Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

June 29-July 13, 2005

Issue #78

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend
   

Independence Day
3rd Party Politics for Fun & Profit

 
BAD ART!
Pataki Leads Carge Against the Talentless
by Matt Taibbi
 
Last Best Chance
Dragging our Feet on Nuclear Terror
by Alex Zaitchik
 

Welcome to My Nightmare
Eminent Domain Ruling Leads to Gigantism in B-List Actors

by Ian Murphy

 

Say it Ain't Soda
Revoking the Bottle Deposit is an Asinine Idea

by Christofurious Riordan

 

Reid's United States of Europe
Book Review
by Paul Fallon

 

Just Kill Me
Recruiters are Dying to Talk to Your Kids
by Matt Taibbi

 
Faux-tures

Litigious Idol
Help choose Barnes' new Cellino!

 

Dear Donny
Romantic Advice from the Secretary of Defense

 

Sports

The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
 
Beast-O-Scopes
Kino Korner - Movies
[sic] - Your Letters
 
The BEAST Blog

 

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Land of the Dead

 

I usually heed my own personal rule that horror movies and sequels don’t mix. But George Romero is one of the few horror directors who qualify as exceptions. He invented the zombie movie in 1968 with the horror classic Night of the Living Dead, and has done a sequel and popped his head in once a decade to offer a biting social commentary of the times cleverly disguised as a horror movie.

Unfortunately, Mr. Romero hasn’t served up one of these gems since 1985's Day of the Dead. All we’ve really been offered are numerous reissues of his films on DVD. It’s been twenty years, but Land of the Dead is worth the wait.

The ante has been upped since Mr. Romero has last made a zombie movie and with Land of the Dead, he’s kept the pace. Oh sure, the zombies don’t move like a team of track stars halfway into a crystal meth binge, but Land’s zombies are definitely more interesting. They can think, reason, and on a primal level even communicate.

While Mr. Romero’s precious Dead films have offered statements on racism and commercialism, Land of the Dead offers commentary on capitalism and parallels a (I hate using this term) post-9/11 society. Some years after the events leading up to zombies taking over the world, the living have developed a class system. Then, of course, we’ve got the zombies, who just want to eat.

As with any Dead film, there are some ingenious and disturbing ways that the undead dine as well as some frightening imagery. And of course there’s a scene guaranteed to make even the most battle-hardened of horror fans cringe with disgust.

I’d say check out Land of the Dead. It doesn’t exactly stray from the other movies, but it’s a good watch. And if you’re lucky enough, you won’t have to deal with some dipshit in the audience wigging out every time someone gets a bite taken out of them. Round out your evening with a nice rare steak afterward.

 

Bewitched

I’m going to skip the foreplay here and start off by saying that Bewitched sucked. It flat out sucked. It’s part of the new brand of TV show movie remake that shitcans any semblance of its initial source material and takes it in a completely different direction, usually south.

So, instead of going the route of the domestic housewife who happens to be a witch and having to endure the ongoing squabbles between her milquetoast husband and her drag queen mother, we take another direction: A has-been actor is casting for a TV redo of the “Bewitched” TV show and gets a woman cast who happens to be—get this—a witch...!

Now the thing about Bewitched that I find particularly sad is the talent involved. It seems that since Nicole Kidman, a completely competent actress, won her Oscar a few years back, she has just decided for the most part to stop trying. And then there’s Will Farrell, who apparently is doing the same thing. He seems to have hit a comfort level since he escaped the Saturday Night Live curse, and decided to save the effort for other projects.

It’s almost like Bewitched was put through some kind of Lifetime movie machine. And I swear I saw estrogen oozing out of the screen. This is the kind of film that makes people in twelve-step programs fall off the wagon. It inspires nightmares and will probably be labeled as a leading cause of cancer after a future study is completed.

If you’ve got to piss money away, do something good with your cash like donate it to a charity or buy a Drive-By Truckers album. I’d recommend The Dirty South, but I hear you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

 

Herbie: Fully Loaded

Fully loaded is something that I had to get before I could even think about going to see this movie. Maybe because it involved watching  Matt Dillon begin his downward spiral and Michael Keaton continue his decent into darkness. At least career-wise.

Or maybe the need to mix chemicals and a trip to the local multiplex came is the very same reason that Lindsay Lohan is in the process of transforming herself into an anorexic albino. You seen her lately? I mean, she was on her way to Wastecase City before, but she’s fading away at an accelerated rate. Any traces of the voluptuous, crimson-coiffed nymph that made me realize that I’m turning into a dirty old man are gone.

Maybe she’s sunken into the same state of despondency that I’m falling deeper and deeper into by the moment because she’s she realized that she’s made yet another crappy Disney family movie. She was on the right track with Mean Girls, but I think she took the training wheels off a little too soon.

I recently heard that Miss Lohan ran into a bathroom and freaked out for a good fifteen minutes after seeing Herbie Fully Loaded. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the price of admission to find out why, but if you want to get one last look at her before she sweeps the Trainwreck Awards later this year, I think this is going to be your last chance. Or just go and rent Mean Girls.

 

Batman Begins

About two months ago, I watched the first Batman movie. You know, the one with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. I was fourteen and saw it at the theater maybe fourteen times that summer. At that age, I was unable to see the numerous flaws despite director Tim Burton’s best efforts. All I could see sixteen years later was over-the-top acting, canned back lot sets, and a reason to list my DVD copy for sale online.

Cut to June 15th, 2005. Batman Begins opens. All other Batman movies are officially shit.

Maybe it’s the decline of western civilization or possibly it’s because Warner Bros. finally figured out where the hell they went wrong with the first four installments, but they finally got it right. Batman Begins sheds just about all of the kids-geared nonsense and makes the Batman movie that is truly deserving of the cape and cowl.

For anyone who hasn’t given Batman another thought since 1997's tragic Batman and Robin, Batman Begins goes into Batman’s origins and asks the viewer to give the clean slate treatment and  forget that any of the previous Batman films were ever made. And it’s not too hard to do that by the time the credits roll.

For one, the cast is terrific. Christian Bale is amazing as the young Bruce Wayne as he becomes the dark knight. Gary Oldman turns in yet another great performance as Lt. (Not Commissioner yet) Gordon as does Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) as the Scarecrow. Michael Caine channels Dick Van Dyke’s character from Mary Poppins when he’s supposed to be playing Alfred, Wayne’s butler. Maybe it’s just me, but Katie Holmes wasn’t doing it for me as Wayne’s childhood sweetheart. Maybe I just couldn’t get over the fact that she’s marrying a gay scientologist after knowing him for twenty minutes. And when an actor or actress can’t make you forget such depraved things like that, they’re not doing their job.

Probably the best aspect of Batman Begins comes from its director, Christopher Nolan. He also directed Memento, one of the best movies ever. He turns Gotham City from the terrible backlot sets and gives it the look of a war-torn Asian metropolis. And what he does with the Scarecrow fear toxin hallucination scenes is nothing short of amazing.

There was a point a few years back where director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) was collaborating with Batman writer Frank Miller (Sin City) to adapt Miller’s Batman:Year One (which Batman Begins borrows liberally from) series to the big screen. Obviously, that fell through, but for fans of the comics as well, this is easily the next best thing. And as with any movie of this nature, the opportunity for a sequel is left wide open. And we don’t mind.

 

The Perfect Man

As I watched The Perfect Man, I sat in my seat and silently cursed my editor. “If nothing else, you’ll get to look at Hillary Duff,” he told me. And I thought about this as I eventually tuned out the brainless plot involving a level-headed teen and her flighty mom who looks  for love as she moves the family around the country.

I took my cretinous editor’s advice. I watched Miss Duff and thought to myself—this kid’s not going to age well. For one, she’s got the shoulders of a linebacker. And that voice. Oh God, that voice! I remember hearing something about Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart and how her voice would send people into epileptic seizures. But I only heard one thing from the straw-haired teeny-bopper. Kill the one responsible, the siren’s song sang.

Hillary Duff’s voice sent me on a murderous rampage. But not the kind of murderous rampage like in Grand Theft Auto where you’re supposed to grease a lot of people. I’m talking about the Manchurian Candidate kind where someone’s almost hypnotized and they’ve got one specific person in mind.  And that person? None other than BEAST editor Al Uthman.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to go too far. I caught the bastard who sent me on this crummy assignment at the BEAST office, having just finished up the latest issue. Through a haze, he was finishing up his traditional process of unwinding after being awake three days straight with spent bong in hand.

I saw my editor slumped on the office couch. He looked like the human version of a three day-old cup of coffee that had been used for an ashtray. A milkshake with equal parts apathy, sloth, and rocky road ice cream. God damn you for sending me to see The Perfect Man, Al Uthman. God damn you!  I thought as I thought of the most appropriate way to punch this bastard’s clock. I stared at him for a few moments before he was aware of my presence.

“Hey. What’s up?” he asked as he took a break from his stupor. As I walked deliberately across the room, I started feeling strange. I felt like I was walking through wet cement. My editor covered his mouth as he coughed harshly and held out the bong as he looked at me through bloodshot eyes. He finished coughing.

“I wasn’t serious about you seeing that Hillary Duff movie,” my editor started. “You’ve got that look–that same look I had after I saw Raise Your Voice.” I was discombobulated. Couldn’t... think... straight. He shook his still outstretched arm and lightly shook the contents. “Come on. This’ll help.” I was lightheaded and could barely keep my eyes open. He motioned to the table where many a BEAST meeting had been held as he started laughing. There was half a pizza in a grease-stained box. “Eat something before you try to kill me again.”

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