sequence that will continue to baffle for years to come. According to production notes, it took 3 weeks and over 500 stage hands to achieve that hallway fight scene. Watching it again cranks the anticipation for Dark Knight Rises up to 11. Watch it down here and sound off below!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Danny Trejo is Epic Beard Man!!!!

When the first trailer came out a few months ago I honestly thought this was a joke - Jimmy Kimmel doing his thing with the guy who'd already done a fake Machete trailer. But apparently it's the real deal: there's an official site and release date and everything. And a second official trailer. This is happening, folks!

For those who don't kow the background, this thing started with a viral YouTube video of an old white guy (since nicknamed Epic Beard Man), wearing shorts and a baby-blue t-shirt that says "Bad MotherF***er", who beat the living sh*t out of a black hoodlum who was harassing him on a city bus. If you're among the few humans who've never seen it, Check it Out Here.

Cut to 2012, where rookie filmmaker Craig Moss and indie shlock house Silver Nitrate hired Danny Trejo to play a suped-up version of EBM in Bad Ass, which uses the incident as a starting point (complete with baby-blue tee and fanny pack) to turn it into a Death Wish meets Harry Brown grindhouse actionner. Just to make it a geek must-see, it's got Ron Perlman playing the bad guy. And the always super-cool Charles S. Dutton uttering the original video's blood-faced catchphrase, "somebody call da amber-lance". Awesone. Gonna watch this just for the giggles.

Here's the new trailer, right down here.

Friday, March 02, 2012

What I wanna see in ...MARCH

Still somewhat in the Dead-of-Winter time of studios dumping their less fortunate projects, or at least the ones they've completely given up on. In other words, 'tis the season of Nic Cage. Not much AT ALL on my radar over this first weekend of the month, but as the thaw nears a few stand outs do attract my guise.

March 9
Director Lasse Hallstrom ended the 90s on a hot-as-hell streak with Cider House Rules and Chocolat, then stumbled into the 2000s with soporific misfire Shipping News, which set the tone for a decade's worth of critical and financial failures. He entered the current one on a rebound with the crowd-pleaser Dear John, so hopefully this quirky-sounding little film here will by worthy of its really cool cast. Escpecially with McGregor, a favorite or mine, hot-off the Oscar semi-success of Beginners

Impossible not to Love Kelly MacDonald, and David Tennant is one of those character actors that never -EVER- fails to deliver a highly entertaining performance. The quirky subject matter would make for a sore of a bore in Hollywood hands, but being handled by independent British ones make it a must-see for me.

Can't say I care much for director Tony Kaye who mastered the unwanted quality of being his own worst ennemy, but the rock-solid cast of this one added to a very gripping and off-kilter trailer sold me on accepting a screener to review­. And so shall I in the next few days.

This year's Twilight/Harry Potter, for all intents and purposes. I usually loath being a lemming in a movie-going crowd, but paint me curious to see if it lives up to the Japanese jaw-dropper that clearly inspired the books, Battle Royale.

Saw the trailer, didn't do much, but it's the premise of it -and the early-Carpenter vibe- that sold me on putting this one down to the watchlist. 

Actually seen it already, will be (trying to) post a review over the weekend.

I'm a sucker for off-beat documentaries (or just really good ones, like Ken Burns'). This one really intrigues me, so hopefully the very limited release scheme won't keep it from landing in my hands.