Movie Reviews by Michael Gildea
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Iíve said it before and Iíll say it againónothing brings out the worst in people like a free movie. The occasion when I got the free passes to this one should have served as an omenóstanding in front of Mondo Video on Elmwood and getting called a bunch
of "fucking freeloaders" by a guy whose driveway we were apparently blocking (he even parked mid-incline to drag Mike Faust out of his proprietorship for what I assume was an ass-whupping.) I had to sit in the second row after every wrinkly, liver-spotted senior citizen
was giving me (flying solo that night) that donít-even-think-about-sitting-here look. To which I replied, "Youíre not supposed to save seats. Says it on the back of the pass, cunt." A half-hour later the movie started, and the quartet of fat teenage girls felt the
need to do Ace Ventura impressions, clad in phat and fresh hand-me-down Hot Topic gear from the late Ď90s. I told them to shut the fuck up, to roaring applause. As Iíve mentioned, I went through hell to get to see this film, and I wouldíve dealt with another theater
full of social miscreants and it wouldíve been worth it. It was worth it because itís always a pleasure to see Jim Carrey in a movie where heís not acting like a jerkoff for an hour and a half while being teamed up with Hollywoodís reigning skank. And you know youíre in
for a treat when the man in the directorís chair has directed Bjork videos. All this and Charlie Kaufman wrote it. You may remember his as the twisted, yet brilliant mind behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Human Nature.
The man is brilliant and anything with his name on it is a good time. The premise behind Eternal Sunshine is that Jim Carrey gets a procedure done to erases his exís (Kate Winslett, who truly deserves a nomination for epitomizing the quintessential fucked up art school
chick) memory from his mind. Sheís already had he same procedure done and Carryís character does it as revenge, but as the memories are erased he realizes that he wants to remember her and has to shove her into memories she was never a part of to evade the oddly young and
fucked up techniciansí mind-blaster. I really canít describe how wonderfully done it all is. Remember, director Michel Gondry has directed Bjork videos. This is also a great movie to watch with your significant other if you suspect theyíre planning on dumping you. Finally,
a date movie done rightÖ
Dawn of the Dead
Remakes of movies are like gruesome roadside accidents: you just canít take your eyes off of them, even though they horrify you. But when itís a remake of one of your favorites, itís a toss up. The remake in question here is the story of the very few
survivors who hide out in a mall to escape a widespread-is-an-understatement plague that brings the dead back to life and turns them into cannibal zombies. Any modern remake has got to be slicker, and point out that the internetís come along since the originalís inception.
With director Zack Snyderís Dawn of the Dead, only the first of those two is true. Snyderís remake is more of a retelling; itís got elements of all three Living Dead movies and even throws in some 28 Days Later for good measure. If youíre a freak for
the original, youíll probably enjoy this more if you donít look at it as a remake. Just look at it as a zombie movie. Again, itís a very slick version, and lacks the tempera red paint blood that highlighted Romeroís satire on commercialism (the main theme that the remake
lacks), but Snyder didnít skip out on the humor. The "celebrity sniping" scene was worth admission alone and the rich boy Bruce Campbell wannabe was a trip. Also, youíll want to stick around for the credits. Although the remake was a close second, Iím still going
to go with the original (a few of the players from which have cameos.) Itís apples and oranges, really. The remakeís definitely scarier, that I will say for Mr. Snyder. The sequence before the opening credits was by far the most disturbed Iíve ever been in my life. The
scene in Happiness when the pedophile father explains to his son that he jerks off to him while heís sleeping was nothing compared to that.
Movies like this make me want to take lives. The quirky FBI pathologist. The cops who donít follow said agentís gist. The dickwad innocent bystander-who-gets-pulled-into-the-madness. And of course, the psychopath. Angelina Jolie is very easy on the
eyes and Joel Schumacher didnít direct it. Those are the only things that were good about this movie.
The Coen brothers have been on the ropes for the last few years. The not-quite-thereness of The Man Who Wasnít There (or as I like to call itóThe Film That Wasnít There) and the empty cinematic calories of last fallís Intolerable Cruelty
had me thinking that that the only way Iíd be able to consistently enjoy one of their movies would be to rewind The Big Lebowski and Millerís Crossing into the ground, then switch to Fargo and Raising Arizona. But The Ladykillers is kind of
a deferment of the big judgment day that will ultimately decide whether or not the Coen brothers still "have it." The Ladykillers is a remake of a low-budget Ď50s British comedy about a heist backfiring. Itís got its moments, but itís fairly inconsistent as
far as general tone. It cracked me up here and there at the beginning, lost me for a while there in the middle, but didnít leave me behind before the credits rolled. Initially, I was jazzed as all hell to see Tom Hanksí performance in this movie, but about fifteen minutes in,
I got the same feeling I get whenever I go to a strip club. The initial novelty and glamour/glitz of seeing tits and a set of Fort Erie piss flaps under dim blacklighting wears off as I wake up to the fact that Iím going home with blue balls and an empty wallet. Although there
was a Tribe Called Quest reference, a quirky performance by Hanks, and chuckles here and there, there simply werenít enough of those patented Coen brothers bizarre and random moments that make it all worthwhile. All that and it seemed that Marlon Wayans was just there to swear
and ensure that this film got an R-rating. Keep your eyes peeled for a Bruce Campbell cameo.
I was sent into more and more of a rampant tizzy (for serious lack of a better term) the more I heard about the new Kevin Smith movie Jersey Girl. Although his films have consistently gotten increasingly retarded, each one holds a special place in my
elitist heart. The movies are worth it for the dialogue alone. If I chose to view Jersey Girl, I would have to endure the facts that: 1) Ben Affleck is in it. 2) Liv Tyler is in it. 3) Jennifer Lopez is in it. 4) Itís rated PG-13. Affleckís been tolerable in some of
his past movies, and I realize that a large part of my disdain for him was the fact that if he or Lopez so much as took a shit or bought a pack of gum, the whole goddamned world had to hear about it. And from what I understand, he was more grossed out about that than I was. So I
let him slide on that. I didnít mind Liv Tyler in the Lord of the Rings movies and was ready to let her go, but I quickly came to the realization that she was in those movies for a combined total of twenty minutes, and she would probably be in this movie for longer that
twenty minutes. Big gamble. On the other hand, Jennifer Lopez dies in the beginning and I wouldnít have to endure Jay and Silent Bob for a sixth time! But that PG-13 rating is unforgivable. That dialogue I loved would be eviscerated. Kevin shit the bed and proved that
entertainers lose their edge once they have a kid. Liz Phair put out Whitechocolatespaceegg, Robin Williams did all those crappy kid movies. Why canít these people be more like Frank Zappa?
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
I remember when I saw the Original Scooby Doo. It was the summer of 2002 and I saw it at a drive-in in Lockport. I sat through that and Country Bears and the only reason I did so was because it was the only place I could satisfy my jones for the
first Spider-Man movie. I remember composing an alphabetized list of ways to painfully torture Matthew Lillard to death. I remember wanting to recreate the scene from Fight Club with Freddy Prinze, Jr. where Edward Norton beat the loving fuck out of Jared Leto and
cast myself in Nortonís role. (And Freddy wouldnít be playing Tyler Durden, Iíll tell you that right now.) Sarah Michelle Gellar looked like she could have been on the cover of the Dead Kennedyís Plastic Surgery Disasters album and shouldíve been curbed like in
the beginning of American History X. And a CGI Scooby? Give me a fucking break! But Linda Cardellini was smoking as Velma. I couldnít keep my hand out of my pants whenever she was on the screen for crissakes! But Velma wasnít cute on the original cartoon. She was a
frumpy bulldyke who was a first cousin to Marci from the Charlie Brown cartoons. I wasnít griping about this at the time mind you, but in hindsight the casting was way off. But as far as the actual film was concerned, I was convinced that someone took a shit in the film
projector and aimed it at the screen. Oh yeah, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is the sequel to that particular movie.
Never Die Alone
Scarface is a fun movie. Itís got fun moments, some classic lines, some nifty action sequences, and some of the worst music Iíve heard in my life. And I have heard jazz fusion, Iíd like to add. When I got the special edition DVD
last Christmas, I actually took the time to watch the documentary where a bunch of mediocre rappers talk about how great Tony Montana was (and I think most of them were unaware that Tony is a fictional character) and how much that particular movie had an impact on their work and
life. And apparently, DMX is no exception as he felt the need to make a cut-and-paste version of it. I will hand it to whomever wrote this by saying that they at least made it more of a drama as opposed to a two-hour shootout.