Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
I myself wasnít aware
that the original gem Anaconda with a pre-J. Lo Jennifer Lopez, Ice
Cube, and Jon Voight necessitated a sequel. It was just a really dumb
movie that had a few funmoments at best.
to seven years later, where we ditch the actors youíve heard of, realizing
that the true stars of a turkey like this are the computer-animated
snakes. In short, Anacondas goes like this: a drug company wants
this rare flower so they can sell tickets to the fountain of youth and
make billions in the process. But the flower only blooms in one of the
most treacherous regions in the world, where really, really big anacondas
Interested yet? Me neither.
Go catch it during a double feature at a drive-in if you have to see
it. That way you wonít feel too ripped off. And you can get trashed
in your car while doing it!
My only experience with
Jet Li came from playing the PS2 game Rise to Honor, but this
is actually the first movie of his Iíve ever seen.
And what a way to start!
The imagery was beautiful, from the red leaves battle to the tens of
thousands of arrows flying through the air during the siege. And the
Rashomon story setup was great in itself. If youíre a lazy bastard
and donít want to bother reading subtitles, you should really check
this movie out as the imagery tells the story, not the subtitles. Itís
similar in ways to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, surpassing
it in some respects while falling short in others.
Donít know what Iím talking
about? Go see the movie, you lazy round-eyed dog! Remove yourself from
my sight and see this movie!
Suspect Zero is a rigged game. There are some people who can figure
out who the killer is within watching mere minutes of this type of cat-and-mouse-deranged-killer-stalking-his-would-be-captor-whose-ex-is-brought-in-to-help-solve-the-case
thriller. But Suspect Zero gets too elaborate and devised for
you to solve it before it reveals its secrets. Aaron Eckhardt is the
FBI agent trying to bust the random killer, and Carrie-Ann Moss is the
And thatís all there really
is to it. Youíve seen this movie before and Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie,
and/or Morgan Freeman was probably in it.
Garden State is one of those movies that create enough of a buzz
when released in major cities to potentially ruin it for all us schmucks
living in the secondary release district.
What does that mean? Remember
when everybody on the planet saw Forrest Gump, Titanic, or Gladiator
before you did and made it out to be the best thing ever? Then you eventually
got around to seeing it and thought that they were all right, but nothing
to merit a water cooler conversation over thirty seconds, because they
were entirely too hyped and pretty much ruined for you. Itís the same
principle here even if laziness and availability arenít the same thing.
But, as overrated as those
movies are, you still have to admit that they are really good movies,
despite what you may feel about them.
Garden State, however, isnít up there with those best picture winners.
Itís more like the nephew of The Graduate once removed. Zack
Braff (TVís ďScrubsĒ) wrote and directed this somewhat autobiographical
tale of an overmedicated would-be actor coming home to New Jersey for
his motherís funeral. Heís been made to feel the brunt of the guilt
by his father, but as opposed to giving in, he gets wasted with his
high school friends and falls in love with Natalie Portman.
Garden State sort of tries to go to the place where The Graduate
and American Beauty have etched their respective places in film
history, but ultimately passes out on the couch after smoking a joint
and getting tired of looking for its keys. Itís got its moments, but
will probably find its place on cable in a couple of years.
It seems that some people
are never happy. If you read the Kino section of The BEAST long enough,
youíll get the idea that I am one of those people, at least as far as
movies are concerned. If youíve read said reviews even once, youíve
heard me gripe about how Hollywood makes the same six movies over and
over again and relies on something resembling style as opposed to substance.
Well, Open Water
does that to an extent. While it spares us the sentiment for the most
part, it goes full throttle on the jerky camera movements that The
Blair Witch Project made famous. Take Blair Witch, stick
it in an ocean with some sharks, and youíve got Open Water.
follows the Blair Witch formula so closely it bores you to tears,
makes you wish the annoying-as-a reality-show main characters dead,
and renders only the last five minutes of the movie interesting. The
only two† redeeming qualities to this film were 1) itís only 79 minutes
longóso you donít have to be bored for very long, and 2) the Night
of the Living Dead ending during the credits.
For me personally, watching
Open Water was like being at an insurance seminar, with the exception
that there was no buffet lunch at noon.
Exorcist: The Beginning
Iím going to give you
folks a brief history of the making of this movie in order to explain
why I did not and why I will not see Exorcist: The Beginning.
How can you review a movie you havenít seen, you ask? First,
it happens in the industry more often than youíd think, and second,
this isnít really a review.
A few years back, I heard
that they were making a prequel to The Exorcist. Max Von Sydow
was reprising his role as Father Merrin, and the Star Wars prequels
hadnít left that bitter taste in my mouth yet. All was right with the
Then, last summer, I heard
that the jerky mathematician from Good Will Hunting is taking
over for Von Sydow, and Paul Schrader was directing. Schrader wrote
Taxi Driver, and has crossed over to direct such underrated gems
as Auto Focus and Light Sleeper. Still not bad. But it
never came out last August like it was supposed to. What the hell happened?
Then I get a hold of the
Premiere summer movie issue, only to discover that Warner Bros.
had scrapped the whole Schrader project and started over with director
Renny Harlin. In case youíre not familiar with the name, he gave us
such classics as Die Hard 2, Cutthroat Island, Cliffhanger, the
Sly Stallone treat Driven, and a few other movies that could
be used as implements of torture in middle eastern countries. Basically,
heís the Hydrox version of Michael Bay.
We started getting electronic
press kits at the BEAST, and this one came with production notes that
pretty much spilled the guts on the whole plot. In short, Iím going
to pass on this one. Premiere also mentioned something about the Schrader
version of the film potentially being released with the Harlin version
as a special feature when the DVD comes out. Iím holding out so I can
compare them somewhere down the line to see if Warner Bros. actually
had any method to their madness.
a Paddle (0)
Seth Greenís crowning
moment was when he actually never showed his face as the voice of Chris
Griffin on the Fox animated series ďFamily Guy.Ē And Iíll be really
generous when I say that Canít Hardly Wait has a special place
in my heart.
But when you stick him
with the contemptible Matthew Lillard and some other clown unbeknownst
to me, the interest I never had in this movie was gone. Three childhood
buddies camping in the woods looking for some loot? But youíve got to
have some craziness ensue so you can get some cheap laughs in there!
Canít do it, G.
But now that we get free
passes from the studios, they send a private detective to make sure
that I actually see the movie. And this detective carries a Glock.
As Mr. Wilkinson (at least
thatís what the detective said his name was) sat behind me, a gun pressed
into the back of my seat, I sort of felt like Malcolm McDowell in A
Clockwork Orange during his conditioning treatment scenes. I got
sick like McDowell, tooónot from the gun aimed at me, but from the movie
itself. Not even the supporting roles were doing it for me. I mean,
whatís the deal here? Do studios intentionally put out horrible movies
to meet some sort of crap quota every fiscal year, or is it some sort
of tax break or write-off they get?
Every so often when I
get bored with a movie, my mind starts to wander and wonder what it
was like making the movie from an executive standpoint. Itís at that
point where I start thinking of scenarios like the Mel Brooks movie
The Producers, where Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder were out to
intentionally put on a shitty production.
When the movie was over,
the detective asked me why I kept humming the musical numbers from The
Producers, before releasing me into the custody of my editor.