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Showing posts from September, 2009

Green Hornet Revealed

First look at Seth Rogen in character as Britt Reid's alter-ego The Green Hornet.
(Courtesy: Coming Soon)

Herman Melville and Office Space

Just from gleaning the surface of Office Space one would assume that there isn't anything simmering below the surface except for a raunchy work-comedy, but they would be wrong.
After the harsh critical reception of his greatest work Moby Dick Melville wrote a collection of short stories called Bartleby and Benito Cereno perhaps the greatest slam at the time against industrial America. Bartleby is the story of a Wall Street copyist who has his three employees proof-read and copy law forms. Shortly into the story Bartleby starts responding to work commands with, "I would prefer not to." Frustrated by his employee's subordination the Narrator tries to have him fired but Bartleby refuses to leave the office. The Narrator comes back the following morning to find Bartleby living inside his office. Bartleby becomes increasingly less apt to perform basic functions as eating after he is jailed for trespassing and dies in a jail cell. What at once starts out as a comedy has …

Page Says Stay in the Black on Inception

From an interview on Collider.com
Question: Are you still filming Inception?

Ellen Page: Yeah, it’s still going.

Is that a six month shoot?

Ellen: It’s about a five month shoot. We’re having a blast. We’ve shot in a lot of different places so it kind of feels like…you know you do your England leg and then your France and then we were in Morocco and now we’re in L.A. It is a blast and I’m having so much fun. Working with Chris Nolan is a dream. He’s amazing to work with and a lovely guy. There is no ego at all. He’s just a filmmaker. You know what I mean. And that is totally obvious in his films. He’s an incredible filmmaker…but working with him is such a pleasure and often me and the other cast members will reflect on just how excited we are just to be in his movie. I feel like a little kid.

I saw on YouTube a train going through downtown Los Angeles.

Ellen: My lips are sealed.

It looked very cool.

Ellen: Just don’t try and find out more. Just love it when it comes out in July. It’…

Where the Wild Things Are Gallery

'District 9' Best Picture?

USA Today, Variety, & Vanity Fair, all kinds of publications are making the push for this small alien flick to be nominated. District 9 was a thrilling ride, certainly. It was also an initially promising sci-fi flick that touched on the issue of apartheid in Africa, used hand-held verite style shooting effective and made good use of little known actors and improvisation to steer clear of cliche.

It sucker-punched you when Wikus Van De Merwe was tortured and forced to kill a "prawn" for nothing better than an opportunity to use the alien technology. It is a very cutting look at corporations in the vein of Alien, Moon and many more. BUT and it is a huge but the elongated chase-and-kill scene at the end does the film in.

The final thirty minutes of the film traded all of the above promise in for shooting pig kills and Michael Bay robot fight scenes. Some have made claims against the film for its "racist" overtones, but that is a lazy argument.

Films like The Dar…

DiCaprio Set for 'The Deep Blue Goodbye'

Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to star as Travis McGee, a fictional Floridian gumshoe who lives on a houseboat, in The Deep Blue Goodbye. The film is an adaptation of the popular 1964 novel by late pulp-fiction author John D. MacDonald.
McGee, a trusty and attractive 6′ 4″ bachelor, faces anxiety and financial woes and works as a “salvager” in Fort Lauderdale, collecting monies and property for his clients. The plot revolves around treasure buried in the Florida Keys during WWII, a murderous felon who catches wind of this while incarcerated, and an eventual showdown between the two.
DiCaprio has gotten a lot of consistent great work recently, but it it will be nice to see him playing a not-so-serious character for once.

Review: Surrogates

Surrogates are the biggest technological advancement in years. This particular advance allows people to look like whatever they want and do anything they want due to the safety of the robotic bodies. Another side effect of surrogates is that crime has been virtually extinguished. Surrogates have seemingly ushered in a perfect society.

Even in this perfect society, there are functions of society known as Dreads, hyper Christians who ceased to be a part of society after the Surrogate craze. They follow the Prophet (Ving Rhames) who is waiting for the right movement to revolt.

After the murder of surrogate inventor Dr. Lionel Canter's (James Cromwell) son, Special Agents Greer (Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell) are left to investigate the first homicide in five years. The murder weapon in question is an electrical device that wipes out the surrogate fail-safes that protect users from dying. After learning that the suspect in question is a "meatbag", Greer heads to the Dr…

Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

As a movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs isn't great. It was fairly entertaining, but didn't manage to achieve the broad appeal characteristic of Pixar films.
The film did take on some pretty heavy themes, if you reach a little. Traces of arguments against the green revolution's farming practices, genetically modified foods, political corruption, global warming and foremost overconsumption were addressed. None of these is discussed in any detail.
But in general the film was just an excuse for some crazy visuals, padded with stock childish humour. I give it 1.5 / 3 Mr. Creosote's:


The Vault: Raising Arizona

H.I. McDunnough is a feckless criminal who in the opening sequence is incarcerated for robbing a convenience store. There he meets Ed (Holly Hunter) a policewoman  who is currently engaged, but she clearly takes a liking to him.

Once "rehabilitated" HI is released, robs the same convenience store that he was arrested for before and is sent back to prison. This time Ed and her fiancee are having problems and HI sees this as an opportunity. After being released for the second time and then arrested for the third time for robbing the same convenience store HI proposes to her and they are married. Life is etting steadily better for the frequent convict: he's working a steady job drilling holes at the plant (a very similar scene in Drugstore Cowboys in which Bob (Matt Dillon) gives up drugs and works at a plant drilling holes into metal) and comes home to his loving wife in the evening.
With all this beauty surrounding him, Ed feels compelled to bring a baby into the world t…

First Look at 'The Fighter'

The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg as boxer Mickey Ward. The film chronicles his several bouts against Sugar Ray Leonard. The film also stars Christian Bale as Ward's trainer and Amy Adams as Wahlberg's girlfriend.

(Courtesy: Paramount)

Review: Zombieland

Set in a post-apocalyptic zombie-ridden America that's long on gas, electricity and makeup, but short on twinkies and remorse Zombieland is a thrilling but shallow comedic romp.

It's a film that defies a lot of the conventions of its genre. This isn't necessarily a good thing, as the zombie genre generally has good conventions: the undead horde is often a good stand-in for social ills (see Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead). Zombieland fits in with many other films in the genre that don't try too hard to make a social message. It's in good company; plenty of films like this are entertaining, but I was a bit let down by this aspect.
If title sequences got academy awards, Zombieland would win hands down. The title sequence is simultaneously beautiful, funny and horrific, and should not be missed.
The film was supremely entertaining, but lacked the meaty substance that I'm used to from zombie movies.

See this movie, I give it 0.75 / 1 undead terrors.

The Vault: Brewster's Millions (1985)

All 30 million dollars must be spent within 30 days for Brewster to inherit $300 million. At the end of the month, he cannot have any assets, and he can't destroy property, gamble too much, or give it all to charity.
He also can't tell anybody why he, a washed up minor league pitcher living on less than $11,000 per year, is spending his money so fast.
The setting is made for a fast-paced comedy that's long on fantasy and filled with enough misunderstanding to power a comedic space race.
Richard Pryor plays a man doing all he can to make the best of a crazy situation. John Candy plays the best friend who is looking out for what his percieves to be Brewster's best interests. Brewster's Millions is a great film:

3.5 / 4 big piles of money.

The Zoroastrian Dialectic in 'Observe and Report'

Many films are based on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Several films focus on the idea of the Übermensch, notably (and most obviously) Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. Übermensch was a idea that Nietzsche proposed in his novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra, arguably one of the most influential philosophical works of all time, (and infamously an inspiration of both Wagner and Hitler).
Aside from Rope, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Being There are two other fantastic films meant to recount an aspect of the tale of Zoroaster. In each of these, a naive person or civilization is exposed to an event that opens their eyes and impels them to change themselves into something more than they already were, thereby they attain a new level of being and enlightenment.
A similar event occurs in Observe and Report, wherein the protagonist Ronnie Barnhardt, a mall security chief, is exposed (both literally and figuratively) to a series of eye-opening experiences. It's an interesting retelling of the sto…

Patrick Swayze (1952 - 2009)

Patrick Sawyze died last night at the age of 57. Swayze famous for his roles in Point Break, Ghost & Dirty Dancing passed away peacefully with his family at his side. Rest in peace, Patrick.

Ye Olde Vault: Kate & Leopold (2001)

The entertainment industry makes a lot of money selling fantasy. From a young age, viewers are inculcated with a desire to live a fantasy life and indoctrinated with fantasy lifestyle propaganda. The effects of this desire to live a fantasy life are far-reaching and mostly negative, but outside of the scope of this article.
As a business venture, fantasy films follow some of the most well-worn paths of literary canon. However, as with any business, there is room for innovation to attract new customers. And lo, the science fiction / Cinderella crossover Kate & Leopold is conceived. It's a modern-day period piece rom-com.
It's essentially a star vehicle for the then waning, now waned star Meg Ryan, contrasted against the then waxing, now waxed star Hugh Jackman. The film also features Liev Schrieber as the quirky time-travel discoverer.
The film has enough late-nineteenth century repartee to hold a viewer's attention, but it lacks intellectual and emotional depth.
I giv…

Review: 9

A compassionate doctor leaves his legacy on a world destroyed by a war between man and machine, through these nine hand-stitched puppets the doctor lives on.

9 (Elijah Wood) wakes up in a daze, there are no humans left in this post-war world. 9 is not alone though, he has eight predecessors to keep him company. 1 (Christopher Plummer) is the de facto leader of the group, but 7 (Jennifer Connelly) often subverts his will. The rest of the cast are unique, but only in voice, their appearance is hard to tell apart in the more harried scenes.

9, against 1's wishes, wants to explore the regions surrounding their home. He eventually convinces the others, but not at the cost of losing one of their ranks on the trip back.

The doctor created these puppets to create some semblance of goodwill, but the puppets' world is dominated by a misanthropic entity called the Beast. The Beast is the leftover from a Dictator and 1-9 worry for the fate of the doll who didn't make it home. The Bea…

The Vault: Sunshine (2007)

Certainly Danny Boyle's most ambitious film to date Sunshine did not do well at the box-office, but has since developed a cult status after being released on DVD.
It is fifty years in the future the Sun is dying and so is Earth. After the failure of Icarus I to re-ignite the sun seven additional team members are sent on Icarus II to succeed where they failed. Once in space however the team receives a distress signal from Icarus I and after Cpt. Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada) deligates that physicist Capa (Cillian Murphy) makes the sole decision to go after the second payload(weapon that ignites the sun) on board Icarus I, much to the anger of Mace (Chris Evans). The only problem is that after they set course to rescue Icarus I Trey (Benedict Wong) makes a fatal error in calculating and causes the shuttle's oxygen garden to be destroyed and results in the death of Cpt. Kaneda while he repairs the ships shield panels.

Team psychologist Searle (Cliff Curtis) diagnoses Trey as a suic…

From The Dank Depths of the Vault: Postal (2007)

Uwe Boll is widely regarded as the worst pop director currently making films. Nothing he has released has earned higher than 11% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Uwe is well aware of his reputation, and in my opinion, he wanted to make a film in the "So Bad It's Good" category. To this end, he made Postal, a film so directionless that it seems exceedingly long, despite its meagre 100 minute runtime.
With it's pointless nudity, gore and lowbrow humour, the film is geared toward Beavis and Butthead's crowd. Nothing in the film has even the least amount of merit. The plot meanders from non-existent to illogical and shares the screen time equally with non-sequitur comedic interludes. Don't be surprised that Vern Troyer shows up; his presence is the litmus test of a bad comedy that's run out of ideas (ref. most any Mike Myers movie).
In short, Postal is tied for 1st place on my list of Worst Movie's I've Ever Seen. I guess I deserved that, having only watched the …

Coens Adapting True Grit

Source: /Film
The Coens Bros. will be adapting a different take, telling the story from the view of Mattie.
Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross’s father, Frank, was killed by one of his own workers for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Though only a girl, Mattie travels to claim her father’s body, but finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find his killer. This will be the beginning of her search for revenge. Jeff Bridges has been attached to the role of Rooster Cogburn, made famous by John Wayne. How the Dude will pull this off I'm very curious to see.

It's great to see the Joel and Ethan Coen finally making their western. Now if Quentin Tarantino would make his next.

Shutter Island = Shock Corridor?

Probably only news to me, but when going through the synopsis for Shutter Island I found it to be remarkably similar to that of Shock Corridor.
U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. Teddy's investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As Teddy  is ever closer to the end of the case he begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.

Daily Globe Johnny Barrett aims to win the Pulitzer Prize for solving the murder of the inmate Slone, stabbed in the kitchen of a mental hospital with a butcher knife and witnessed by three insane interns. With the support of his boss and manager of the newspaper Swanson and the orientation of the psychiatrist Dr. Fong, Johnny simulates an incestuous situation with his stripper girlfriend Cathy, who is totally against the idea, an…

The Vault: Dunkirk (1958)

At once both a horrendous defeat and a miraculous victory, the Dunkirk evacuation was largely responsible for the Allies being able to go on to win the second World War. Such a pivotal event in world history almost demands dramatization. The heroism, bravery, and clashing luck and misfortune of the event work well when told as fiction.
13 years after the end of the war, a film synonymous with the colloquial name of the evacuation and based around the events of those days was released. As the operation involved hundreds of thousands of people, the script takes a wide view and follows several plots simultaneously but focusing primarily on two: A group of soldiers is trapped behind the rapidly advancing Blitzkrieg. They manage to get back into Allied territory, only to find themselves trapped on the beaches with hundreds of thousands of other soldiers, waiting for rescue.A group of civilians, some more willing than others, set sail for France to enact a rescue. It's far from the most…

The Vault: The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1999)

The Truth About Cats and Dogs asks the question: If you had to spend 3 years trapped in biodome with either the Playboy Playmate of the Year, or Time's Woman of the Year, which would you pick?
Uma Thurman plays a well-intentioned, but shallow model. Janeane Garofalo plays an intelligent, well-read radio show host, who is terrifically insecure about her appearance. Not wanting to be rejected for her looks when meeting a love interest met through her radio show, she sends Uma in her place. The film ends as one would expect, and the whole thing is reminiscent of this Nelson Mandela quote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinkin…

Gleeson Makes Directorial Debut

Variety reports Brendan Gleeson, of In Bruges and 28 Days Later fame, is adaptating Irish author Flann O'Brien's seminal metaphysical novel "At Swim-Two-Birds." Irish thesp Brendan Gleeson will make his directorial debut with the pic, a coming-of-age tale about a 19-year-old student who sees the fictional characters in the play he's writing intertwining with the people in his life. Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Gabriel Byrne have all boarded the $11 million project. Gleeson adapted the book for the screen and will also co-star.

Hanks Gets Lucky

Variety reports that Colin Hanks and Jeffrey Tambor have joined Lucky, the film will follow a "fledgling serial killer who wins the lottery and attempts to pursue his lifelong crush," presumably with the plan to kill her at some point afterward. And yes, this is a comedy! Ari Graynor, and Ann-Margret also join the cast, with Hanks playing the serial killer and Graynor as the crush.

The Vault: Outland (1981)

Marshal W.T. O'Neil (Sean Connery) is the new security guy on Con-Am 25 and little does he know that his wife Carroll and son Paul have both left to go back to Earth. Con-Am is a corporation that mines the moon of Jupiter for titanium ore and business is booming on Con-Am 25 all thanks to the leadership of General Manager Sheppard (Peter Boyle).

Essentially High Noon on a moon orbiting Jupiter Outland is one of the best cheaply made sci-fi films available.
Employees have begun killing themselves and going nuts mysteriously and it seems O'Neil is the only one willing to investigate the problem. Assisted by the crotchety Dr. Lazarus, O'Neil discovers that the problem is a amphetamine that is being secretly shipped into the base.
The problem is the amphetamine may cause insanity, but it also helps a worker get 9 hours of drilling in a 6 hour shift. So everyone has been looking the other way, including his "deputy". After an unsuccessful attempt to bribe the Marsha…