The BEAST - Buffalo's Best Fiend........www.buffalobeast.com.............Issue 59 9/30/04--10/14/04

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Kino Korner: Movie Reviews

By Michael Gildea


The Forgotten

I'm at a complete and total loss on this one, kids. I mean, what is there to say about a Sixth Sense knockoff with a plot that's so trite and monotonous that it's been done twice a year for the last half decade?

A woman whose son died; no one else remembers him. Is she crazy? Is she perfectly sane? Is she paranoid? Does anyone care?

I was reading about Margot Kidder lately. You remember her; she played Lois Lane in the Superman movies from the '70s and '80s. Well, she lost her shit a few years back: paranoid schizophrenia, stalking Richard Pryor, yanking her teeth out because she thought the CIA and her ex-husband were out to get her.

The Forgotten sort of reminded me of that, because at one point in the movie the FBI gets involved. The plot is also so twisted that, by the time the big revelation comes explaining the whole damned mess, half the garbage being spewed at you is all new information. That prevents you, the viewer, from figuring it out in the first ten minutes, walking out, and asking for your money back.

Julianne Moore is a great actress, but lately she spends too much time doing make-up ads and not enough actually reading her scripts. It's like she's trading in her reputation for free cosmetics.

As for The Forgotten, just forget the whole thing. A movie's title will often tell you whether or not to bother. This one's telling you to forget it. You just need to pay attention.


Shaun of the Dead

Spoofs and send-ups are usually fun. Half the time, whatever's being spoofed is pretty dumb to begin with, and the parody usually winds up being more entertaining than the original material. Not Another Teen Movie and the Scary Movie series are a few good examples.

Part of what makes these types of movies enjoyable is the fact that, unlike most movies that you can't take seriously, these ones don't even want you to try. Shaun of the Dead is a send-up of the latest wave of zombie movies. It doesn't so much spoof movies like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead so much as it just nods to them. It really just plants silly characters into the world of those movies and lets the laughter ensue.

Shaun of the Dead has a minimal plot and a lot of laughs. I liked it because it's just a goofy comedy that doesn't require any thought of its audience. It's kind of like going to dinner at a friend's house as opposed to cooking for yourself…easy.


First Daughter

First Daughter is what's left of the shit that Mandy Moore took earlier this year with Chasing Liberty. Sometimes one flush just isn't enough.

It's the story of the President's daughter going off to college and not being able to live her life because she keeps winding up in magazines and newspapers. Michael Keaton plays the president, if that tells you anything. Good thing he stopped doing those Batman movies that were holding back his career, huh?

Katie Holmes has the ability to pick a great project. Check out Wonder Boys, The Gift, and The Ice Storm if you don't believe me. I was actually pulling for her in her whole is-there-life-after-Dawson's-Creek struggle. But a couple of more movies like this and she's looking to be the season premiere episode of E's "True Hollywood Stories."

Avoid First Daughter at all costs, even if it means the death of those closest to you. Unless it's your pets' lives; then just take one for the team.


Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Well, the movement has officially reached a new stage. What movement is that, you ask?

The movement to replace anything in a movie that is not an actor with a computer-generated image.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is the ten-year labor of writer/director Kerry Conran. Conran has taken elements from '40s matinee serials and resurrected them, in order to reintroduce them to a new generation and new century. What we wind up with is what you'd get if you put The Iron Giant and ''Batman: The Animated Series" in the middle of a fistfight that carried over into the real world and threw Indiana Jones in to referee the battle. Combine some art deco, a can of retro, slap a futuristic coat of paint on it and you've got yourself a Sky Captain.

Stars Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow have a lot of the same chemistry that Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell had in My Girl Friday-a lot of back-and-forth mixed in with a lot of pain-in-the-ass backseat driving and second-guessing on her part. Angelina Jolie shows up for a whopping twenty minutes of screen time as well. Don't let her eyepatch get you too excited boys…

In the end, Conran made a decent (and great-looking) movie, especially for a first time director. But when it comes down to it, it just seemed like he tried to make a post-dated time capsule that had only small fragments of what he was trying to do as opposed to the larger pieces that were required to pull it off. But I could be wrong. None of those serials from the '40s were that great; they were just fun.

And that's what you'll have at Sky Captain, if you don't pick at it too much and allow yourself to enjoy it. It's just about a guy who's a cross between Batman and Indiana Jones trying to save the world from an evil genius and big robots.

So what's the whole "movement" thing? Lawrence Olivier plays the bad guy bent on world destruction. What's the big deal? He died fifteen years ago. Even actors can be computer-generated now. Insert theramin music here.

P.S. If Brad Pitt is reading this; The BEAST is looking for ad people if you're interested. I may even be able to get you free movie passes too.


Wimbledon

Wimbledon is about an up-and-coming American female tennis pro who falls for an English tennis pro who's on his way out. Or so the movie would have you believe.

I got something completely different out of it. With Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany as the two main stars of the movie how can you not? I mean, England sending in their fugliest leading man and the U.S. sending in their best hot-bodied butterface (if you don't know what "butterface" means, e-mail me at Michael@buffalobeast.com for an explanation and other zingers) is truly a sign that neither country truly trusts each other after the Revolutionary War. Oh sure, Tony Blair and George W. hump it up really well on TV, but I assure you it's all an act.

The fact of the matter is that Wimbledon is yet another attempt by the UK to enslave America. The plan is to seduce America through movies like Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones' Diary into a world of sodomy, fellatio, bad weather and even worse food. Bad teeth too.

A drunken UB English exchange student named Nigel let the cat out of the bag one night when he told me that the movies "lull you fuckin' Yanks into the belief that England is not a threat and that we're there to entertain you." The student also told me after a few more pints that they plan to ban circumcision when they retake control of the colonies.

"Mr. Pinky needs his coat, and the head of the circumcised penis resembles Darth Vader's helmet a bit too much for our liking," he said. "You fookin' bitches better recognize as well," Nigel added before he tried to "get [his] root shagged."

Wimbledon also confirmed my theory that Kirsten Dunst should have her own lighting team in tow 24-7. There were moments in the movie where she seemed as angelic as she did in The Virgin Suicides. However, there were also moments where it seemed that her cheeks were engaged in an ongoing process to envelope her face. The plan is to take the whole head over and have her ample bosom do the talking for the rest of her days.

The whole thing made me sad to think that England was once a rich culture offering great horror movies, James Bond, and Monty Python. Now all it seems they have for us is Radiohead knock-off bands and sappy chick flicks starring people of questionable genetic makeup.

The British are coming, but you won't after seeing Wimbledon.


Mr. 3000

Watch the trailer for Mr. 3000 and you've got the whole plot. An asshole baseball player gets his 3000th home run and cashes in on his fame to sell everything from cars to douche bags. Ten years later, it comes to the attention of the committee in charge of the baseball hall of fame that he was actually three hits short. So now his doughy ass is determined to get back on top, get those three hits and be eligible for the hall of fame.

Basically, it's the same sports movie you've seen a couple hundred times before about a loser who needs to reclaim his glory in the face of adversity.

Now Bernie Mac has the ability to engage anybody, to the point of clinching off the Uncle Tom reflex. It's his first leading role and the only reason I can think of as to why Mac did this tired formula movie is that he feels the need to "take his whuppin'" like any famous black comedian in a white man's world. He's just playing the game, man; just playing the game.

Personally, I hate sports more than life itself. I take no pleasure in watching sports that take twenty minutes to set up an eight-second play. If I want to watch grass grow, I'll sit on my front porch. So, for me, there were way too many sports references. Maybe it's because I don't flip between the forty-seven some-odd ESPN channels with my dick in my hand for twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes a day, but a lot of it flew over my head.

Obligatory hack critic zinger: "Mr. 3000 has its moments, but it didn't hit a home run with me." Anyway, it's not the worst movie I've ever seen; if you've got the better part of two hours of your life to waste give it a shot.


2004 The Beast

e-mail: sic@buffalobeast.com