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© 2004 The Beast

Alien vs. Predator

Every once in a while, good things do indeed come to those who wait. Namely me and every sci-fi geek/man’s man in the world. I’ve been reading about this movie for the last twelve years and it’s finally come out. Realizing that they had a good thing going last summer with Jason vs. Freddy, perhaps Hollywood decided that it was now time to strike. 

If you’ve done your brushing up with the classic Alien movies and the not quite classic Predator movies, you’re familiar with not only their mythology, but their biology as well. And with that you’ll be able to figure out the plotline for Alien vs. Predator.

But I think that most people will agree that this movie’s not about plot. Alien vs. Predator is not about the unknown actors and actresses that are really, really hoping that this movie will make them stars instead of yet another chestburster victim.

This movie is about seven-foot dreadlocked monsters armed to the teeth going up against an army of pure savagery and efficient killing personified.

There’s not much to say about this movie. I’m not trying to cop out on you here, but it really just needs to be seen for itself. I’m going to say only one more thing and it’s a compliment to this movie: I forgot it’s rated PG-13.


The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (0)

Unless you’re a mentally retarded thirteen-year-old girl with a clubfoot, bad taste, and a third nipple, there is no reason whatsoever for you to see this movie. Even if you have a mentally retarded thirteen-year-old girl with a clubfoot, bad taste, and a third nipple who wants you to take her to this movie.

 


Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie (0)

*Note to reader: this review was written with the intention that the reader is toimagine it being told to them in the voice of Grandpa Simpson. Some albums are mixed to be played loudly just as some reviews are meant to be read in funny voices. I don’t know. Try it both ways and let me know.

Back in my day, cartoons were somewhat senseless and excessively violent. Hell, it wasn’t a cartoon unless there was an anvil being dropped on someone’s head with the name Acme on it.

But now things are different. Saturday morning cartoons are no longer a reward for a long, hard week of school. They’re half-hour commercials designed to sell juice boxes, playing cards, shoelaces, and the like.

And things are even worse when you can’t even sell this kind of garbage with good old American ingenuity! Nowadays, they have to get Japanese cartoons full of characters with enormous eyes. Not even the good Japanese cartoons with lots of boobs, killing, and chinchillas!

I am disgusted with the greed of those responsible with taking a marginally entertaining imported cartoon and turning it into a money-sucking vacuum designed to swipe college funds and piggy banks.

And let’s not forget Yu-Gi-Oh himself! I first met Yu-Gi-Oh in a bar in Brooklyn in 1929. Little did I know that he would become the future Mrs. G. Gordon Liddy and start his own infomercial studio to the stars.


Collateral

Collateral was one of those movies that chased me away a little bit more each time I saw the preview. I remember reading the initial press and thinking, “Michael Mann? Yes! Tom Cruise? Okay. Jaime Foxx? Ummm…” Then as time went on, I saw numerous previews and was put off by Cruise’s seemingly ham-on-white-bread performace, but was vaguely intrigued by Foxx’s non-idiotic delivery. This and the film looked great, too.

What’s a film geek to do?

So I’ve got an in at Dreamworks and the opportunity to see if for free (and get paid thirty bucks) came my way. I was had nothing to lose, and it was this rationale that stripped me of any excuses not to see Collateral.

And I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t have to pay a cent to see it talking. The tidy sum I was paid to see this movie wasn’t exactly shutting that fact up either. But Collateral was a really good movie, though you may not realize that right away.

I was stricken by disillusionment, walking out of the theater. Tom Cruise’s seemingly feeble attempt for an Oscar. That cheesy chase scene I saw eight times already this summer. The frayed closure of the film’s final scenes. All of these things had me silently griping, but the realization came to me that I was perhaps being too harsh.

When in the hell has anybody ever made a movie that was devoid of either a sappy, overacted, underacted, or otherwise flawed scene? Even the first Star Wars movie wasn’t perfect.

It was then that I reassessed the movie and realized how good it was. The chemistry between Cruise and Foxx was something I forgot existed. Mann made me forget Manhunter and the fact that he created Miami Vice with the look of the movie (that look, incidentally, is what people who actually went to school to become film critics are calling “neo-noir.”) Nobody (not even Cruise) overacted. It had just enough funny parts to keep it from looking desperate. The intentional or unintentional Fight Club borrowing was nice too. The dialogue was astonishing, for crissakes!

So did I like it? Yes.

Would I recommend it? Yeah. I would.

So that’s all you need to know. But I will add in the fact that this is the kind of movie that is way better suited for a fall release. It’s by no means the typical piece of popcorn selling crap that studios generally release during the warmer months to compete with a sequel. Collateral is like that really cute girl down at Chippewa wearing the snugly-fit Sonic Youth babydoll-tee who doesn’t fit in there but is just along for the ride with her hoochie friends. And if you actually go and talk to that girl guys, you just might discover that you like her a little bit more than you’re willing to admit. And you just might make a friend… 


Little Black Book

For the last year or so that I’ve been writing reviews for The BEAST, I’ve had to either rely on the kindness (in one way or another) of others or just plain fork up out of my own pocket to see the movies I review. But Little Black Book was the first movie (with the exception of Greg Sterlace’s Failure) that I got an actual sneak pass to see at no cost to me through the paper. And it was kind of like losing your virginity to that obnoxious girl in high school who’s not too gross, but she always hangs out either in the shop wing or with the drama geeks.

Little Black Book the preview and Little Black Book the movie are two separate animals. The preview leads you to believe that Brittany Murphy is playing(?) some jealous nutbag who swipes her boyfriend’s palm pilot to see if he’s cheating on her. The movie itself is slightly more intelligent than the preview in the sense that it’s a tugboat chugging into the waters where ocean liners such as Network and Broadcast News have set up shop. It’s Grace Slick invited by Patty Nixon to the White House in 1972 and trying to slip some acid into the punch bowl (but ultimately getting kicked out by secret servicemen after being there less than two minutes).

Brittany Murphy acts like Luanne (her character on King of the Hill) for most of the movie. It’s okay when you know “That 70’s Show” is coming on in twenty minutes, but when you’ve got to deal with it for an hour and a half it takes a lot out of you. I’m sure that Murphy is going to be a big star someday if she gets the right roles. She was fantastic in Girl, Interrupted and Drop Dead Gorgeous, but she’s not going home with that little gold man anytime soon if she keeps this sort of chicanery up.



 

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