Kino Korner Film Reviews by Michael Gildea


I truly hate to say it, but I recently got sucked into "American Idol." It was one of those shows that I planned on doing something else while my girlfriend watched intently, and I managed to avoid the first two seasons. But all of the tragic people with stars in their eyes giving even more tragic performances sucked me in, and my Tuesday nights have been spoken for ever since. One of the things thatís happened (and Iím really trying to stopóreally) is that Iím turning into the griping Simon Cowell (british accent and all) whenever I make a decision as to whether or not I like something. "Bloody disappointing," was what I thought when the credits rolled on this one. Hellboy was a cool character; a demon from another world who was raised by humans in a government facility to fight supernatural monsters. He hangs out in a basement with about thirty cats and eats several pounds of bacon and enormous plates of pancakes at a time while listening to Al Green and Tom Waits. A man after my own heart. But when they take all of this potential and have him pining away over Selma Blair (the scene where he stalks her and hangs out with a little kid on a rooftop was especially disappointing), and stick him in a really cool-looking second-rate X-Men-meets-Men in Black knockoff. Between this (which Iím pretty sure we can expect at least one more sequel out of) and the upcoming Punisher movie, I think that all of these comic book movie adaptations are going to start winding down.

Walking Tall

Movies like Walking Tall are dumb fun, pure and simple. Nobodyís expecting any great performances, brilliant camerawork, or anything of the like. You go into the theater, you lay your money down, get a drink or some expensive candy, watch your movie and yell at the screen maybe once or twice. Your lifeís not changed in any way, you donít get any answers, but hopefully you just have some idiotic fun. If youíre one of those people who have to know what itís all about before you decide whether or not itíll be funófine. Walking Tall is actually a remake of that old movie that used to get run on TBS all the time with the slovenly Joe Don Baker as the deputy who wipes corruption out of his town with a piece of wood. The sheriffís name changed from Buford Pusser to Chris Vaughn (which was the only thing I was disappointed about) and The Rock is honestly much more believable than Baker. (But then, Bakerís repugnance was always part of the movieís charm for me.) One other point of note, Johnny Knoxville can actually act! I donít know if heís ready to play Hamlet, but the guy can actÖ

Home on the Range

I stopped paying attention to Disney movies a long time ago. I donít think thereís been a Disney movie in my lifetime that can rank up there with the classics like Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. Not that Iím one of these dumpy chicks (often named Jodi) who live in sweatshirts, sleep with overpriced stuffed animals from the Disney store and brag about the fact that they paid $150 on Ebay for a VHS copy of Rescuers Down Under. Iím just a guy who can appreciate good animation. And Home on the Range had some fun animation which at points reminded me of the old Saturday morning cartoons and the old Roy Rogers movies that youíd wind up watching at your grandpaís house, despite the fact that they just couldnít leave well enough alone and had to modernize it with kung fu cattle and a supersonic-sped plot. Part of said modernization includes a barrage of quips and quotations of current pop culture which only a nine year-old will get a kick out of, repeating them around the house for weeks on end. There are also a few laughs to hold over any adult who get Shanghaied to this one. Even if you are guilted into having to see this, itís only about an hour and fifteen minutes long.

The Prince & Me

Unless you are or were a fourteen year-old girl who are or was praying for a prince or rich guy to sweep you off your feet and take you away from your waste of a life so you can watch "The View" and eat bonbons for the rest of your life, The Prince & Me probably wonít appeal to you. This Win a Date with Tad Hamilton rip-off (which was a rip-off of countless other movies before that) doesnít offer anything new or interesting, and hearing Julia Stilesí deeper-than-Barry-White voice doesnít even allow you to undress her with your eyes. If you can get past that, at least feign masturbatory groans behind the fourteen year-old girls who are praying for a prince or rich guy to sweep them off their feet and take them away from their wastes of life so they can watch "The View" and eat bonbons for the rest of their lives and let the eggnog fly. At least thatís what I didÖ

The Girl Next Door

The previews for this one lead you to believe that youíre getting into a sleazy sex comedy thatís trying to knock the American Pie movies off the top of the hill, like Coldplayís trying to knock Radiohead out of the top spot for most popular British band. But this is the cinematic equivalent of trying to replace OK Computer with Bushís Sixteen Stone album. Maybe Iím an idiot here, but Iím going to take "Karma Police" over "Everything Zen" any day of the week (I canít believe, as amusing as American Pie was at points, that Iím comparing it to anything Radioheadís ever done). Donít let the previews fool you: they donít let on that Elisha Cuthbertís (Kiefer Sutherlandís daughter on the real-time drama "24") character is a bipolar sexaholic. But Iím getting too far ahead of myself. The plot goes something like: a rich kid starts dating a teenage porn star and gets his hipster-looking buddies laid in the process. You think that itís just going to be said kid and said porn star trying to work out their problems with all kinds of silliness ensuing along the way, but then thereís her evil pimp/producer complicating things as well. Itís only remotely interesting, and the people in the new commercial talking on the cell phones that their parents bought only to keep tabs on them about how great it is are full of shit. The only thing interesting about this movie is that itís darker than the studio lets on. It was a kind of nice surprise, but in no way made up for this run-of-the-mill malarkey. I donít like to rip something to hell without saying at least one nice thing about it, so here goesóTimothy Olyphant as the evil pimp/producer was fun. If you really want to see a good performance out of this guy though, check out "Deadwood" on HBO on Sunday nights.

The Alamo

The most I knew about The Alamo was that it was Texans vs. Mexicans and that the Alamo itself has no basement. I spent most of my social studies classes drunk on cough syrup and earned my first Oscar nomination after passing the final anyway. It is an interesting story, at least what I got out of it because history repeated itself when again I got drunk on cough syrup at the movie. But the thirteen years of tolerance I developed and the thirty pounds I put on required four bottles as opposed to the original half bottle it initially took to do the job. I guess there are a few things in this life Iím not meant to know or enjoy, like catching the whole of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof whenever itís on Turner Classic Movies or having sex with an Asian woman. I just accept that these things will never ever happen for me and move on. But one of the many things good about an updated version of a classic tale is that the violence is no longer polite. Itís brutal as hell and bloody as shit. Dramatically, itís superior to having a bunch of actors spilling their likeness and machismo onto the screen as with previous versions. As much as I hate looking at his lumpy ass, Billy Bob Thornton was great. Heís now in my human-degenerates-that-are-great-actors category, right beside Russell Crowe. Another point worth mentioning is that this is the best western (if you want to call it that) to come out since Clint Eastwood put out Unforgiven. Waitóscratch thatóTombstone. But itís still pretty good.

The Whole Ten Yards

Something occurred to me when the credits rolled for The Whole Ten Yards. I am a hater. I also realized that when movies like this come out that Iím left with very little choice. To begin with, itís a mob comedy. Mob comedies fucking blow. Beyond the slight amusement of Analyze That, I personally challenge anyone anywhere to e-mail us at the BEAST and call me out on this matter. Making a comedy out of the mafia is like putting a dildo up the ass of Christ and making him sing showtunes. Oh! Iíve got your attention now, donít I!? Mob comedies take everything great about movies like The Godfather 1 and 2, Goodfellas, Casino, Mean Streets, Millerís Crossing and any other classic mob flick and ripping the heart and soul out of them. "The Sopranos" blends the mafia and comedy perfectly: thereís enough laughs to keep you going while showing the proper respect to its predecessors. The Whole Nine Yards was slightly amusing at best. The fun parts were the equivalent of being able to tolerate that loser at work when your co-workers want to meet out for a drink and youíve got enough of a buzz to deal with the weenie. Matthew Perry is a very big part of the reason as to why I donít watch "Friends," and if I want to see a good movie with Bruce Willis, Iíll pop in my copy of 12 Monkeys. (Seriously, your ex is nailing Ashton Kutcher and this is how you try and get her attention and win her back!? Bruce, what were you thinking? But at the same time, that could be the problem. The man may be looking for the rock bottom to bounce back from.) The final thing to consideródid The Whole Nine Yards really need a sequel? Fight Club is one of my favorite movies of all time, but it does not need a sequel. Seven doesnít need a sequel. The Graduate doesnít need a sequel, despite the fact that itíd be interesting. But The Whole Ten Yards wasnít interesting, and the first one didnít make me wonder, "what happened next?" I lost ninety-nine minutes and $5.50óthatís lunch, a dump and a nap. Oh well, Iím a firm believer that movies provide just as many lessons as real life does and this one taught me to stay away from mob comedies once and for allÖ

Ella Enchanted

I had every expectation, based upon the preview of Ella Enchanted, of sitting in the theater by myself making fart noises and whipping jujubes at the screen haphazardly. I was however disappointed. Not in the movie, but in that I wouldnít be able to carry out my movie-spoiling agenda. I wasnít disappointed at all. I was disappointed that my girlfriend gave one of our dogs a mullet, but I wasnít disappointed in this movie. It really reminded me of The Princess Bride, and I didnít even mind that it was rated PG. Furthermore, Iím happy that a good movie was made for kids thatís more than minimally tolerable for adults. It gets a little too Disney at some points with all of the elves and whatnot; then again Iím used to elves killing orcs with bows and arrows. But thatís just me. Iíd tell you more, but Ella Enchanted says more for itself than I can. One thing that kept running through my mind was that Ella had a spell on her of obedience. I also thought about the "Chappelleís Show" DVD set Iíve been watching nonstop for the last month, and the episodes when he does the realistic looks at movies? You figure it outÖ

Johnson Family Vacation

What can I say about this movie that hasnít already been said about girls in German scheizer videos? Remember when people used to say, "I can take him with one arm tied behind my back" or something to the effect? Cedric the Entertainer tried to keep this movie afloat with one arm tied behind his back. Johnson Family Vacation couldíve been really funny had it not been for its paint-by-numbers script. Steve Harveyís in it too, and you just know that he wants to hand Cedric a beating for talking him into it. As you can probably guess even if youíre of minimal intelligence, itís about a family vacation (a vacation disturbingly similar to one that Chevy Chase and the Griswold family took oh, about twenty-two years ago) and get thisóa lot of crazy shit happens! Who wouldíve thought that anything crazy and wacky could ever happen on a family vacation!? Incidentally, this movie was released by Fox Searchlight, a subsidiary of Fox, which happens to be a major studio. Major studios set up the little sister companies to release arthouse movies and other movies theyíre not sure will turn a profit. Well, you do the mathÖ

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