Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Auteur Watch - Lina Wertmüller

Ah, the last auteur of 2010. Well, ol' Lina became a favourite after I saw Seven Beauties. My tribe is all a big fan of the opening scene of it, anyway. They don't go in for the rest of the tour-de-force type stuff. Perhaps for good reason, but I still admire the effort. So it's perhaps the 70s that were the best for ol' Miss Wertmuller. Worldwide critical acclaim, Cannes would never be quite the same. I understand that the remake of Swept Away just wasn't as good, to say the least.
But then... then, directing films became just another boring job. Like going to the bank and withdrawing over and over again. Not a bad job if you're rich and are making more interest than you can spend in a lifetime. The IMDb's just gotta make studying these things easier. Will no auteur buck the trend of upsetting the status quo as a young'un, then settling into a comfortable rut in your later years? No one at all? We must look to Gregg Araki and Kevin Smith for that... well, one, anyway. Wait a sec... is this tidbit of trivia true? She became a mom at 65? Hope that's the last one, girlfriend! Then again, what do I know? Keep up the good work for as long as you can, I guess.

Fockers and Bridges

There. I'm trying to make my obscure references a little less obscure. Anyway, is Jeff Bridges' 2010 shaping up to be like George Clooney's 2005? Could be! Except that the Dude doesn't SEEM to be as political... something like that. From my shallow reading of the situation, anyway.
But it still comes as little to no surprise that Fockers 3 is top dawg at the box office. Did they wrap up the trilogy all nice and neat like? Is the door open for a fourth in 3D? Sigh. That's what I get for not getting out to the cinema more often. The critics sure seem to hate it, though, as they do most things.
And so, while Tron has yet to recoup its purported $300 million price tag, True Grit may have broken even on advertising. They're being coy with budget information, the very thing that every true Coen brothers fan wants to know: was anybody grouchy on the set, and how much did the damn thing cost? Did Spielberg get final cut? Did the ghost of Stanley Kubrick follow them around Texas? Tell me, tell me, tell me! More info, damn it, MORE INFO! (site for more info)
The only other debut this week is that god-awful reboot of Gulliver's Travels. Well, all I know is, if Kyle Gass isn't in it, how good could it be?? New Star Wars trilogy cameraman David Tattersall worked on it; it's a step up for him, anyway, right? Oh, snap!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Makes a Hero? Night Key

Well, long running serials have been made on less. But this does, in addition to telling a faster than usual tale of industrial revenge, it grapples with the heavy philosophical dilemma of the privatization of security and the police. It finds that it's a mixed bag, especially when it comes to sharing the riches of innovation. Hard to believe, but apparently, even back in 1937, there were such issues to be dealt with. Here's the lowdown: this bigshot Steven Ranger, while he has a great name for a corporate bigshot, is kind of a tool, especially when it comes to dealing with his arch-nemesis on love's battlefield, David Mallory. Ranger's not just greedy, but harbors resentment because his true love fell for Mallory instead of him.
And so, despite all this ancient bitter history, Mallory approaches Ranger with a NEW security invention! It would later prove itself to be better for grocery store doors than for security, but never mind. The deal goes south for Mallory, and then and there in the Ranger building he SWEARS REVENGE. And so, Night Key is born, a crusader seeking justice for all those oppressed folks out there... especially Mallory. But Mallory / Night Key is not alone in this fight. Along for the ride is his daughter, damn near the only thing keeping him alive; and Petty Louie, a bit of an obnoxious two-timing rat, but lovable, and he does keep the plot moving along.
So what makes Mallory a hero? He's not breaking into these places to steal! He does it... because he CAN. And because he chooses to. He just can't stop bullets or fly like Neo. And he does it to... well, I don't want to spoil any surprises that might be left at this point.
The acting generally is pretty decent, but there's something about that 'The Kid', played by Alan Baxter. He's the crime-world equivalent of Ranger, and it's only fitting that Mallory work his way into his hands. His acting is interesting, to say the least. I couldn't quite tell if it was bad or not, but you can't turn your head away from it, that's for sure. I must seek out his other roles to see if he's always so weird!!
Oh, and finally, to tie it in to the Coen brothers, the Mallory hallway damn near looks like Tom Reagan's hallway in Miller's Crossing. Better put that on the to-do list.

If it were made today: Jeremy Irons in the Boris Karloff role. And if Soderbergh were handling the remake, he'd get the 'Yes I Am' guy to be Petty Louie.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

The Outlaw Janey Barbarella

As part of the leadup to promoting the new True Grit, Turner Classic Movies is doing its part by showing the original John Wayne True Grit, and showing Cat Ballou probably doesn't hurt, either. Well, maybe a little. Silly movies like this will not save us in a post-9/11 world...
...or will they? Frankly, the Taliban's indoctrination curriculum is a little dry for my tastes. I prefer the fun stuff and the science-based stuff myself. All that 'obey your god' stuff, that's for the masses. I am an extraordinary individual! And as such, I do not need to kowtow to the will of the masses... sorry, got off on my usual tangent again.
But I think I can force it all to relate in this post-I Heart Huckabees world. You see, Catherine Ballou starts off as a simple school teacher on the make, sometime in the Old West, with Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole on singing / narrating duties. And then, the iron fist of the status quo slams down on everything she holds dear. Manure is dumped into her father's well, then her father is gunned down by a paid assassin. From the ashes of these events, she rises again like a bank-robbing phoenix, finding herself at ... wait a second! Butch Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang? What movie is this? That's right, Butch Cassidy is now an old man, and the Hole in the Wall is a much more lively community, not quite as grim as it seemed in the much more popular Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
Also dragged into this delightful mess is Lee Marvin who won the Oscar for... apparently for the drunken Kid Shelleen. For the all-too-sober Tycho Brahe-nosed Tim Strawn, not so much. So he must've enjoyed himself a little. I can see why he earned it in his initial speech. A little more upbeat than, say, Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker. I love you, Robert Osborne!
I guess the filmmakers were well aware of the declining state of the silver screen musical, as the musical numbers are restricted to interjections from Stubby and Nat King. The score itself is not bad; reminiscent of 'rock' music from the early Beatles era. There was one sunset shot I wanted to use, but it got eliminated from the TiVo too quickly. Fortunately, I was able to capture this image from the trailer on IMDb! As you can see, the visual trick was to set up a mirror on the tracks so it looks like the train's headed right at us. Can you think of some other movies that employed this trick? I think they did that in Lethal Weapon 2 for the first big scene, just as the bad dude's red BMW crashes into the lamp shade store. Also used at the end of Innerspace, at the beginning of The Hidden... Two if By Sea, but who wants to watch that again? Not even Denis Leary or Sandra Bullock. I gotta go, it's TV time.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Gimme that old time religion

I don't usually do this, but for my own edification, King Louis XI lived from 1423 to 1483. In this film version, however, he damn near looks like an octogenarian... boy! Wikipedia must be hurting. That picture of Jimmy Wales is still up!
And, much like the little people contributing en masse to Wikipedia, so too did the lower class of post-Crusades France thrive and survive, re-enacting their version of The Parable of the Talents, as people have in one form or another all through the ages. But then... the trouble came. Foreign invaders at the gates. And I'm not talking about Germans. I mean those damn Gypsies! Say what you will about our current trouble with aliens streaming over the border from Mexico; at least they HAVE a homeland! Apparently not the Gypsies, from what little I know of them. That would take another precious hour on Wikipedia; time I just don't have.
But just as Dostoyevsky surely once quipped, "Beauty will save the world"... obviously he didn't hear of the plight of poor Esmeralda, who singlehandedly convinces The Spider King that Gypsies are worthy of admittance to France. That Maureen O'Hara was quite a looker in this one! I dare say she also singlehandedly inspired Cassavetes' Faces. Single-face-dly, perhaps. She inspires naughty thoughts in all the guys, of course, but not more so than the film's stern arch-villain Frollo. Don't be fooled by the name; he's no softie sent to dispose of The One Ring. This dude's pretty damn evil, all right, ultimately using "the Devil's logic" to justify his ends. If this were being remade today, they'd either try to get either Mandy Patinkin or Jeremy Northam.
Philosophically, there's a lot to chew on here. Great locations as well, considering it was all done on a sound stage or back lots. The church looks magestic. This was before our modern police force had jurisdiction over the church... then again, are there big famous chase scenes that culminate in the police taking down the bad guy in a church? I didn't see all of Heaven's Prisoners, so I'm assuming it ends that way. But I couldn't help but think of Spielberg at his worst when they show the hot new 15th Century technology: a Gutenberg printing press. On the other hand, they also talk about how expensive books used to be. That's about it, though. Molten metal cauldron technology is pretty much the same today as well.
And of course, sort of at the center of it all is the great Charles Laughton. I've grown immune to it now, but a while ago I saw his 'intro' scene where he tries to bite that one dude, and couldn't help but feel the currency of it. Great acting echoes down through the ages, no matter how degraded its respective medium has gotten. On the other hand, his 'French' accent did sound a bit British at times.
The action culminates in a big Gangs of New York / Lord of the Rings-style ending, with people getting hit by giant foam bricks thrown by Quasimodo, among other things. Holds up pretty well, considering, I must say! I think this adaptation of the Hugo novel is going to endure just fine.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NYC Confidential

There is a surprising lack of imagery for these old movies on IMDb, I've noticed! Well, I can't be bothered with photographing the screen every time I see an image I like!
Anyway, there were 8 million stories in the naked city (New York City) back in the day when this film was named. At least 10 million today. Fortunately, they picked a pretty good one to tell. Lots of twists and turns in the ol' plot. All the while, we get the occasional colorful shot of the city, and people on the move. And narrated by some joker who's above the fray... ouch. Apparently, this movie killed him off.
Some may call this a mystery picture, but I say it's obviously a sci-fi/fantasy flick. I mean, look at these cops! They've got, what, 10 people working on this case? Two guys trailing a suspect at a time, a total of six working 8 hour shifts? At the center of this maelstrom of police activity is Muldoon, portrayed lovingly by a Mr. Barry Fitzgerald, the Robert Prosky of his day. What a voice! He would've been a colorful narrator. But who will carry on these men's legacy? Ethan Suplee perhaps, if he puts back a little weight.
As I usually do, I don't want to give away too much of the story, for some reason, but if this were made today, Will Ferrell would play the Howard Duff role of Frank Niles. Some advice to Ferrell: if a good director helms the project, abdicate to his wishes! Act, damn it! You don't want to be the funny man for the rest of your life, do you? Isn't it time to strive for something more? Something... golden? Something... Oscar-shaped? Why, even the... oh, dear. Well, the Razzies haven't nominated you for anything since Land of the Lost.
I still can't believe that the Maltin guide gives this three stars. Three and a half, at least, I say. Although an argument could be made about the racial layering of the movie: all the stoic white people doing the white collar crime, and the sleazy ethnic types doing the actual dirty work. Something like that. Or that it's a mere G picture in today's NC-17 world. Makes me think of that one joke this comedian told about a guy renting a porno from a video store, but getting The Wizard of Oz by mistake... am I the only one? Damn. I thought so. But Google comes to the rescue once again! Ah, God bless the bottomless memory hole.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Rachel Talalay

Dang! Only got one more auteur left for the year. Meanwhile, everyone going to Hollywood on the bus expects to turn out like Julie Taymor or Nia Vardalos. You know, the next big superstar / future flash-in-the-pan. Then, of course, you could end up like Rachel Talalalalalalay over here. Back in the day, if you landed yourself a sweet gig with Robert Shaye, he'd take care of you! Ten years of working for peanuts and you'd get to DIRECT one of his bombs! As you can see from Rachel's web page here,
just as The Game is skipped over when going from Seven to Fight Club on Fincher's resumé, so too is Ghost in the Machine skipped over for Nightmare on Elm Street 6 and Tank Girl. They got name recognition and brand loyalty, baby! Icons. Stars... Icons. Sorry, I don't have my thesaurus here with me. And so, it's the 90s that are the decade of choice for Ms. Talalay, when she finally earned the right to sit in the director's chair during working hours, as opposed to the scrappy, scrap-happy 80s when she would sit in it while working various jobs like production accountant, assistant, location manager, what have you. Busy, busy, busy! With the corns and bunions to prove it. And then came the 2000s, where it's off to Television Row with all the greats like Rod Daniel, Joel Zwick and Peter Bonerz, where all good directors go to die. Unless you can find enough sycophants to keep your dream alive. Merry Christmas, Rachel!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hmm! That bear looks vaguely like Dan Aykroyd!

You know, I believe it was the guy who mumbled all the time in The Usual Suspects who first observed that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world that Caddyshack 2 doesn't exist. I mean, if Caddyshack is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, what is Caddyshack 2 proof of? That life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone? All things in moderation? Dyan Cannon will always be a star?
I'm sorry, I misspelled that: it should be Caddyshack II. But just as Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute once was absent from my mind for a long time, so was Aykroyd's disastrous cameo in said Caddyshack II. Again, I betray my personal preferences to my doom, but really, who else but that Tim Conway of the Great White North, Daniel Radcliffe Aykroyd, could take on the awesome responsibility of voicing the new Yogi Bear? And it worked, didn't it? To the tune of about two to the twenty-fourth power, no less? (Hint: that's a lot.) Second only to Tron: Legacy, of course. But even I, like everyone else these days, am of two minds about everything, and while The Onion gave Yogi Bear a D+ or so (that's bad), I was nevertheless inspired by the words of Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle who pointed out that the right-wing bloggers will be all over Yogi Bear for its liberal agenda, and Bill O'Reilly will no doubt give Yogi Bear the ironically much coveted Pinhead Movie of the Decade Award and tell everyone to protest by showing up to the next shareholder meeting of evil, non-News Corp. media conglomerate TimeWarner. So I say, more power to them! They're just giving the people what the people want, Bill! If it were up to you right wingers, all we'd ever watch is VeggieTales! The market has spoken, my friend, and it says that the VTs are doomed to a lifetime of being shown at 3:30 on Saturday afternoons on NBC. End of story.
Meanwhile, it must be a grim day at the James L. Brooks household. Looks like his 2010's not going to be like his 1983 or, to a lesser extent, his 1997. More bitter, James L., more bitter. Just be like Melvin. That'll get you that next wave of Oscars!
Also chopped liver this week is the last debut, The Fighter. You still got it, Marky Mark, and thank you for helping out David O. Russell. We need more films from that guy!

Hitchcock it Ain't

We also would've accepted the title, "Not the Ahnold one...", but I'm just not that good. Well, on behalf of the disgruntled audience I was a part of... DAMN YOU, RUNNING MAN!!! On the other hand, (SPOILERS) the burros were cute. And the ducks and rabbit, etc. Director Carol Reed will of course be best known for that damn The Third Man... and that's it. A director like Carol Reed can only be known for one film in this age of lists and The Internets. Carol Reed's a girl, right? Should've profiled her this year in my Auteur Watch section. Anyway, as the title said, this is Hitchcock-esque. Better than William Castle, not as good as ol' Alfie Hitch. Also symptomatic of the age, Alfred Hitchcock will now be shortened to A.Hit. Saves space, and it's just two syllables if you have to speak it.
But back to the movie. I wasn't impressed with the picture quality, nor the blandness of the soundtrack... and apparently, neither was Robert Osborne. This was TiVo'd off of TCM, and he didn't intro it! For shame. There are clever twists in the plot, but each twist seems to come with its own implausibility, which doesn't work. Still, it's a fine example of what happens when two of the beautiful people try to avoid working for a living. I tells ya, the pretty ones get away with murder! Not in this film, though. They almost get away with it. Sorry, did I need to say Spoilers again? Another SPOILER ALERT while I'm at it: those shots of the Rock of Gibraltar were so worth it.
If this were made today, either Jude Law or Ewan MacGregor would play the Laurence Harvey part, Cameron Diaz in the Lee Remick role, and ... let's say, the dude from Office Space in the Alan Bates role, just DON'T BE FUNNY!

Good double bill with: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)


-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Susan Seidelman

Dang, I'm tired. I've been purging all my Dubya-era emails, and there was one consistent theme: every day there seemed to be some new revelation in The New York Times and the parties who sent me the links kept saying that THIS will be the smoking gun that puts an end to this disastrous presidency. Never did happen that way, though. And you know who's fault it is? Bill Clinton. If he had just stepped down after the Monica Lewinsky affair, we never would have tolerated David Vitter, John Ensign and Mark Sanford... something like that. Even Brett Favre, for God's sake! The point is, nothing is Dubya's fault. And the poor guy's on the radio saying "Why do they have to be called the Bush tax cuts?" Now, there might be more than a few of you who could look up an actual quote of ol' Dubya, saying he wanted to make his tax cuts PERMANENT. There's probably even video or audio of it, with Turd Blossom in tow, saying it as well. The point is, deficits don't matter, and video and audio don't matter any more. Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
But that's the era we're living in now. Take Susan Seidelman, for example. Goddess of the 80s, when we were all mildly afraid of nuclear annihilation, and all trying to climb that corporate ladder in that Decade some of us like to call Me. Me myself, I was still climbing the grade school ladder. Pity those poor fools doing it now. On the other hand, they got the Twilight series, the lucky bastids. But with Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right and She-Devil, S.S. was right there in the crotch of the MTV zeitgeist. But just as The Game gets skipped over between Se7en and Fight Club when discussing Fincher's résumé, she faltered a bit with Cookie, but hey, Nobody's Perfekt. And then, shunned by her fellow chick auteurs, the 90s doomed Miss Susan to B-list projects and, GASP! TV shows! On the other hand, Sex and the City, it's HBO, not TV. Still, she clearly wasn't in with the hip Gas Food Lodging indie crowd.
As for the 2000s, the Dubya decade, well, The Onion doomed Boynton Beach Club to a lifetime of getting passed over in the Comedy section of the local video store. I know, it's not The Onion's fault. (Watch their Comedy Central show in the new year!) But it's not all bad news: according to the IMDb, Susan's just turned 58! She's got at least a half a decade on that Mary Lambert...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The finer things keep shining through...

Oh, even I couldn't resist. Who could? Any stadium roof collapse, I'm so all over that. As David Letterman might say, "There's your big time spectacle right there!" Who needs this week's box office?
Well, Walden Media, for one, and the estate of C. S. Lewis must be fairly pleased.
The third big Narnia movie's out, and it's in 3-D, no less. There's also The Tourist and Black Swan, the big indie breakthrough hit. Aronofsky steals from himself and photographs a new "wrestler" from behind so we can't see her face; at least, for a while. Oscar time for Portman? Oh, I think so. She's not in Sandra Bullock's league, but who besides Sandra Bullock herself is?

Monday, December 06, 2010

I STILL say it's Fat Heston!

Oh, I'm on a roll, baby! But I'll probably regret it in the morning. Watched Kiss Me Deadly a mere while ago. A Parklane Picture, in association with Untied Artists. Don't tell anyone, but this was the second time I watched it! I'm going to get beat up for this, but I didn't like it as much the second time. Oh, sure, it has its ingenuity, it has its taut script, but please... okay, I forgot what I was going to complain about. Okay, now I'm back on track. For me, it's not quite up there with, say, The Maltese Falcon, or other classics of the private detective genre. For one, Ralph Meeker has sort of a forced manliness compared to Bogie in Falcon. And Nick the mechanic got a little grating after a while. Boy, I must've been in a really bad mood! To be fair, he really was Greek. One guy in the cast was really nagging at me, and I was only able to piece it together after getting on the web: Wesley Addy. Where had I seen him before? Of course! Network! Good guy. Kinda looks like David Cronenberg.
Some of you faithful readers of mine may have noticed I'm turning into a bit of a... Name-ist? I'm a real stickler for names that describe things. Take Dr. Soberin, for example: W.C. Fields' famous arch-nemesis. And, for God's sake! There's a babe named Cheesecake! Lazy writing or what? On the other hand, a fine distraction as the dead bodies keep piling up and piling up. Hammer seems to spend a lot of time on the move.
But the film does have merits, more than I can think of right now. Period locations, period cars... oh, right. And it's handsomely photographed by Ernest Laszlo, who I remember best for It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. There's one, perhaps inadvertently funny scene where Hammer goes back to the office to find a letter on his desk... well, I hate to spoil it. There's pretty much everything one would expect from a hard-boiled detective story, but Mike Hammer's clearly a babe magnet. Pure animal magnetism, but he doesn't have time to indulge, and he's probably world weary as well. Some say this is director Robert Aldrich's best film. But with turbo manly epics on his resumé like The Dirty Dozen, Emperor of the North, 4 For Texas and All The Marbles, it's probably also his most subtle.

Not to be confused with: Kiss of Death, remake or original

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Nancy Savoca

Ah, my dear! How long it's been since I've been livin' La Vida Savoca. The early 90s are probably her favorite decade. Big Earth Day anniversary, Deee-Lite and Nirvana. It still seemed possible to fight the power and win back then. Not so much anymore. But in the final analysis, the only things of hers I've seen are the two biggies: Dogfight and Household Saints. NOT Boondock Saints. Oh, why did I have to throw that in? This is probably sexist of me, but I can't help but wonder: what would Nancy think of Lili Taylor's performance in Factotum? Would she be disappointed as I kind of was, or would she say You go, girl! Way to get in touch with your inner slut! I gotta go...

BOO! (Box Office Oligarchy)

Of course, one could observe that about EVERY week, when you get right down to it, but it seems especially troubling this week, especially when the only debut debuts at #9. The Warrior's Way. Trying to cash in on that Kung Fu Hustle magic, or something. The sequel's a few years off yet. But Disney should be happy about this week. Tangled wormed its way to the #1 spot, where it should've been all along. Damn you, Harold Potter! Look at that poster. So desperately trying to cash in on the Twilight magic. Nice try, Nerdlingtons! At #3, Burlesque... oh, please. Well, it means a lot to Cher, anyway. Or did they get a cheap Vegas Cher impersonator? To make matters worse, the IMDb's making it tough to get it to work like the database it's SUPPOSED to be. What, am I supposed to REMEMBER all the films Denzel and Tony Scott have made together? Man on Fire, that submarine movie... I totally blanked on Deja Vu! Isn't it ironic, dontcha think. As for the bottom half of the top 10, too depressing to contemplate. It's only a matter of time before Will Ferrell, Zach G. and Robert Downey Jr. all do a movie together. There's gotta be some way to combine The Hangover 2 and Old School 2. There's just gotta!

Short Reviews - November 2010

Oh, Mike McGlone... what happened to you, man? You used to be cool. The king of indie cinema... sort of. Second only to Edward Burns. Now you're doing Geico commercials!... actually, they are pretty amusing. They got more laughs in it than She's the One, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, now that the DVD/Blu-Ray release of Adam Sandler's Grown Ups has received so much hoopla, I think it's time for the wunderkind to go back to his Mr. Deeds roots to remake the classics. Might I suggest the following remake: Sunset Boulevard. An Oscar favourite! Why, even Martin Lawrence tried his hand at it, but you should probably stick with Dennis Dugan as director. I don't know who'd be perfect in the Gloria Swanson role. Maybe Olivia de Havilland? She's still alive. She could do the whole rappin' granny bit from The Wedding Singer. Maybe Zsa Zsa Gabor or Jennifer Aniston. If all else fails... that's right! TWO roles! Adam plays the William Holden part AND the Gloria Swanson part! And as a little Oscar bonus, the Erich von Stroheim part.

Lots of time period-based titles this month: 127 Days, The Next 3 Days, Faster... okay, not that many. Still, makes you think!

The Warrior's Way - I thought that was Mickey Rourke!

Bob the Butler - Boy! Thank God for cable. I have new found respect for Brooke Shields as an actor. Pretending to enjoy kissing Tom Green must've been soul crushing!

True Grit - Only 29 days to go... do I have to update that figure? Damn, I knew I shoulda learnt JScript, or Javascript. You know, one of those nerd/geek dialects.

Lianna - Great film. Never saw it.

Oleanna - Not as good as the stage production.

How Do You Know - ... it will be a hit?

The Beaver - Ward, I'm awfully worried about the Beaver!

Just Go With It - Maybe on cable... maybe.

The Fighter - David O. Russell AND Christian Bale on the same set? The shouting matches must've been legendary!

127 Days - Survivorman: The Motion Picture. No witchetty grubs, though.

Auteur Watch - Angela Robinson

Having already profiled Gina Prince-Bythewood earlier this year... two years ago, I'm going to skip ahead to Angela Robinson. Now, this is probably racist, sexist AND elitist of me, but I can't help but be reminded of that quote by Pauline Kael about how female directors... let me start over. I mean, let me temporarily derail that train of thought. The quote is that it doesn't matter if there's a king or queen on top of the garbage heap. Well, between D.E.B.S. and the Herbie remake, one can't help but think of a garbage heap! Though, you better watch your back, girlfriend, because Deb Hagan's racing you to the top of Crap Mountain! But in the final analysis, if A.Rob's good enough for The L Word, she's good enough for me. Better her than, say, Les Mayfield or Peter Hyams, god forbid!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Not your father's Spencer Tracy...

Actually, it is. Or maybe your grandfather's Spencer Tracy before he matured into the Judgment at Nuremberg-type roles we know him best for. All I'm saying is Newt Gingrich likes Boys Town... probably wouldn't like this one. Unions! Dames falling for the tough guy instead of the rich guy! Wotta nitemare.
Anyway, ... any of you notice I haven't done my auteur and month's end post yet? If not, maybe I'll just skip it more often! Ungrateful ba... The point being, I gotta keep up on these movies a little faster to stop the backup. The main thing is: it's Tracy doing James Cagney... something like that. A strange departure. Not much to write home about, but then, what do you expect from the average MGM picture? A tepid Jean Harlow. Damn you, Hayes Code! To make matters worse, I missed the first fifteen minutes or so, but I think I get the idea: Boy meets Girl: Boy disses a nice Brunette for the hot Blonde. Boy steals Blonde from Rich Dope. Boy wins big at dice against Big Dope. Boy and Blonde kiss. Boy and Blonde fight. Blonde wonders if Boy wants to marry Blonde just to stick it to Big Dope... well, they had to put SOME character into it, didn't they? Boy and Blonde get married. Boy meets Blonde's family... another good scene. I think they're an answer to Capra's group of misfits in You Can't Take It With You... damn! Riffraff came first. Nix to that, then. Anyway, I don't want to spoil the plot further, but they try to fake that epic feeling. Tracy's character goes through some bad times and stops being as brash as he once was. It's also a period piece, as it deals with being in a union: the fisherman's union, in this case. When was the last time you saw union workers in a Hollywood movie? Oh, right... North Country. Hubba hubba! John Schneider... what a shmuck.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Box Office Person of the Week: Nov. 28, 2010

Careful, Mike Myers! You're going to look like this someday. Welp, I've lagged behind my usual deadlines again, but this week, Thanksgiving aside, is certainly a special one. Now, I could sit here and tell you about the debuts this week: Tangled, Faster, Love and Other Drugs ... oh, but you can get that anywhere. The Onion, Variety, CNN, what have you. But for me, the REAL story, the real revelation this week, is of course the rise of this gentleman pictured before you: Steve Antin, writer and director of Burlesque. The latest in a rather long line now of films, isn't it? I mean, even though everyone hates Moulin Rouge (2001) now, but it did lead to Chicago, Idlewild, Nine, ... I'm sure I'm forgetting several. Does Dreamgirls count? If it doesn't, it should, damn it. But even though he's on top of the world now, it was no easy road for Monkey Zetterland. After all, he did have to spend the 90s preparing for his directing duties to come in the 2000s... oh, dear. He seems to have given up on acting as well. Probably for the best. He could afford to hire someone to play him in this movie, anyway; I'm guessing it's the Peter Gallagher character he would've taken. Dang! Well, in the final analysis, I guess I can't tell the story as well as Antin himself could, and I'm guessing I'll receive a hostile rebuke soon enough for this whole post, but in the meantime, you gotta hand it to a guy in his early 50s who can break through in this Twilight/Diary of a Wimpy Kid-obsessed culture... and I'm being kind this time! I said EARLY 50s. Then again, I was never much good when it comes to Hollywood protocol. According to the IMDb, he's 52 years old, so I guess we say he's in his late 40s or, like Jack Benny, 42 years old. A final toast to Dick Zetterland!!