Beast Banner May/June 2007
ISSUE #116
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Features

ArrowLost in Translation
McCain's Iraq perception gap explained

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe BEAST Totally Irresponsible Guide to Campus Massacres
If it makes you laugh, you're a bad person!

ArrowParenti Guidance
Our interview with Michael Parenti

Josh Bunting

ArrowTrail of Tiers
Disgrace for the WHite House!

Matt Taibbi

ArrowA Graphic Guide to Democratic Tiers
See how your candidate ranks!

ArrowAnd God Cursed us with Boredom
Diary of an internet-addicted infidel

Ian Murphy

ArrowNotorious C.H.O.
The creative aftermath of the VA Tech massacre

Eric Bryant

ArrowWhy is Sam Harris a Best-Selling Atheist?
A. Monkey

ArrowYe Neocolonialists
Dems poised to pillage Iraq

Matt Taibbi

ArrowBattle of the Network Stars
Are elections bad for democracy?
Allan Uthman

ArrowGuten Tag, Bitches!
A brief message from the father of psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Retarded Presidential Candidates

ArrowKino Kwikees: Movie Trailer Reviews
Spiderman 3, Lucky You, 28 Weeks Later, The Flock, Georgia Rule, Delta Farce, Shrek the 3rd, The Ex

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
Your completely accurate horoscope

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Intolerance intolerance, Electophobia, Islamormon, Rush the Magic Honkie

 

 

Spider-Man 3

I sit here in front of the keyboard fighting the urge to simply clack out the words “it’s gonna kick ass” or just go see it” to describe Spider-Man 3, because if hype and expectation were beer and hard liquor, Spider-Man 3 would be Peter O’Toole.

And rightfully so. After all, the second Spider-Man wasn’t even in theaters before talk of Spider-Man 3 started. They took a year to write it and brought in the black suit, three villains (Sandman, New Goblin and Venom.) As the kids are saying, it looks pretty sick. We’ve got the guy who made the Evil Dead movies making the most expensive Hollywood movie ever made, with a price tag of $250 million. The geeks now officially rule the world.

I don’t see how it can miss. Spider-Man 3 takes all of the elements that proved frighteningly successful for its predecessors and bumps the whole thing up to Clydesdale mode. In any given trailer for this movie, everything looks good for Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He’s finally got the girl, he’s going to ask her to marry him and the city loves him. All of a sudden it turns out his uncle’s killer is at large, some prick at work is trying to get his job, his best friend comes gunning for revenge and some kind of black slime makes his Spidey costume black and his temperament mean. It gets kind of fuzzy from there on in as the scenes jump from the black to the red and blue costume, but it all looks damn good.

An added bonus is Bryce Dallas-Howard as Gwen Stacy, offering the comic book geeks an extremely pleasant and well-deserved break from Kirsten Dunst’s Mary-Jane, not to mention some history from the comic books. All this and I get to look at Howard without sitting through an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Everybody wins!

I also just saw the Venom TV spot and if I get to see even five more minutes of that I promise I’ll say Spider-Man 3 can wipe its ass with the first two movies. It’s gonna kick ass and you should just go see it because it looks pretty sick. Blerg!

Lucky You

If I was still reviewing actual movie movies this summer something truly evil would have taken place. I don’t know. You get a good look at a summer movie lineup and you either get a nice whiff of Cheerios near the waterfront or you’re going to get that constipated Kate Hudson smiling look on your face down near the coke ovens in Sunny LA, if you know what I’m saying.

And watching the trailer for Lucky You makes me think I’m about to get on the skyway heading downtown. And it’s a really hot day. Texas hold’em has officially been a fad for two or three years now, and finally we’ve got the first of what will surely be a wave of throwaway movies exploiting it—like breakdancing in the ‘80s. We’ve got the ancient cliché Father and Son Bullshit coagulated with a little bit of Vegas… class(?) as well as a contrived romance between a professional gambler and a wannabe lounge singer. I’m sure everyone’s going to learn a thing or two about themselves. And it includes such godawful cliché noir lines as:

“You know what I think? I think everybody’s just trying not to be lonely.” (straight-faced!)

“Is he related to you? Your eyes went all quiet.” (again, straight-faced!)

“If anyone can turn nothing into something it’s you. Trouble is you always throw it away.” (yet again, straight faced, but Debra Messing almost looked like she was going to lose it.)

Then there’s another part where Eric Bana (the gambler) starts talking to the singer (Drew Barrymore) and uses poker as a metaphor for life and love. They do it through the whole trailer. Then you’re supposed to be happy as shit when Robert Duvall plays the guy’s jolly old-guy father. It might make your head hurt. Expect to see a lot of couples who wear black leather jackets and jeans when they go out in public together at the theater. I’ll just go with Dog the Bounty Hunter instead. Yeah, he’s good. I like him a lot. And speaking of who they like a lot, they miss Sanjaya. At least that’s how a lot of middle-aged people I know talk. The end is near. I can feel it. I can smell it and I can taste it.

28 Weeks Later

The last time I had the apparently rare fortune of being scared at the movies was when I saw 28 Days Later four years ago. It was a methed-out zombie reinvention that was way better than it took credit for. It was genuinely frightening and surprisingly good—all while going in directions you weren’t quite expecting.

So the rage virus is contained and people are beginning to move back into London. Oh wait, the contagion isn’t under control and for the sake of making a sequel more interesting the virus has mutated and is now stronger! 28 Weeks Later has none of the original cast and more importantly, it doesn’t have the same director, Danny Boyle. Naturally this is all very nice if you’re trying not to merely ape the original, but that seems to be what we’re looking at here.

28 Weeks Later looks a lot cooler than any horror movie that’s come out since the remake of Dawn of the Dead, but something’s not right. Part of the charm of 28 Days Later was that you saw the very, very beginning, the aftermath and nothing else. It seems that 28 Weeks Later is almost trying to fill in the holes. Let’s say you’re looking at a picture of Cary Grant—he’s smooth, classy, well-dressed—kind of like a James Bond you don’t have to worry about being sent to kill you. We’ll say this is 28 Days Later. But wait! We’ve got another smooth operator named George Clooney! He’s got many of the same qualities as Grant only not as many. But—what the hell am I talking about? This looks great!

They build up this whole unity thing with American soldiers helping re-establish England after the rage virus has been stomped out. Families are reunited and everything’s going to be okay. No! All shit’s going to break loose and it’s going to be sweet. Hell, maybe I’ll even give ol’ George Clooney a call and see if he wants to go with me. He and Maccio will really hit it off, I think.

Georgia Rule

At the time that I write this I have been working for about 18 hours straight and therefore take no responsibility for what I may say from this point forward. But when you watch the trailer for an estrogen version of Fail-Safe like Georgia Rule, you’ve got to keep your wits about you.

The trailer for Georgia Rule left me somewhat confused. I saw Lindsay Lohan (I guess) acting like what I’m guessing is herself and Jane Fonda seemed to be acting appropriately. Felicity Huffman kind of just faded into the background and I was just trying to figure out if they were acting or if this is real life and I didn’t like it. Every time Lohan acts like a spoiled bitch, Fonda yells something like “No champagne colonics!” or “No butt sex with migrant workers!” Then she ends it with the words “Georgia rule!” I zoned in and out but I’m guessing Fonda’s name is Georgia or they’re in Georgia. Looked more like Idaho to me. Speaking of looking like Idaho, the entire cast looks like they were assaulted with toasted tin foil and dogshit sandwiches. Fonda looks like she was given an STD by Keith Richards, Huffman looks like a cross between a wax statue and a corpse that was laid out by the Three Blind Mice, and Lohan—she looks like she was just treated to a blanket party by the heads of some kind of fake tanner cartel.

With three generations of women and their wacky man problems and/or hot flash jokes, they’re all sure to understand each other a little better in the end. I couldn’t care less. Fonda’s bringing too little too late, Lohan looks like a train wreck who ate too many carrots, and who cares about the rest of them? Who cares about any of them?

This is what your summer looks like, people. This is what you’re going to have to put yourselves through in order to avoid vile amounts of summer humidity in tandem with its unforgiving heat in the dark. The only upside is that it’s rated R, which I’m guessing means more adult-geared potty talk and swearing. And who knows? Maybe even a glimpse of Lohan’s freckled and weather-beaten carcass. I just threw up in my mouth and I’m getting heartburn because it’s on its way back down.

Delta Farce

There are so many things wrong here and I have no idea where to begin. A movie starring Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and that creepy New Guy motherfucker as army reservists who accidentally get sent to Iraq, but are unwittingly dropped in Mexico. The poster is a blatant rip-off (or, as I’m sure, an homage) to the poster for Full Metal Jacket. This trailer was like watching a paraplegic have sex with a grizzly bear. You can give yourself a bleach lobotomy and no one would blame you after witnessing a spectacle like that.

I debated doing irreparable damage to myself as I fought through the pain of existence and attempted to rationalize continuing to live in a world where this movie exists. I could have given up entirely and started watching NASCAR. But in a rare move (as I usually go with the giving up entirely option), I decided to try and figure out how and why something like this could happen.

Then it hit me: Every regrettable joke, every horrible line of dialogue and every haggard, hackneyed moment is an opposite reaction to a moment in No Direction Home, the documentary that Martin Scorsese made about Bob Dylan a couple years ago. Early ‘60s era Bob Dylan, no less. I knew I’d have to someday pay for the joy that 3 ½ hour chronicle of sheer genius in its prime offered. That day has come. But it could be worse. Knowing that this movie is out there and that people are actually seeing it, and not doing anything to stop it, is a crime against humanity in itself. But at least I don’t have to see it.

The Flock

Bite the pillow, ‘cause it’s going in dry. Finding the trailer for The Flock was a chore, to the point that I had to wonder if the producers were actually ashamed of it. I did find some minor bullshit, the best of which being that Avril Lavigne is in this movie as a girl abducted by a registered sex offender. That was followed up by a lively debate as to whether or not Avril was punk or pop.

There’s not much to this movie about Richard Gere as a chiseled old FBI agent going after Avril with Claire Danes as his green-around-the-gills protégé. Training day, son! I couldn’t find a trailer either.

I read it’s got no release date and isn’t coming out. So I can stop pretending to give a shit. We can all stop pretending to give a shit.

Shrek the Third

Admittedly, the first two Shrek movies were pretty entertaining. They also made a shitload of money. And when the M-word is involved it’s only a matter of time before you see another one.

Shrek the Third looks a little weak, going by the trailer. The King is dying and Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots have to find Arthur (as in King Arthur) to rule Far, Far Away. Then Prince Charming is trying to get a coup going with the help of all the villains in the land of Far, Far Away. You take kids to get hypnotized for the better part of two hours and you laugh at the pop culture references they splice in for adults. You recognize some of the voices and you laugh a little.

I’m sure this one will have a lively moment of commentary regarding the treatment of Don Imus. After all, the second Shrek wagged its finger and shook its head regarding the Iraq War. So why not get socially conscious here and now? I’m sure it’ll allude that firing the (Shrek’s words here…) “weather-beaten old redneck” for what he said is like grounding your kid for bad grades when he crashed your car the week before. Donkey will say that Imus has always been a jackass and he should’ve offered reparations in the form of a considerable charitable donation chosen by the ladies basketball team. I don’t know what Puss in Boots is going to say, but I know he’s going to give that cute little cat look then he’s going to give somebody a Dirty Sanchez. And Cameron Diaz still looks like a troll. Yippee. If a kid you know wants to see it, go with them. If you don’t know any kids, count your blessings and wait for cable.

The Ex

NBC’s Scrubs has been hitting the skids for a while now. If it’s not deliberately trying to depress you with some left field storyline, it’s trying to lull you into numbing complacency with Zach Braff’s jovial narration and the occasional cutaway to some random, often disturbing but sometimes funny scene. But Braff’s Braff-Braff-Braffiness is the big culprit here, and at this point Scrubs is a sinking ship that’s sailed.

Well, it appears that Braff is aware of the end coming for Scrubs and over the past few years has been working his way from the small to the big screen with such movies as 2004’s surprisingly decent Garden State and last year’s self-indulgent The Last Kiss. They were kind of relieving in the sense that we didn’t have to endure echoey and uninspired narration or redundant digressions, but we still haven’t shaken those Braff-Braff-Braffy performances.

And with Braff’s new movie, The Ex, there’s still no relief in sight on that front. He plays a new dad whose wife (Amanda Peet in an unremarkable role) decides to quit her lucrative lawyer job, become a stay at home mom and send Braff’s lazy ass back to work with her father in what I want to say is an ad agency. But working there is Peet’s obsessive ex, played by Jason Bateman (no, you’re thinking of Jerry O’Connell—Bateman is the guy from Arrested Development) in what looks like is going to be his most memorable role since Teen Wolf, Too. Oh, and Bateman is in a wheelchair and is an evil and manipulative sociopath, too. So expect some misfiring physical humor on top of all that Braff-Braff-Braffiness. The more I think about it, the more I think it could work as a serious drama.

What just may be the saving graces are the return of Charles Grodin as Braff’s father-in-law and Amy Poehler and Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live. Oh, and another perk is that it doesn’t sound like Braff handpicked the soundtrack. Cause you know that’s another part of the Braff-Braff-Braffiness—he makes great mix CDs. No CD for you. So no Iron and Wine, no Coldplay, no Joshua Radin and no Snow Patrol. Hipsters begone!

 

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