Thursday, August 23, 2012

Darth Schwarzenegger

That thing's been been a sure-fire picker-upper of mine for almost 2 years now, about time I help spread the word. Very well edited, extremely clever choice of sound bites, overall pee-in-my-pants funny.

So here y'all are, enjoy!

TV REVIEW: Bullet in the Face (2012)

It's been a week now since IFC aired over two night the entire 6 episodes of their latest original TV show, and I still can't decide if it's brilliantly insane or just a spectacular misfire. Series director Erik Canuel is known, at least here in Canada, as a guy who tries to make both the audience and financial backers happy, pretends to be edgy but delivers pre-cooked, unoriginal content that barely takes a chance. On the other hand, he works of the writings of Alan Spencer, the off-the-wall mind behind cult classic, ultra-violent fan favorite 80s show Sledge Hammer. So what the heck DID I just watch?

In an undisclosed country's fictional metropolis or Br┼ęteville, the only thing thicker than the permanent smog is the crime rate that turned the city into a war zone. Pigeons gets shot randomly mid-flight, jewellery stores are operator by ex-mossad agents and criminals are as ruthless as they are clueless. When the bloodiest of them, Gunter Vogler, gets shot in the face by his lover during a botched robbery, he is secretly transplanted with the face of a glorified cop he killed. The reason behind such a move, ordered by a lady police commissioner with ballpark-size daddy issues, is to fight evil with evil, pit Vogler against the two crime Lords who control the city.

If the plot makes little sense, worry not, it matters even less. Very quickly the characters, straight out of some Frank Miller nightmare, themselves highjack this series with twists and turns that feels like All My Children as written by Marilyn Manson. A lot of it is funny if only because it's much too insane to be properly criticized. And because Eric Roberts, for once, didn't take himself seriously either and is actually, absolutely funny. And a great contrast to series star Max Williams who perfected an impression of Robin Williams on a cocaine rampage.

Most of the targets from this satire are quite deserving but also way too easy and even uncomfortably NOT subtle, like the compulsive gamer kid hooked on energy drinks who goes out and shoots people for real; Colorado movie theater, anyone?  But then comes along Eddie Izzard who steals the show six ways till Sunday with an hilarious delivery rivaled only by some of the best lines I've heard on TV. Examples:

-We could name our child FIRE! and create mass panic whenever we call his name!

"You think you're GOD!" 
"No! HE thinks he's ME!"

-"Are you busy?"
"I'm in the middle of a woman!"  

-I don't want to live the rest of my life with a face I don't recognize. I'm not Mickey Rourke.

IFC probably didn't put much stock or faith in the series seeing as they dumped the whole of it on two subsequent nights. Yet I can't help but wonder the reaction generated had it been shown on HBO. It would have certainly caused some wildly divergent opinions, but what would the final word be - brilliant or just another sell-out attempt at attracting a hard-edge crowd?

REVIEW: The Expendables 2

The good news here is this one has an actual director, no offense to Sly who's marketed an entire career out of writing ONE decent screenplay which dumbfounded its way to an Oscar win almost 40 years ago. The bad news: that director is Simon West. As in the guy who got relegated to directing TV shows for 10 years after that painful Lara Croft movie. He returned to feature films last year for Jason Statham's Nth generic action flick The Mechanic (do yourself a favor and watch the generic Charles Bronson original instead), and has another movie coming out this year, a generic Nic Cage piece of shit action thriller. Good to know that some things will never change.

The original was flawed, but it was fun and it was made to please the fans; take a bunch of stretch-faced, steroided geezers from the 80s, add some wrestling goons trying to leave the ring behind, sprinkle two current action stars and an NFL retiree and top it off with the mob boss from one of the 3 highest grossing films of all time. Oh, and throw in one of Dexter Morgan's pals for good measure. Lots of big guns, outdo Michael Bay on the explosion count, some cool bikes and tattoos and you got yourself an entertaining -if brainless- crowd pleaser. Why not stop at one? Because there's money to be made that's why. I mean after all, Tony Scott (rest his soul) was on the verge of unleashing a second Top Gun, 25 years later.

30 years ago, cause for a global nerdgasm. Today, cautionary tale about quitting while you're ahead.

And like the aforementioned brain candy, this one throws logic out the windows in order to make room for spacious egos. In a way it feels like a 90-minute commercial, a montage of money shots aimed at making the 50+ crowd get up their fattening arses and go out to and buy some Viagra and other over-the-hill helpers. Heck, you even have a slow-mo shot of 72 year-old Chuck Norris walking out of some heavy smoke and badassingly taking off his Rayban sunglasses. You got Jean-Claude Van Damme performing random gratuitious roundhouse kicks to show-off his shiny Airwalk boots and Colgate smile. You got Bruce Willis and The Governator making fun of each other's 80s catchphrases while riding indoors in a brand spanking new zero-emission, noiseless electric car. You got the Stat dressed as a monk throwing some badass Henckels Five Star 8-inch kitchen knives to singlehandedly take down 12 bad guys. You got one-liners flying by so fast you don't even have time to register what's being sold to you. And somewhere in there you got a storyline. Something about revenge for Thor's little brother from Hunger Games getting killed. In some unidentified east-European area. Oh, and plutonium. Darn that stuff!

Chuck Norris Fact: If u drop a penny off the roof of the empire state building and hit Chuck Norris in the head it will ricochet off, kill u and hunt down your family.

To be perfectly fair, if you wanted more of the original (as in first one, not that is was original) you'll be quite satisfied with this sequel. If you thought beforehand they should've left it at just the one goofy, testosterone-sprayed entry, you'll feel vindicated. Personally I was entertained but strongly feel it must've felt much funnier and cooler in discussion stage with a few brewskys in the belly than it came out on screen. I also maintain Sly should lay off the juice and leave the boom toys to younger boys from now on; you had your comeback and your trip down memory lane, now go the Eastwood way and do good movies if you really must do some more.

Final Word: 5.5/10

Friday, August 17, 2012

There IS a God: Bill & Ted 3 is almost a reality!

I KNOW these films are exacerbatingly idiotic, AND the second one would be dead boring if it wasn't for, er... "Death", as played by the insanely awesome William Saddler. BUT I just cant help my unconditional love for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure!

Reeves mentioned casually, 2 or 3 years ago, that he'd love to revisit these characters in their forties and show them depressed, struggling to becoming the world saviors everyone was expecting them to be. Everyone had a good laugh at that but never expected it to actually happen. And then it did...

The guys not only have original creators Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson penned the script (which was recently reported to be complete) but BOTH stars are locked and perfectly willing, and now they got themselved a director attached. Galaxy Quest handler Dead Parisot (haven't done much since that, but I loved it SO much I'm still giddy as a dog in front of the fire hydrants store). GONNA ROCK!!!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Dark Knight...Bores.

I haven't really written up my thoughts on TDKR so far because everyone and their poodle already has, plus there seems to be a fandom embargo on saying anything remotely negative about Nolan's "Masterpiece". Even Rotten Tomatoes had to take down commenting on reviews for the film because negative ones were catching such nasty flack that some of those reviewers probably had to hire bodyguards. Enter David Cronenberg.

Truth be told, I respect the movie and can admit that technically and visually it is flawless. But it's also boring as hell. I could not care either way about those characters, aside maybe from Joseph Gordon Levitt who could be charismatic even if he played a McDonalds burger flipper with a booger up his nose. Nolan felt he had a story to finish and tried to make it just as good as the previous if not better. I LOVE The Dark Knight, I DO think that one is an amazing achievement, but now I understand the value of quitting while you're ahead.

So where does my man Cronenberg fit in? Dave's never been one to care very highly what people think of him. He got into a nasty divorce and his ex drained him dry, so he made a nasty horror movie called The Brood based on how he felt about her. A guy who can lay his personal life out like that certainly won't shy away from a negative opinion about something he's a master of (movies). And his opinion about the latest Bat sighting is less than favorable. Why did he experess it? God knows, but its high time somebody did.

 Says he, "I think it's still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don't think it's elevated. Christopher Nolan's best movie is Memento, and that is an interesting movie. I don't think his Batman movies are half as interesting, though they're 20 million times the expense… they're mostly boring. A superhero movie, by definition, you know, it's comic book. It's for kids. It's adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, you know, 'Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art,' I don't think they know what the fuck they're talking about."

I know, ironic coming from the guy who hired Edward Cullen for his latest movie, but still, not entirely wrong, is he?! Either way someone has to address the elephant in the room: we don't ALWAYS need three movies, especially when you KNOW the third one just can't be as good as the previous. I know, not exactly what Crone just said, but I do; I say stop making trilogies, there are plenty of other ways for Hollywood to rob me of my money. Like re-issuing DVDs and Blurays over and over again or making 3D movies just for the sake of charging more. Not that anyone's already thought of that....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Devil May Dare: Carnahan's out, Fox may follow...

Story I missed out on writing last week, figured I'd have plenty of time to write about it before anything comes out of it, turns out I was dead wrong. The crimson crimefighter's saga is in the final stretch of maybe getting out of the actual Devil's clutches. Yes boys and girls, Fox is on the verge of losing all rights to Daredevil. 

Long story short: Fox has been trying for a while to get a reboot going after the Mark Steven Johnson debacle that contributed to end the first leg of Ben Affleck's movie career. The studio that Murdoch built has auditioned lots of screenwriters and directors for the job, the latest of which was Joe Carnahan who even put together a kick-ass "sizzle reel", a clip formed from all sort of archive footage to give a clear idea of his concept. And it DOES kick-ass (see the video below). 

But that was last week. THIS week, Carny tweeted that studio execs don't share my opinion on his concept. Says the man, "Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids," before concluding "We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone’s side."

What he means by that last part is that Fox might've just blown their last good chance to keep movie rights on the character. According to the contractual obligations with Marvel, a new movie has to be in production before October 10 of this year, otherwise the rights revert back to Marvel, whom it so happens are Disney's new golden goose with a string of hits crowned this summer by one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. 

Kinda sucks that Carnahan's cool, Tarantinesque vision was turned down, kinda exciting that Marvel might be able to put the blind butt-kicker on the big screen themselves; can you imagine the global fangasm if they line him-up alongside the Avengers in their second outing?!? And hey, who says they can't hire Joe Carnahan  to give Matt Murdoch a better film than his namesake studio owner did?

Here are the aforementioned reel put together by Carnahan. Tell me this wouldn't ROCK!?!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

REVIEW: Magic Mike (2012)

I can hear very clearly even with earplugs the question burning the tongues of everyone who noticed my having watched a male-stripper movie: Why did I want to? The answer is just as obvious. Because it's a small-budget Steven Soderberg movie (ergo inevitably interesting) and it has tangerine-skinned hasbeen Matthew McConaughey in the most self-reflecting role since Kristen Stewart played a depressing klutz who wishes to become a soulless bloodsucker.

Yes, the male anatomy-lessons scenes are plenty, but uncomfortable only to those who think they can compete with someone who makes tens of millions a year and can afford an army of trainers and plastic surgeons to make them look like they makes tens of millions a year and can afford an army of trainers and plastic surgeons. If that movie had been handled by anyone south of some artistic competence, you'd have a strip show and about 15 minutes worth of story-telling. But in the hands of Sod the camera tends to get a life on its owns and the cinematography itself becomes a character as much as a storyteller. in this case, it turns a fluff piece into a diary into the probably-uncomfortable memory of its main star who also wrote the darn thing based on nothing short of his probably-uncomfortable memory.

James Bond: The Series, coming soon to Cinemax

I have to admit I can understand the jealous disposition of people who call Channing Tatum the second worst actor on the planet next to Taylor Lautner. Yet you can't ignore the fact that his ecclectic choice of roles made for a fast rise and a brilliant career strategy, which here reaches the next level with an involvement as screenwriter, producer, choreographer and star. And no, he doesn't suck, he plays his self-reflecting character almost as well as McConaughey who embodies a 45-year old stripper who's just as pathetic as he's aggressively shallow.

The weak point of the exercise, unsurprisingly, is Alex Pettyfer who, for reasons passing my understanding, is still getting work despite a nasty reputation and the undeniably proven inability to carry a movie in any way. He scored flop over flop since his premature debut and each time was partly (or mostly) to blame. In a way he does fit the bill perfectly, playing a brainless bozo with a knack for creating a mess wherever he goes and who inevitably bites the hand that fed him. If it wasn't for Tatum's onscreen charisma and Mac's semi-revisiting of the Wooderson persona, even Soderberg wouldn't have been able to save Pettyfer from himself. Somebody PLEASE cast this guy in movie starring Kristen Stewart and Hayden Christensen, I'll gladly pay IMAX fare to see that!

"Dude, if Rupert Sanders can hit that, so can you!"

Kudos to Joe Manganiello who takes a virtually silent supporting role and makes it a quasi show-stealer, and  to whomever put the soundtrack together. All in all an interesting, quick paced dramatic comedy that's worth the Little Movie That Could status it garnered this summer (over $50M in profits on a $7M budget), and worth seeing even for guys; if it helps in any way to remain feeling manly, the opening scene features a lingering, full frontal shot of Olivia Munn's fun bags.

Final Word: 7.5/10

Sunday, August 12, 2012

REVIEW: Total Recall (2012)

If this poster reminds you of Duncan Jones' brilliant mind trip flick Source Code, there the similarities end. This far no further.

Because when you remake a movie that was itself VERY loosely adapted from a cult-classic sci-fi short story instead of re-adapting the original story, you have to expect ending up more on the Uwe Boll side of the sci-fi/fantasy spectrum than the Stanley Kubrick one.And "Doctor" Boll will very much like this one: this movie is little more than a 104-minute video game. A crying shame for Colin Farrel who was on the comeback trail these last 2-3 years, but has so far failed to carry a film to both financial and critical success at the same time. I loved -LOVED- his turn on the Fright Night revisit, but that one barely made it out of the gate.

My generic dislike of the film doesn't stem from the fact that it's a remake -I'd completely respect the intention if it had brought something fresh and imaginative to the table- but from he fact that it's not even a clever, original or creative remake in any way. The 1990 Paul Verhoven film was B-Movie with lots of money, a fun, cheesy, amped up star vehicle that never once makes the mistake perpetrated by its unworthy progeny: It refused to take itself seriously. Len Wiseman, the American response to U.K.'s Paul W.S. Anderson (ironically, Anderson married an American walking plank while Wiseman stole boobelicious Beckinsale form the old continent, and her then-husband) tries to make the kitsch classic look and feel like Blade Runner, but ends up just north of entertaining. There's no humor, no weird, gross out shlock moments (a three-breasted tribute to the original fails to illicit any kind of reaction, good or bad) and no reason to care either way about those people. Although Kate Beckinsale, as the bitchiest bad babe since Kristen Stewart's rant against her own fans, does steal the show whenever she can.

And entertaining it is, relentless as well. From start to finish the film bombards us with incessant futuristic set designs and costly, spectacular visuals, including the two female leads whom the demo-target teen boys know as being among the sexiest ladies on the planet. When ti comes to actual plot points and storytelling, the exercise falls way short of even trying and thus makes this summer entry little-more than forgettable eye-candy which I wouldn't recommend paying $13.50 to see. Although it it impressive on a big screen I must say, but after 30 minute you start wishing someone else than the F/X guys had been paid to write the damn thing. Just wait until it comes to cable, and in the meantime have fun with Lockout instead.

Final Word: 4 out of 10

Sunday, August 05, 2012

SCENE IT: Luck of the Draw

One of the most iconic, best known and beloved lines in movie history, yet very few know how it truly goes nor ever actually saw the whole damn thing. So here it is, in all its glory, the "Punk" scene from Dirty Harry.