so often, I’ll see a movie that I can picture myself miming Robert
DeNiro in Taxi Driver to; namely the porno theater scene about
two thirds through where he makes a gun out of his hand an points
it at the screen (boom!).
to say, Cellular is one of those movies. Cellular was
written by Larry Cohen. If you’re not familiar with the name, he’s
the guy who wrote the Joel Schumacher gem Phone Booth. You
know Phone Booth—the one where Colin Farrell has to stay on
the phone with the sniper with the crosshairs on his head? Now you
can refer to Cellular as the one where the transporter kidnaps
Kim Basinger and she has to rely on a kid to help her before her son
movie had such a fresh plot idea and I was truly amazed by the originality
of both the plot and the way in which the acting was forced. In case
you’re not perceptive even in the slightest or haven’t read one of
these reviews ever, that was sarcasm. Cellular put me through
all-consuming psychological pain. The incessant repetition of this
plotline (I’ve seen this movie many times before) had me reeling in
Cellular did inspire me though. It had to do with a recurring dream
I’ve been having lately: Alfred Hitchcock is rolling around in his
grave and begging me to help him stop this derivative, diluted cinematic
drivel. Between this vision and seeing Cellular, I was inspired
to somehow resurrect Hitchcock and place his brain into the body of
a powerful mutant of my own design. I will then program my creation
to go out and cripple those responsible for putting out these eighth-rate
Hitchcock knockoffs. The apparition also told me that he’s “sick to
death” (pardon the pun, but Hitch said it) of what’s been going on
since he kicked the bucket. Believe you me, the man is pissed.
original Resident Evil took all of it’s potential and emptied
its wallet into its arm. George Romero was originally slated to direct
the original, but the studio wanted to make their adaptation of the
R-rated game into a PG-13 version. You know, for the kids. Romero
told them to piss off and the rest hit the back pages of lesser-known
Resident Evil finally hit the theaters—with an R-rating. That’s
like dumping the love of your life due to fear of commitment and having
to marry some skank you knocked up six months later with a shotgun
pointed at your live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-ass. But we all need
to make our own mistakes, right?
some of us need to make them more than once. Some call it stupidity,
but I generally call them sequels. The first Resident Evil
was vaguely entertaining, and I say that after viewing it under the
influence of something that was so good I forgot what it was. All
I remember was a brief shot of Milla Jovovich’s nether regions (thank
God for the crystal-clear pause that a DVD player provides), the skankiness
of Michelle Rodriguez getting kicked up a notch when she became a
zombie, and the need to question my friend’s taste in movies, crotch
shot or no crotch shot.
you remember how the original ended (basically set up for that much-needed
sequel) or have played even one of the overdone series of videogames,
you can pretty much figure out where Apocalypse is going. They
added some of the bosses from the games as characters and ripped off
Return of the Living Dead. Yay.
wrote this doesn’t know that zombie movies were taken to the next
level over a year ago when Danny Boyle put out 28 Days Later and
Dawn of the Dead was released. Zombies don’t move like senior
citizens on their way to shuffleboard anymore. They jump at their
victims like Olympic track stars and tear into their prey like rabid
wolves on a gang of My Little Ponies. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
took a step back in the evolution of the zombie movie. And if, for
some truly bizarre reason, Mr. George Romero is reading this paper,
I would like to invite him to see Resident Evil: Apocalypse
so we can sit in the front row and pull a “Mystery Science Theater
3000.” Those are the only circumstances under which I will see this
movie again. It’s on me, Mr. Romero…
Fair excited me (for lack of a better term), because period pieces
are usually the sort of movies that will strip an actor or actress
down to their core, and let you know if they’re actually any good
at their chosen profession. And that’s typically where the Oscars
nominations are hiding. You know, if you’re actually into that sort
Fair isn’t that far removed from the stories of Jane Austen and
the Bronte sisters, so if those stories/movies bore you to the point
of impotency, you may want to switch back from decaf to regular coffee.
got its fun moments, its moments of sheer delight (well, maybe not
sheer delight), and, as with any movie set in a time and place
completely different from the one in which you turn oxygen into carbon
dioxide, it has moments that you won’t completely follow, and therefore
will not interest you. Sort of like college-level biology, without
having to spend an entire paycheck on books.
However, if you’ve seen movies such as Jane Eyre,
Sense and Sensibility, Emma, or any other that takes
place in an era where women had a choice of about four things they
could do with their lives, you may enjoy Vanity Fair. There’s
a certain rhythm that you need to get into to follow these sorts of
movies, and some people need to see a few period pieces before they
get the hang of it. Vanity Fair may not be the best place to
start if you’ve never seen one, although it is a movie worth seeing
at some point.
Witherspoon’s in it, but Vanity Fair has nothing to do with
Legally Blonde or the magazine named Vanity Fair. It’s just
about English society in the early 1800s. If all of this is flying
over your head, just go see Sweet Home Alabama again for crissakes.
Or if you want to see a really good Reese Witherspoon movie, check
out Election or Pleasantville.
are so many stars out there who are just…there. There’s nothing especially
remarkable about them. They just look attractive and therefore sell
tickets to people who think even for a second that they can land someone
that comely. Somewhere down the line, those actors and actresses get
a great role and show the world exactly what they’re capable of.
brings us to Josh Hartnett. He’s just there. Not especially remarkable.
I don’t think he’s attractive. He sort of reminds me of DJ from “Roseanne”
all grown up, with Keanu Reeves’ voice somehow built in. But who am
I to say who’s attractive and who’s not? Oh sure, I talk a good game,
but I’d pick up Hartnett’s overflow in a second given the chance (getting
way off track here).
Park is a mystery, I guess, where a good-looking guy and a good-looking
girl get together and they’re happy until the good-looking girl disappears
without so much as an inarticulate goodbye note. Sniff, sniff.
the good-looking guy moves on, but eventually starts seeing the good-looking
girl again. He drops his whole life and then a bunch of twists and
turns ensue. Then it gets what I’m assuming is supposed to be weird
up to the director from the beginning to take a cast (that includes
Matthew Lillard) that you don’t particularly care about and make them
engaging. Director Paul McGuigan had a hell of a challenge here trying
to do that. He was handed a box of Milk Duds and a theater full of
vegans by a film exec and left with the words, “I know you can do
it big fella.”
don’t know if the folks at the MGM studio thought they had another
Vertigo on their hands, but Wicker Park is more like
a vegetarian alternative to the classic Hitchcock masterpiece. It’s
not the movie that’s going to make Josh Hartnett the next Tom Hanks.
It’s an all right flick if you’re in a pinch for something to see,
but when you’ve been fed tofu all summer long, you’re ready to kill
the cow yourself if it means you’ll get a decent meal out of it.
do you get when you add one of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s drinking
buddies from Good Will Hunting, that is-he-acting-or-isn’t-he
crazy quality of Tom “if the bitch gets outta line she’s getting a
beating” Sizemore, and Mel Gibson’s former barber as a director?
right. A cinematic abortion that lived.
plot follows an up-and-coming actor who’s getting some recognition,
and with that acknowledgement comes a gang of notch-above-child-molester
camera-wielding parasites better known as the paparazzi. Sizemore
and crew do the equivalent of what Lee Marvin and company did in the
1953 Marlon Brando classic The Wild One—terrorize people while
being sleazy about it. And Cole Hauser I didn’t even recognize without
his prison jumpsuit-orange hair as the actor who’s got to fight back.
Paparazzi is the cinematic counterpart to avant garde jazz. You know
what I mean—the stuff that’s so discordant to the point of being unlistenable—unless
you’re a musician. It’s music for musicians, and this is a movie for
actors. Not that it has meaty roles or even an opportunity to work
with Martin Scorsese, but it’s a daydream for them and a chance to
vicariously fight back against the people that hide in their bushes
and take non-airbrushed photos of them as they eat brunch on Sunday
not to say that someone who’s not in “the biz” won’t enjoy this cat-and-mouse
thriller. You probably won’t, but at least it doesn’t star Ashley
Judd as an FBI pathologist.
Don’t Live Here Anymore
I think it’s safe to say that there is nothing, and I mean nothing
more interesting than a character study into the lives of two couples.
I’m not shitting you either. If you don’t believe me, check out Who’s
Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Your Friends and Neighbors,
make sure there’s enough alcohol to get you in the right (namely volatile)
frame of mind and you’ll either have enough fodder for a lifelong
friendship (that is presuming that you’re not watching them alone)
or it’s the ideal way to get someone out of your life.
Don’t Live Here Anymore shows up to the party that the aforementioned
movies started, but gets rejected at the door for its sham invitation.
With those other movies, what you see isn’t necessarily what you get.
There’s a buildup, the waters are chummed, the sharks are let loose,
and with the keen eye of the director, you get one hell of a show.
Mike Nichols slapped us in the face with Who’s Afraid of Virginia
Woolf? and Neil LaBute kneed us in the balls with Your Friends
and Neighbors, but We Don’t Live Here Anymore’s John Curran
doesn’t offer the audience so much as a wet willy or a titty twister.
don’t blame the movie’s actors. Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Watts, Laura Dern,
and Peter Krause have shown us time and again exactly what they are
capable of. Ruffalo’s been on point for the most part so far; Watts
and Dern have been consistently impressive, and Peter Krause has been
nothing short of amazing on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” I do blame the
twit who turned the Andre Dubus stories into drier-than-Kafka dreck
watching paint dry in a mid-western state.
Oregon college professors banging each other’s attractive wife. How
can you go wrong? My advice to you—check out those other two movies
if you want to see this sort of thing done right. Or just wife-swap
with your neighbor.
Cookout is a bad dream that you strain against all better judgment
to remember throughout the next day—you get the shakes more intensely
with each horrid detail that comes to you. Ja Rule playing a character
named Bling Bling. Queen Latifah as a security guard. The Method and
Red carbon-copied plot. The stereotypes—that is, everyone in the movie.
All of the C-list celebrities whose careers are in the death-rattle
stage. I can’t recall if there was a canned laugh track in the movie,
but there may as well have been.
don’t think my animosity has anything to do with the fact that this
isn’t my type of movie. Not because its characters are black or rich,
but because I couldn’t really bring myself to care about them. I cared
slightly the first time I saw this type of fish-out-of-water time
killer; I really did. But it’s like hearing a song that you kind of
like for the first time on the radio. It’s a little less interesting
every time you hear it, but you run with it anyway. Then next thing
you know, it’s three months later and you can’t so much as take a
shit without hearing it. Thirteen minutes/years later, you deliberately
listen to something else (no matter how bad it may be) just to escape
movie critic zinger) – “Blow off this Cookout and hit a restaurant
instead.” (Look at what this movie brought me to…)