Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, your next screensaver

This image seem familiar? If so, you're clearly an '80s music nut! Okay, time for Pop Music SATs: Just as Songs from the Big Chair is considered Tears for Fears' first album, so is the status of The Raw & The Cooked from the Fine Young Cannibals (get it?). Albeit they did have that Tears for Fears 3-album set ever so briefly; I didn't have the presence of mind at the time to buy it. Besides, I'm tired of buying stuff all the time. The whole Costco culture, snap it up right now as it comes out. Can't afford to keep up, and yet, can't afford not to keep up.
But I digress. It's time to review another album because I do albums too, for what that's worth. Now I know it's not cool these days to admit to liking any songs, but I must say that The Raw and The Cooked is much more than just the original delivery device of FYC's hit that they'll eternally be remembered for: She Drives Me Crazy. There's something about the ultra-simplistic lyrics, sorta reminiscent of George Harrison's lyrics in his later solo work, and all those pseudo-dance beats; there is an ANSI-standard club dance beat that most songs adhere to these days, and track 8, Don't Let It Get You Down comes closest to it. About a third of the album is a love letter to 50s music, and is featured in the soundtrack to Barry Levinson's film Tin Men, a soundtrack that is way too cluttered with pop hits. I saw part of it when it originally came out on home video - this was when Levinson's camera style was first taking off; how to describe it? Neo-home movies style? Something like that. Finally! 2nd Unit work was getting the attention it deserved. A lot of down time in between the major plot points.
What to say about it, really? There's something about Roland Gift's vocals that remind me of Eric Roberts, but in a good way. Hard to say what songs I like best, but this album is now the one I must play constantly on my computer for the next couple months. I think I like "It's OK (It's Alright)" probably the best. "Don't Let it Get You Down" and "She Drives Me Crazy" are of course a slap in the face to Prince's "Kiss". I mentioned before that the lyrics are ultra-simplistic. Not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps efficient is a better way to describe them; Ernest Hemingway would appreciate them. There's the part in 'Don't Let it Get You Down' that goes "There's a club / I can't get in ... it's my skin / they don't like." I feel for ya, brutha. I used to identify with "I'm not the man I used to be" when I was in high school! What's that all about? Gotta like "I'm not satisfied"; it's probably the best example of that Eric Roberts vibe I mentioned earlier. "Tell me what" is their most straightforward 50s homage. Good backup vocals. "Don't look back" is my least favourite of the tracks; interesting music video, though. I think they filmed it the same day they did the "She drives me crazy" video, but with the whole out-of-focus motif. "As Hard as it is" is the other 50s homage, but no one ever sang like that back then, I tell you what. And finally, "Ever fallen in love" could easily be converted by Eiffel 65 and made into the latest rave at the rave, I swear it.
Well, guess that's about all I can say about that. I gotta go, got an album to listen to some more. :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ever have one of those days?

Which brings us to the weekly Box Office Report. Not much new to report yet. We've still got Ghost Rider and Hannibal 4 coming up. Meantime, Epic Movie rocked and awed the top spot this week, as partially expected. It's clearly vindication for Date Movie, as well as Spy Hard. Every other genre they haven't yet tackled, watch your ass!

Smokin' Aces at #2, followed closely by Night at the Museum and Stomp the Yard. But at #5 this week, it's the debut of Catch and Release, and it's the real breakthrough of triple threat Susannah Grant. Great name, too. This is finally her chance to tell the greatest story ever told: her autobiography! With Jennifer Garner as her, although I personally would've gone with Hilary Swank myself. Or maybe Jessica Simpson. I'm still waiting for the movie that pits Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino together in the same scene as dueling movie nerds.

Padding out the 6 to 10 slots, we have Dreamgirls, Happy-ness, Labyrinth, and the Queen. The Hitcher is just barely clinging to the side of the bowl at #10, but don't worry and fret about it, because the President, producer of the original, is going to declare a national Go See The New Hitcher Day, and he's going to try to make it coincide with some important announcement by Nancy Pelosi.

Apologies to my loyal fan base in advance, yes it's not my usual thorough breakdown I save til Friday, but I was planning on starting my vacation early this week. Keep your fingers crossed for me! :)

p.s. The director of the original Hitcher also did this Jesse Stone thing, uniting the original cast of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tom Selleck as Indy and Sean Young as Marion. Take that, Spiel-y!

Monday, January 29, 2007

An MRH WORLD Exclusive!!!!!!

And it seems there's nobody left for tennis, and I'm a one-blog man. Which brings me to today's emergency blog entry (EBE? Is that worth anything, National ANSI Acronym Guild? (NAAG, or NAANSIAG) ) You know, the term "pseudo-documentary" is thrown around all too often these days, most often in association with Michael Moore. The same could very well be said (by me) about Howard Stern: Shut Up and Listen. In general, after starting strong it comes off as a bit of a paean to Howard... what does that word mean, anyway? ... okay, got the dictionary here. 1. in ancient Greece, a hymn of thanksgiving to the gods, esp. to Apollo ... Close enough. Howard reminds me a bit of David Lee Roth who, in his music videos, surrounded himself with a gallery of Grotesques designed to make him look good on the one hand, and plenty of babes on the other, typically of the L.A. beach varietal. It's an ancient bi-fecta that probably shows up in nature.
Also, at one point in the doc the interviewers are talking to a dude on a mo-ped who sums up Howard's radio show perfectly for me, saying it's a "boring, endless conversation that goes nowhere." We see the guy drive off, then a guy behind the documentarians says "You want to talk about Howard? I love Howard!" and the relieved documentarians say "Oh, thank God." To be a good documentary, and more importantly, not be a pseudo-doc, it's important to maintain a certain ... stand-off-ishness, to show no bias, especially on screen.
But, most importantly, here's the world exclusive, not necessarily the documentarian's fault. This video still is from the doc, and looky look, kids! It's none other than South Park's front man Trey Parker! Here he's doing a character, of course, one of the effeminate adults on the South Park show. Kinduva brunette Marilyn Monroe kind of a vibe who overly uses the word 'poignant' to describe poor ol' put-upon Howard Stern. Unfortunately, Mr. Parker was constrained to using irony to describe his true feelings for Mr. Stern: if you look online somewhere there is a quote of condemnation from the South Park camp, calling Mr. Stern's humor vulgar and offensive; in short, just like South Park. Hmmm... lost the link to it. Okay, found it. I should've searched ' "trey parker" howard stern ' instead of ' howard stern "south park" '. Lesson learned. Also, I guess Kevin Smith was friends with Howard, at least until Howard pointed out to Kevin that Jersey Girl was a critical and commercial failure. Good for you, Howard. But don't you understand? He made Clerks 2 just for you! Love, don't hate.

Oh, but I got off track again, didn't I? As elusive as consciousness itself is, we can all at least agree on the fact that Howard Stern, as the pseudo-doc itself says, has made "millions of friends, millions of enemies, and (most importantly - my editorializing :) ) millions of dollars." I just wonder if his $100 million move to satellite radio lost him some fans. After all, even Prince went into a kind of semi-exile after word of his 7-album, 100 million dollar contract got out. And I must give a brief shout-out to documentarian James Riffel. Keep up the good work, sir! And watch your ass, Ken Burns, because in the great Decathlon in which all filmmakers of every stripe are running today, this guy's liable to sneak up behind you with the Olympic torch and singe it for you, and get Digital Domain to put it all on film.

p.s. Michael Moore hates America? If I were him, I'd sue! I'd never agree to that! Say it isn't so, Ian...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Short Road to the Oscars

Folks, award season is once again upon us, and in particular the Oscars are just closing in as we speak. They're scheduled for February 25th which will give everyone plenty of time to finish their taxes. The only real question left to resolve is, of course, will I correctly predict any winners? Hey, it's my blog, give me a little room for ego here, huh? Besides, that's what I plan to do, barring any unforeseen circumstances... which reminds me, I gotta get my laundry. Hold on...
Alright, took care of that. Well, I can't resist a corny segué so let's dive right into my Oscar laundry list. Well, first of all I know what's going to win for Best Animated Feature, and that would be Cars, and I'm not just basing it off of DVD sales, unlike the Academy. No, it's my man John Lasseter because how could he be happy with just his one Special Achievement Oscar for Toy Story? Feels like a whole century ago! We're already up to TS3. Time for some fresh acknowledgement. It'll be the perfect opportunity to plug Pixar as a workplace, and a chance to throw in a seemingly random plug for what he will undoubtedly call the "underrated" Goodbye Lover. Suck on that, Monster House!

For Visual Effects, the field seems kinda thin. Just Poseidon and Superman Returns, a coupla remakes, basically. But Pirates 2, man! It's the only one of these I saw in the theater, and I must say it's the only one that had the hearts and minds of the people, baby! And some very creative pirates, I must add. Some of the craziest damn things I've seen in a long while. Gotta give it to P2.

For Best Makeup, it'll probably go to Pan's Labyrinth. In fact, Pan's Labyrinth will probably sweep all the awards it's nominated for, but I'm giving it to Click anyway. Lemme tell ya something, if Click wins, it'll probably piss off the most people. So many heads held in hands, shaking in disbelief. I'd buy that for a dollar!

Man, this is tough! Requires a great deal of deliberation, more than I'm prepared to do right now, now that it's my bedtime. Well past, as usual. But I do it all for you, my loyal reader! I'll do one more. Best Documentary Feature? Let me do it this way: "Deliver Us From Evil" - no. "Iraq in Fragments" - should win, but probably won't. "An Inconvenient Truth" - should win, but has about as good a chance as Brokeback Mountain. So it's down to "Jesus Camp" and "My Country, My Country". While My Country x 2 has a great Oscar-sounding title, Jesus Camp generated a little more buzz, especially with the Daily Show crowd... my crowd. I'm assuming the latter will triumph, and for just that reason. Goin' with J.C.

So much farther to go, but you gotta take these kinds of things slow, right? Right. And so good night, and happy blogging. I'm just so glad that the internet's open 24 hrs. a day, just like New York City.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stompin' at the Boneyard (box offi... too late!)

See that dude to my left? That's my man there. That's Spike Lee, man! Mars Blackmon, if you must. It's Spike in his greatest cinematic triumph ever, in the single greatest scene ever, and he's kickin' it older than old school, doin' the ol' Lindy hop with Malcolm X. Greatest film ever made, man. Actually, in my book it comes a close second to She Hate Me, but close enough.

Which brings us in a roundabout sorta way to the Box Office this week. (Yessir, those English 101 classes paid off big time with the segue stuff!) At #1 it's Stomp the Yard, which once again proves I don't have my finger on the nation's pulse. Who pushed it harder, MTV or Whoever did was obviously advertising to a large group of ingrates. Bottom 100 already? Really? Worse than From Justin to Kelly? Or Santa with Muscles? I say we give it some time. Time to settle. You know in the old days of the IMDb bottom 100 it used to be that Eegah! and Manos were squarely near the bottom, with Troll 2 in tow. Now anybody can just sorta wedge their way into it, like Material Girls or even Paris Hilton. Just remember, folks! Ghosts can't do it.

Number two brings us NATM which is Ben Stiller's latest 200 million blockbuster. Sadly, or not sadly enough, Mickey Rooney hasn't used it as an excuse to hit the talk show circuit. Maybe he could fill in for Uncle whozit on Jimmy Kimmel's show.

In third place is Bill Condon's least gratuitious pic yet, Dreamgirls. Word is that Eddie Murphy had such a good time on the set, combined with the fact that it's doing better than Pluto Nash, Condon is in talks to do Murphy's next pic: a feature length version of his SNL sketch "C-I-L-L my landlord..." I better subscribe to Variety on that one.

Following in fourth is The Hitcher, and I think the less said about that, the better. For shame, Boromir. For shame. ...I'm surprised! I thought for sure it would be in the Bottom 100 by now, too! Go figure.

In fifth this week, Happyness is oh so very close to the 200 mill mark. Maybe the theater owners will have pity and keep it in there for a couple more months til it makes it. Audiences are so fickle. This over Ali?

In sixth this week is Freedom Writers. Guess they should've called it Box Office Winner Writers. Then again, it is a bit of a mouthful at the ticket counter. Oh well. Can't win 'em all. Better go back to keeping the dream alive online, taking comfort in the bloggers who went to see it, and the fraction of those who liked it.

Pan's Labyrinth at #7, already at #100 in the IMDb Top 250. I say the latter's better for the long haul. And it's STILL not playing around here!!!

Children of Men is at #8 and it's also in the top 250. Next thing you know Del Toro will be directing an installment of Harry Potter.

The Queen is at #9, but who cares, Helen Mirren already cleaned up at the Golden Globes. Taylor's getting jealous, honey! He's gonna wanna direct you at some point, perhaps in a sequel to Against All Odds, I don't know. Which brings us to what rounds out the Top 10. Luc Besson's back, baby! And this time, he's toning down the Tarantino-esque violence for the grade school crowd. Being a Pixar into and of himself, he brings us Arthur and the Invisibles. Saw the trailer for it at Costco. Mia Farrow looks a little bit like she's in hell. The critics are ragging on it, to be sure. For example, Ebert's replacement this week criticized the film because of its blatant depiction of a Dubya-esque dictator. Hey, I'm liking this already! Yes, it's lamentable that we're going through such a period in cinema. Not since Nixon has a succession of presidents made such an imprint on the silver screen. Have we already forgotten The Day after Tomorrow? Fraid so. To be fair, they did cut out the subplot where the Dubya-esque dictator has an affair with a Karen Hughes-style mistress. Although I think they may have been coerced into making the cuts. Something about losing a passport, I don't know. Nevertheless, good work, Luc. You're back int he American Top 10 where you belong. Just as long as you don't make an American sequel to Taxi. I beg you, please!!!

Well that's it for me this week. And remember: thank god for the left nipple!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Short Reviews - January 2007

One thing about Stephen Colbert - after surviving a brush with the President, and a Democratic majority, even braving the Hellfires of Guitarmageddon, he sure is unflappable. And quite bounce-back-able. Hey, why should he have all the fun reinventing English? Freem?! I submit 'iconoclasticity' for his approval. Maybe just iconoclast-y. Anywho, I had to venture into O'Reilly territory. Man, is it like a whole other country. The Factor TV show somehow seems like he's doing his radio show, especially when he goes to commercial. Plus he has way more gimmicky structure to his show than The Colbert Report does. "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"... I love it. See, people don't realize it takes an awful lot of energy to argue as fast as O'Reilly does. Must be some combination of gingko biloba, spirulina, and giant yogurt enemas that keeps the bastid going. Sadly, he may never figure out why he's not popular with liberals. Kinda reminds me of me in middle school. But like most Repube-licanuses who consistently lose debates in public arenas, who cares anyway? They've got money to go home to!

And onward to the reviews...

Arthur and the Invisibles - The latest directorial effort from Luc Besson, apparently based on a kid's book he wrote. I wonder if he's happy with the adaptation?

Black Christmas - I guess I can appreciate the idea of the movie a little better than the movie itself. Is it out yet?

We Are Marshall - Aah yes! McG's oscar pic. Even he gets tired of the non-oscar pablem.

Fearless on DVD - Why do they insist on calling it Jet Li's last martial arts epic?

Narnia 4-disc edition - 4 Discs! Unheard of. Even more than the 10-disc edition of the Matrix trilogy: that's 3.3333 discs per movie. Outdone! And well done...

Courteney Cox's "Dirt" on FX - This time, they may have gone too far! Now I can't even remember why...

The Hitcher (2007) - a remake of a film that George W. Bush had a hand in producing! They girl'd up this remake, though - this time a guy gets drawn and quartered by two monster trucks! Wicked pissah...

What the fu-----(---(--+-=-k do I know? I'm sending all my money to Ramtha! Now, time for a little arbitrage...

Primeval - not primeval enough...

Shooter - Just change the president's schedule!!! He goes on vacation a lot these days, right?

Breach - you've done it again, Billy Ray!

The Kingdom - If it's not good enough for Michael Mann to direct, I don't want to see it.

Code Name: The Cleaner - Martin Lawrence is using up his every last favor in the biz to make sure this bombs. He's also got a Cedric the Entertainer voodoo doll just for good measure.

Freedom Writers - Blatant Oscar Bait... so why are they releasing it January 5th? It can't be considered until next year!

"Scrubs" - Way too cute. But maybe it'll resurrect Tara Reid's soiled reputation... that's a good thing, right?

Little Miss Sunshine - I approach it with trepidation. It's got everything a hot movie needs these days - good buzz, a decent cast, a clear color / design motif (yellow), and on top of it all a co-worker of mine can claim about 4 degrees of separation from one of the co-directors. You just can't buy that kind of publicity!

Epic Movie - If ZAZ isn't involved, I don't wanna know about it...

Stomp the Yard - My Gaydar just went off... And I've seem 'em all: You Got Served, Honey, even Only the Strong didn't set it off.

No Country for Old Men - Seriously, the only movie I'm waiting for. Oh sure I might go to the theaters a couple times this year, but this is all I'm waiting for. And I hope it's not like Pan's Labyrinth and playing at the selectest of the select cities. This is Seattle we're talking about, for Christ's sake! I await any updates... so far, my best shot is going to Australia on or after June 7, 2007 to see this puppy. Real bonzer, mate!

Well, that and The Simpsons Movie. The only two I'm waiting for this year.

Letters from Iwo Jima - It's not fair. It's just not fair.

Breaking and Entering - I know how this casting deal was brokered! This is from when Sean Penn called Jude Law "one of our finest actors"! Right?

Army of One / Joshua Tree - Beat the army by 13 years... I don't know what coven of hippie liberals made you change your name to Joshua Tree, but you'll always be Army of One to me.

Hannibal Rising - That gives Conan O'Brien an idea! Something like... Baby Hannibal... and Robert Smigel will do Fetal Hannibal, of course...

Venice / Venice - You mean you're going to go to all the trouble to seek out this movie, and you're going to skip over the special director's introduction? You philistines! As narcissistic as Jaglom is, even he had to be a little starstruck with Duchovny...

Babyfever - This is truly the most terrifying horror pic I've ever seen: Eric Roberts saying he wants to have a baby!

Sitting Ducks - I can't believe it! Jaglom and plot actually together for once in the same movie!

Johnny Guitar - The IMDb doesn't have it yet, but Johnny Guitar shoots a gun the way Sundance did at the beginning of his movie. Kewl! On the down side, Joan Crawford always has that same look on her face...

Norbit - Charlie Murphy gets a second screenplay chance...

Soup to Nuts - I don't know if I'd call it Rube Goldberg's Masterpiece, more like his Manifesto One can't help but think, yeah, that sounds like something he'd come up with...

Isn't that enough for you people?! :)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Short Reviews - December

Not a big fan of South Park, and just saw a little bit that reaffirmed my opinion. I will say the Crank Prank Timephone episode was almost Simpsons-quality stuff, but usually it's like the Smug episode. George Clooney's Oscar acceptance speech for Syriana appears in cloud form. The episode itself is an homage to Clooney's The Perfect Storm; the Simpsons just did an homage to that, too! Anyway, the town of South Park buys hybrid cars. They reduce smog levels, but increase smug(ness) levels. I guess the proper liberal response to this concept would have to be this: the science just isn't in on the effects of smug.

Ugly Betty - just won big at the Golden Globes. But that comes as no surprise to me. The title alone is award-worthy! Can the 100th episode be far behind?

The Messengers - These days, I just can't tell what looks scarier anymore: the PG-13 horror pictures, or the R horror pictures. In any case, this looks like a nice update to The Sixth Sense.

Stakeout 3 - Completely vanished without a trace. But there's always the middle school civics/ high school politics market to appeal to.

The Last King of Scotland - If I didn't see the commercial on TV telling me that Whitaker's performance was the best of the year, I never would've known! Seriously, though, I hope he wins the Oscar. An Oscar. Any Oscar!

Spider Man 3 - I don't know. I was a little underwhelmed by the trailer, actually. And what's with that Freddy Krueger-style meets Charlie Brown-lookin' sweatshirt on the Sandman dude?

Last Laugh '06 - Underwhelming compared to last year's extravaganza. Although I did appreciate their feature: "The biggest Tool of '06". And, based on an online vote, the winner of the Biggest Tool of '06 was ... George W. Bush? Really? Bigger than K-Fed? I don't think so. Worst president ever, but not necessarily the biggest tool of 06. They should've done the top 5 at least.

Notes on a Scandal - Cat figtht of the 21st Century! I think it's based on the 1998 Oscars...

Babel - Ah, even Cate herself can't keep track of all these mvoies she's in...

Alpha Dog - See Smokin' Aces.

Deck The Halls - DeVito's acting equivalent of his narration of ... Duplex! Just came to me...

Music and Lyrics - Haven't I seen this movie already?

Perfume - Dustin's still got it!

Idiocracy - Son of Sleeper.

Premonition - It's a lot like Groundhog Day, but with all the funny, entertaining parts cut out. It's the hot new way to add spice to an otherwise stagnant marriage, kinda like how certain right-wingers are trying to add spice to America's relationship with Christmas.

Undisputed 2 - My man is ripped!

Kissing a Fool - Really, I think we can all learn something from this movie. I only saw about five minutes of it, but before I did, I was a normal, clean, sober American. Now I've become a toothless meth addict! You can read all about it in my upcoming memoir...

And finally this cycle...

"Shooting Sizemore" - as long as Sizemore doesn't shoot anyone! Guess what, folks, that's the news and I am outta here...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Get ready for...

Another big burst of short reviews! Brought to you by Okay, bills paid.
But before we get on with it, this is indeed the new year, but if you're Jewish it's been about 4 months into it, right? Anyway, I'm looking forward to summer already. I must be getting older, and really tired of digging my way out of snow. But in my travails and my travels I happen to run across a terrific quote by the man himself, Dr. Martin Luther King. For copyright purposes I it was from a speech he gave at the UAW's 25th Anniversary dinner on April 27, 1961. I particularly like it because it shows he's STILL ahead of his time. See, the hot word on the street put out there by some wise-ass fiscal conservative that got under my skin was that the free market would have eventually put an end to segregation. So, here's Dr. King's quote:

"Social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time itself becomes the ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of social stagnation. So in order to realize the American dream of economic justice and the brotherhood of man, men and women all over the nation must continue to work for it."

Now, Dr. King said that 47 years ago (two score and seven). So, for those of you out there who read that but still think to yourselves "Well, I still think the free market would've eventually ended segregation anyway" to them I say, ain't it just like a fiscal conservative to stand up for a half-baked notion they say EVENTUALLY would've worked. Don't even bother explaining why or how, because such an expenditure of energy would simply be uncivilized. Reminds me of a certain global struggle we've become entangled in! Now, if Clinton said it'll be for the next president to figure out ...

Okay, enough of my yappin'. Time for some movie yappin' as we subtly progress into...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Focker, pt. 2

Dang, these cold feet of mine. What is it about those giant hunks of flesh around the heels that act as a complete conduit for the cold? Must be the lack of veins and arteries. So many things to acquire; a good pair of slippers, a phone headset so I can walk and talk at the same time, with the potential of tripping and falling on my ass while on the phone. "Oh, nothing, I just fell down there... So anyway" What else? And on top of it all, I have to drive all the way to Ephrata to see Pan's Labyrinth. Better just buy the Code 3 DVD downtown and forget about it. C'mon, Guillermo, make Ron Perlman the oldest young man in action movies today yet again!

Must... stop... non-sequiturs. Nobody likes 'em. We got a box office to report on. We left off at #5 which is Dreamgirls, and then! Then we get to the fresh meat, heh heh... #4 brings us Freedom Writers, which looks like kinduva group Antwone Fisher kinda thing. Guess it's not in the same vein as Freedom Fries, as one might think if you're living in a state colored Red. Well, throw it into the same stream as Blackboard Jungle, Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds, maybe Singleton University for good measure. This box office cycle's sorta Turning LaGravenese, I really think so...

Then at #3 it's the other debut this week, the latest rehash of the 12 Monkeys genre, and it's called Children of Men. There's already talk of a sequel, but they're not sure whether to set it in the past and call it Parents of Children, or set it in the future and call it Son of Children of Men, or set it even farther into the future and call it Alimony. In any case, I'm sure Julianne Moore's just down on her knees and thanking her lucky stars it's not pulling a Freedomland at the box office.

And of course, Happyness at 2 and Museum at 1. Yawn. I really need some sleep. I've almost defeated my cold and regained my voice so I don't sound like Super Dave all the time! There's gotta be a big showbiz secret there... how does he sound hoarse all the time? No clues. I like how on his old appearances on Carson, Johnny would always say "Now, I think you have an obligation to show this clip! You've given us these expectations of a clip and I think you need to follow through!" ...okay, that's all I got for now. Ta ta!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Auteur Watch: Peter Jackson

Boy, I must've been in a snow-induced funk or something, but every once in a while there's a little bit of news that's like a jolt of double-espresso right into the pituitary gland. No sooner was I reading about the Diaz - Timberlake split caused by a Johansson wedge when I caught a whiff of another tiff in the news! Between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema chief Bob Shaye no less. And it's not because, during a recent private screening of the special director's cut of Book of Love, Peter was overheard saying it was the worst piece of liquid crap he ever seen. Nor was it because Peter was quoted as saying The Last Mimzy puts the 'puke' in his hometown of Pukerua Bay, North Island, New Zealand. No, apparently it's just over money, all that green, green Lord of the Rings money. Not idly do the Benjamins of Lorien fall, my friends! I haven't seen these kinds of fiduciary troubles since James Cameron got completely screwed out of his Titanic profits. But the Rings money, there's a lot more competition over that. All I want to know is, is Zaentz getting his fair share?

Really, though, the article was quite something. These two should either go on The People's Court or one of its ten gazillion knock-offs to settle their differences. Or maybe Jerry Springer, if he can take time from his weekend show on Air America. As much as I hate to pick sides, I think Jackson came off sounding a little better. Shaye seemed a little too blustery, as management should, of course. And I thought Mr. Jackson was going to settle peacefully back into obscurity with The Lovely Bones. (working title: Heavenly Creatures 2) The tiff also had something to do with planned Rings prequels, or The Hobbit. If I were Jackson, personally, I'd be kinda tired of the whole Rings thing anyway. Rings prequels, the Hobbit, that sounds more like a job for the likes of a James McTeigue, or a Justin Lin. Hell, maybe even Michael Cimino could come out of retirement to do it, and co-direct with William Friedkin. Anyway, the point being, I hope these two crazy kids can set aside their differences and join forces to combat the real enemy... Wes Craven. That bastard needs to be taken down a couple dozen notches.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Economy is much better now uygy

Well, it's like the man says: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it." As timely today as it was twenty years ago. For example, there was a blurb on Yahoo! news about this painter who finally made it big with her painting of Angelina Jolie in the heavens just hovering over Wal-Mart. It's kinduva Rolling Stone / Vanity Fair kind of a deal that Annie Leibowitz might've concocted, but with a lower quality of heavenly lighting. Heavenly Lighting 1.0, if you will. You could read all about it on the painter's own blog, but you'll just have to find it yourself because frankly I have neither the time nor the ... well, frankly, I just don't care. Although I did hear that Ashlee Simpson, not to be outdone, is interested in doing a similar project which will be on the cover of Vanity Fair sometime next year.
Which brings us to this week's box office battle. For an unprecedented third week in a row, it's Night at the Museum, which must be some kind of vindication for producer Chris Columbus and his 1492 pictures (I don't get it...) The PG market is hot again! Fortunately he's at a point in his career where he doesn't have to direct his own mega-hits. Oh but let us not dwell on all this happiness; let us turn back the clock and see where the box office began...

This week it begins at #10 with the underdog story of this year, We Are Marshall. I guess everyone's already forgotten Invincible, and The Rookie is an even more distant memory. But Remember the Titans will always have a home on ABC Family, or whatever channel they are now. And Clash of the Titans was the best movie of the 60s animation explosion ever, right up there with "Frosty the Snowman" and all that other stuff... Where was I? Oh yeah, the Chad is rad!

At #9 it's Rocky Balboa, the other sports underdog story this week. Uh-oh! Someone wrote that it's "a heart-felt and meaningful end to the Rocky series" without writing Spoiler Alert!!! Drat. Anywho, you'd be hard pressed to find an online review that doesn't include the words "American institution" or "Grecian formula". But to get the word on the street, I generally rely on The Onion and The Village Voice myself, but the dude in the Village Voice had this to say, betwixt others of course: "Now Rocky VI equals Bush II: However bloody things get, the born fighter refuses to throw in the towel. " The only difference is, at least Rocky doesn't have an inner circle to take punches for him.

And speaking of inner circles, #8 gives us The Good Shepherd, the gift that keeps on giving. A friend of mine asked me "Who's the most sympathetic character in the movie?" And after giving it some thought I said the Angelina Jolie character, or as Jennifer Aniston calls her, Devil Woman. I like what one of the Extra / Access Hollywood shows said about Jolie, that Aniston couldn't overcome Jolie's "overpowering sexiness," and I think it was in relation to the whole Brad Pitt Mr. and Mrs. Smith thing even. Yes, even the least demonstrative reader of Maxim magazine can't help but look at Matt Damon and Angelina together, see Matt choose career over family, and think to themselves "He's gotta be gay, right? Gotta be, there's no rational explanation!" On the other hand, the couple's lipstick budget was pretty steep. Takes a pretty high-paying job to cover that kinda stuff.

#7 gives us the gift of Charlotte's Web. Nope, still don't care because #6 gives us N'Happily Ever After or ... I'm sorry, it's spelled Happily N'Ever After. I think it's supposed to help pave the way for Shrek 3. Or Hoodwinked 2. One or the other.
And so we've climbed up halfway up the mountain. Stay tuned for the other half. My bath water awaits!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Oh, nice going, Focker!!!

Boy, I don't know. I know it's a new year and all, but it sure feels like an old year so far. I think Lewis Black predicted it correctly; if I remember, he said 2006 blew, and 2007's gonna blow too.
Ne'theless the box office tallies carry on, despite the terrorists' best efforts.
Nothing much new to report, lamentably. We'll just have to wait 'til February for anything new. At #10 it's The Holiday, and for Jude Law it's the Hard Place for the Rock that was Alfie. Man, talk about Irreconcilable Differences! Meanwhile, Eli Wallach longs for the colorful roles of The Good, Bad and Ugly, but is willing to settle for Tough Guys-style material.
Next, Happy Feet keeps on tapping at #9, and I STILL bet Spielberg wishes he was in on this one. In your face, VeggieTales!
At #8 it's We Are Marshall. It wasn't supposed to be a Box Office Underdog!!! Still, I can't wait to hear "And the Oscar goes to... McG! Best Director..." Why not?
At #7 it's Dragon... oh, wait, I misspelled it. Eragon. Hah! Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer's poo-poohing all these candidates for Bart's name, but finally seriously considers the name Bart: "Hmm! Bart, cart, dart, e-art... Nope! Nothing wrong with that!"
At #6 it's the last American hero, Rocky Balboa. But don't worry, folks. We got the new Rambo on the horizon, too. They're calling it... Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra. Oh, God! That's the one remake we don't need!... too late... Hmm! Time for Movie SAT 101: Sly vs. Ali G. There's Ali G., Borat and Bruno on the one side, and Rambo and Rocky on the other... so what's Sly's comparative Bruno? Tango of Tango and Cash? Just asking...

Whew! Halfway there...

At #5 it's The Good Shepherd. Eat it, Copland!
Clocking in at #4, Charlotte's Web is giving as good as it's getting. And what is it getting? A rather tepid reception from the forces of Secularia. They should've churched it up a little! I think the Bible belt is ready to welcome Dakota Fanning back into their very open arms. Do it for Reba! And screw you, Dixie Chicks!
Dreamgirls keeps swooning within the top 5, currently at #3. Why, Bill Condon must be in heaven! And the best part of it is, today's triumph makes up for all the past, especially Sister, Sister and Candyman 2. heh heh...
At #2 it's The Pursuit of Happy-Ness, or the way I prefer to think of it, Men in Black 2 and a half...
Anyway, Night at the Museum continues to enhance Ben Stiller's Box Office reputation (take that, Sandler!), and further buttress the legacy of Stiller & Meara. Man, I'm all hyper-linked out tonight. Anyway, I think I'll wait til it comes on HBO. I'm still smarting from Along Came Polly, me thinks.
Alright, that's it for this week. Hey, at least I got it done a little earlier than I usually do, right? :)