Sunday, September 29, 2013

Short Reviews - September 2013

Whoa, dude.  Am I right?... sorry, Spoiler Alert.  Walt kills someone else.  I guess this doesn't affect the Emmys so much, anyways.

Oh boy!  We've got cable again.  Time to catch up on all the bad movies I've been missing.

The Apparition - This is how old and out of touch I'm getting.  I thought this was a sci-fi epic set far into the future.  Turns out it's just got a lot of modern technology I've never used!  A SmartPhone, for instance.  Man, I'm so unhip.

Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story - With Jeff Daniels as ... Tom Noonan?

All the Rage - With Jeff Daniels as... Warren Harding?  As in, PRESIDENT Warren Harding?

The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie - With Deborah Offner as Miss Offner

Exit Wounds - Alas, Elliot Goldenthal doesn't get credit for the music, seeing as how they cribbed part of the soundtrack from "Heat."  But there are those of us who remember, L!

Batman & Robin - Then again...

Miaou - For all those 'Words with Friends' players out there stuck with nothing but vowels

Last Vegas - Makes 2000's "The Crew" look kinda prescient

Sweet Stooge of Youth

Yup, it's time for Cuckoo on a Choo-Choo.  There's just no getting around it.
Well, some of these Stooge shorts are more memorable than others.  Now, according to the infallible IMDb, Choo Choo is considered one of the worst Stooges.  Which is absolutely correct, of course, but you gotta understand.  Every bad film is unique in its own peculiar way.  If you're at all like me (scary thought, I know), the first time you see Cuckoo, you can't help but think to yourself "...what the hell is this?"  Even the Stooges find themselves bound and gagged by restraints of rigid conventions, of which they struggle to free themselves from.  In this case, through contemporary literary references ... at least, contemporary for their time.  And you gotta hand it to the Stooges: they almost beat Tennessee Williams at his own game, if you think about it.  Why, what could be a more tawdry subject than using vibrating electrical devices to enhance sensations?  Only Shemp doesn't realize what's happening to him, so it's okay.
Boy!  Wikipedia's down on this one too!  Give me some decent trivia, for God's sake!  For instance, I thought I read someplace or heard from someone that they were originally going to call this A Streetcar Named Schmow, but stiffer heads at Columbia demurred to Warner Bros.  Warner Bros. produced A Streetcar Named Desire, but I suppose that even if Columbia themselves produced A Streetcar Named Desire, they would reject the Stooges' title.  In any event, I can see why Larry would think of this as one of his favourites, given the positively ripping impression of Stanley Kowalski that he does.  Wotta pig!  Then again, I thought Scrambled Brains was his favorite.  Dayamn!  Now my brains are getting scrambled!
But let's re-examine the superfans' perspective... and ridicule it some more.  See, if Cuckoo is one of the worst Stooge shorts ever made, what does that make the Joe Besser 16, for example?  I guess they fall into that anonymous middle ground of shorts that should just be forgotten to death.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

...our first compilation Popeye?

Long-term memory... failing... if only there were some sort of blog that kept track of all these Popeye cartoons...  Wait!  It's coming back to me now.  I think this is the second.  Adventures of Popeye was the first.  And the production values were sure different on that one.  At least they had the originality of combining live action and aminash-kins, ack ack ack!  How do you spell out Popeye's laugh phonetically, incidentally?  That's the kind of thing I should know.
Anyway, the premise this time is strictly restricted to the animated world.  We start with Olive walking down the street, flanked by Popeye and Bluto at the same time.  Olive sees an ad at an Army Recruitment center and swoons.  She's just nuts about a clean shaven man!... I mean, a man in uniform.  This was just before WWII flooded the soldier marketplace.  Like Pavlov's dogs, Bluto and Popeye hustle into the office and tell the man behind the desk that they want to enlist.  By the ancient rules of dramatic convention, there's only room for one.  Time for our next pissing match.
In lieu of owning competing penny arcades, Bluto and Popeye have to resort to flip-book technology to show the recruiter why they're the best man for the job.  Sounds like the cop from Cops is Always Right!  Neato.  And so, Bluto shows a clip from ... well, all the films are listed here.  I can understand that the crew of the Fleischer studios would need a break after two epic productions like The Spinach Roadster and Sindbad the Sailor, so this is what it looks like.  To be fair, I think they re-did the audio again for these film clips.
One bit of animation that's kind of interesting in a self-referential way is when Popeye eats the spinach and starts beating up Bluto with an army theme.  Popeye repeatedly bounces Bluto off a wall, turning Bluto into a blur that looks like Bluto marching.  An ode to the old animation of Muybridge, combined with an unintentional ode to SmartPhone technology to come (some 80 odd years later).  Do people still show videos to others in person on handheld devices anymore?  Or is it all just second hand hyperlinks?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Obba Babatundé

Man, I don't know why Jonathan Demme keeps working with you.  The Young and the Restless?  Puh-leeeeeeeze.

Another chance of Meatballs

Once again, this snuck up on me!  I mean, I've seen all the new ads for Prisoners hailing it as the #1 movie in America.  This weekend, however, as Bill Maher might quip, it's a movie even more American: the sequel to 2009's sleeper hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1.  Where were the ads?  How am I so out of it?  Might be for the best, but whatever they're doing right, they must be doing something right.
There were also three other debuts this weekend, for a grand total of four.  Crowded box office!  I think last year there were five in one weekend, but four's been the max this year, according to my crack research.  At #3 it's Ron Howard's latest flick called Rush.  This may be as close as he'll get to that film that he's wanted to make about the time between 1982 and 2007, only much more awesome.  But judging from the previews on TV, he seems to be stuck in the green screen studio, while his crack technicians are out there in the real world getting all the background shots.  The well-publicized Don Juan.... I mean Don Jon came in at #5, so to speak, which leaves another that flew in under my radar, Baggage Claim at #4.  So let me see what this is all about... well, I hate to jump to snap conclusions, but it looks like we've got the next Tyler Perry on our hands!  Just stay away from Oprah, bitch.  She's Ty's girl, exclusive-like.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Man-Stooge-ian Candidate ... (so terrible. Ugh.)

You know, I believe it was Evil Lawrence Kasdan, AKA ... Gillooly?  Scaife?  Norquist!  That's it.  Grover Norquist... I was drawing a blank on his name.  He once said something about drowning government in a bathtub, which somehow never appealed to me, even on a visceral level.  I guess this is why I'll never get anywhere in life.  But now I think I know where he got the inspiration for that iconic quote: our next Stooge film!  Spoiler alert: I'll cut right to the chase this time, seeing as how I'm cutting these reviews short now.  The Stooges fall bass-ackwards into the political arena, and at the end of the film, they end up drowning the bad guys in a bathtub!  Well, the two guys hit their heads on the bathroom wall first, then slump into the tub, so that's half the battle right there.  Then they push the unlucky guys down into the water.  Then the Stooges sit on top of them as they cheerfully soap up, fully clothed, and start to take a bath as they sit on the bad guys.
Need more be said?  Probably not, but there's a lot of little moments to savor in this one, as there usually are in these things.  For one, Shemp starts to do a somersault, and he lands head first into his footbath.  Again with the water!  His ears fill up with water, and there's a loud booming noise on the soundtrack, and Moe and Larry immediately run to his aid.  Yes, it was just that bad.
...oh, Jesus.  They're not going to do the live parrot inside a cooked turkey bit AGAIN?!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

STILL the most phenomenal, extra-special kind of Popeye cartoon

You know, in the proverbial Pantheon of the three two-reel color Popeye shorts, it's Ali Baba first, Sindbad second, and Aladdin and his Lamp a sadly distant third.  That's the way it's always gonna be, and no one will change that.  Well, for one thing, Aladdin doesn't have any 3-D backgrounds, so perhaps its reputation is partly deserved.
But as everything moves online and mostly to YouTube, there's something to be said for DVDs besides the better picture quality.  They've included the full opening on the DVD which always used to get severely cut on broadcast TV, your TBSes and Cartoon Networks, what have you.  Why, even the old laserdisc wasn't completely restored!  Wotta gyp!
As for the actual cartoon itself, well, I've already watched it anew recently, and the tears came to my eyes at certain points, and as the years pass, my love for Bluto just grows and grows.  Great singing voice, you gotta give him that.  But he is the bad guy and Popeye has to ultimately triumph, what with the spinach and all.  And I didn't even refer to the Island of Bluto... I mean, Sindbad... as a man-cave!  Damn, I just did.  Oops.
Hard to say what my favorite sequence is, as they're all top notch.  Therefore, I'll give a shout-out to the part where Sindbad's singing his theme to Popeye, and all of Sindbad's buddies come out of hiding and point at him.  You might have noticed this as well: there's some kind of caveman among the animals who mouths the part "Sindbad the Sailor" in the song.  Ah, those Fleischers.  Such attention to detail.  "What, is the circus in town?" Popeye mutters as the song continues.  I didn't even have to re-watch it to remember that part!  It's all in my noodle!  Four stars.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Richard Ayoade

My hip friends like this guy, so I gotta pay him some respects.  And to be fair, he does look like he's been busy.  Check out the IMDb résumé!  Actor, writer, director, producer, miscellaneous crew, thanks, self ... I think that's about all the categories that one person can have!  Almost seems like appearing in The Watch was a step back for him!  At least, with all his hip friends in private.  So the only question is, what's his favorite decade?  This child of the greatest decade of all time, including Cretaceous and Devonian, the late '70s?  To have MTV in your adolescence during its high art period before Madonna published her Sex book?  How could you not go on to such success?  Surely his favorite decade is the '90s, a fine time to keep your nose to the grindstone and plant the seeds for future success.  Anonymity was his weapon then, absorbing the culture like a sponge his secret power, for it was during the 2000s that the work began to flow.  He wasn't afraid to conquer the wasteland that was TV back then.  I mean, if you get a role like Dean Lerner, well... I don't know, is it any good?  I've heard The Mighty Boosh is.  Acting, directing, writing... dayamn, this guy's the real triple threat deal.
Alas, the decades to come look grim indeed.  Maybe it's just me.  Are we going to yearn for the '70s forever?  But Ayoade's headed for the higher echelons, and might be doomed to stay there permanently.  Work less for more money, that's the dream.  You can do that now!  You'd really be set for life if you directed an episode of Parks and Recreation, but Community's not a bad start.  Weekends with Lorne Michaels for the rest of his life.  That's the price you pay!

Take THAT, Colbert Bump!

So there's only two episodes of Breaking Bad left.  Time for that final confrontation between Walt and Jesse... at least, laying the groundwork for it.  They'll devote one episode to Walt setting up his new life in New Hampshire.  Then perhaps something happens to his barrel of money.  He'll lose it somehow and have to come back.  He gets the vial of ricin, maybe has to kill neighbor Carol, then head off to the High Noon-esque finale.  Still kind of exciting, nevertheless!  It's like when some employees on The Simpsons phoned Variety to leak the ending of "Who Shot Mr. Burns?"  Variety refused to do it.  This kind of thing only comes along once in a long while.  At least once every twenty years.
Anyway, back to the business at hand.  Prisoners is #1 at the box office, and Stew-Beef had on Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.  A direct correlation?  That's two #1 movies for Jackman this year, and a shade less than two months apart!  He'll be able to write his own ticket for a while now, but he'll still have to stick with the boiled chicken diet.  The only other debut this week is something called Battle of the Year, giving only a typically average debut at #5 with five million dollars.  How perfect is that?  Maybe it'll be a cult hit on video, who knows.  There's a third debut, but it's the original Wizard of Oz.  What's that all about?  And isn't it a little late for that?  The Oz prequel was so four months ago!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Next Stooge: Jents in a Gam

Let's see if anyone notices... so many great images to choose from this one, and there can only be one.  At least, that's how I roll.
Somehow I think they should call this one "Jane Austen's Gents in a Jam."  Or maybe Edith Wharton.  It seems to smack of a haute couture literary reference, at least in terms of the whole inheritance angle.  That's right, the Stooges find themselves on the verge of Shemp's inheritance, as with Curly's inheritance before that.  Only this time, someone else will beat the government to the lion's share of it.  See if you can guess who!  It all starts innocently enough with Shemp and Larry asleep.  That's gratitude for ya.  Apparently the motivation of having a job isn't enough for some people.  Moe talked the landlady into trading their labor for back rent as a stopgap measure.  When they f... screw that up, it's out for good.  At least, until Shemp's Uncle Goopy... I mean, Uncle Finnius... Phineas... is about to pay him a visit.
Somehow the filmmakers knew that this wasn't enough of a story.  How about throwing an insanely jealous husband into the mix?  Yeah, that oughta do the trick!  He's played by Mickey Simpson, best known for such films as Giant and Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.  Spoiler alert: I don't think Mickey plays the gorilla.  It all starts with the borrowing of that proverbial cup of sugar.  I wonder if anyone rolled their eyes in the audience over that one.  I guess it took a while for disgust of clichés to spread as widely as it has today.
Uncle Phineas, played by Emil Sitka, the Fourth Stooge, gets the worst of it.  At one point, he gets too scared to even open the door, which is the right reaction.  He's able to make it out into the hall, but things go from bad to worse from there as he has to brave the proverbial Running of the Stooges.  Pamplona's closer than we thought, as it turns out!  In the big finale, Phineas gets trampled much like the guy at the end of the opening credits of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World... dayamn!  YouTube really does have everything now!  The wife of the jealous husband gives Phineas one last kick as the rest have run by... at least, that's what the sound effects suggest.
As for the Stooges and their group dynamics, well, Larry seems to be a little sore over his treatment in Corny Casanovas.  I don't remember him having such a problem with Moe's leadership before, and verbally expressing it as such!  If only I took better notes...
Anyway, so is it a classic?  The bigwigs at Columbia must've thought so!  We watched this one a lot back in the dark ages of VCR tapes.  They only put out what they felt were the best ones.  I'll say three and a half.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

"Oh, what a mess! Look at my prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrretty car, will ya?"

Yes, our next Popeye cartoon is the infamous The Spinach Roadster.  I must confess that I've already watched it several times before having to review it, so I really don't even need to re-watch it!  A novel approach to movie reviewing, hopefully.
And so, the next pissing match between Popeye and Bluto is done through the automobile.  We start with Popeye and his modest hunk of junk clunking its way down the road, with an inflated glove for a horn.  He stops in front of Olive's apartment.  Now some of you more cynical types out there might wonder why anyone would have all their potted plants in such a way that they all fall off the ledge when you open your window covers, or you might even wonder how someone would even do that in the first place!  Let's see, I'll dangle them all from strings and gently lower them down onto the ledge from the rooftop...
Meanwhile, Bluto drives up in his half-car, half-grounded plane.  "Why not go for a ride in a good car?" Bluto asks Olive.  Well, that's progress!  Bluto at least acknowledges Popeye's existence.  Olive chooses Popeye, despite the inherent setbacks.  Then, we get a very very long patented Fleischer 3D background.  They're getting more ambitious, especially with next week's two-reeler!
Bluto tries tricking Popeye into taking an outrageous detour, thereby informing Matt Groening's love of anagrams.  "I hope he's not too dumb to read it!" sneers Bluto.  Popeye gets the last laugh, however, and Bluto resorts to brute force, eventually tearing Popeye's car apart, pretty much piece by piece.  Olive protests wildly, then says to Bluto "Don't you touch me!!!!"  Love that part.
And then, Popeye gets the spinach, yada yada yada.  It ends a bit like that one about skiing with Olive in similar peril.  One of my viewing companions said "Ah, Bluto's an old softie" because here's another instance where he ends up sobbing.  Another four-star classic.  Jack Mercer's chewing sounds are getting better and better, for one.  And Popeye's opening ode to the auto is strangely not that antequated!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Reece Auguiste

Oh good!  Another short one.  Time for another flashback to a cusp between decades: the 80s and 90s.  For me, the '80s is the last decade in which its icons are clearly identifiable.  After the 90s, it all turns to mush, as the flow of information across the globe accelerates, and bands like Deee-Lite get publicity.  Wonder whatever happened to them?  They're probably on Wikipedia or something.  Then again, the 2000s will always be remembered for those who lived it as the time of two things: the Lord of the Rings movies, and the failure of national American politics.  Can't get much clearer than that!  But back to Reece Auguiste, known for Twilight City, a documentary that's not about the goings-on in Forks, Washington, and Mysteries of July.  The trail runs cold after that.  I guess no one was interested in what mysteries that Reece would conjure up after that, and I'm guessing Reece explored the mysteries of parenthood rather than filmmaking for the next twenty odd years.  But they do get thanks for something called Jenny's Dreamland!  Hope springs eternal.  If Bruce Wayne can get back into the game after getting his back broken, so can Reece, damn it.  So can Reece.

Friday the 13th

So there are only three episodes of Breaking Bad left.  Now, I don't want to try and crack the code too much, but here goes anyway.  Seeing as how Schrader and Gomie are seriously out-gunned, I have to think that at least Gomie's going to die.  Seems like they only kill off one main character per episode.  The show's creators have painted themselves pretty far into a corner this time.  Now, judging from the cliffhangers they gave us for the aftermath, Walter returns with his New Hampshire identity to get the vial of ricin from the house, and he's got an automatic weapon... maybe they'll start with that tonight!  Leave us hanging.  I think he's heading for a final showdown with Todd's extended family.  It's a little too late to introduce new characters, but we'll see.
Whatever happens, I don't think Skyler's going to take it well... oh, right!  The box office.  Well, the bland Patrick Wilson scores again with only his second horror flick this year.  Seems like he's made more somehow.  This one's called Insidious: Chapter 2.  It's indeed insidious, as I'm not even familiar with chapter one!  Here's the link to chapter one.  I dunno... I can't get into these PG-13 horror flicks.  I mean, if you're going to make a horror flick, you might as well go for the R gusto, but maybe that's just me.  The other debut this week is The Family, Luc Besson's latest.  And judging from the A-list cast (the '80s-'90s era A-list cast) and the fact that Besson actually directed this one himself, it must be a cut above the dreck he usually just produces.  And where's his super-scribe in crime Robert Mark Kamen?  Why am I the only one who has to keep coming to this guy's defense? ...Taken 3 and a Transporter TV series?  I guess Besson now keeps Kamen away from his A-list babies as well.  Ouch!
Meanwhile, I almost totally forgot!  That Mortal Instruments thing is already gone after two weeks!  Maybe they should've explained better to the rubes out there that it's based on an international best seller, and that there's, like, fifty books in the series.  Or maybe they should just put it on TV like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles or something.  Will no one preach the gospel of photogenic monster fighters?  No one at all?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Stop Calling, Stop Calling, I Don't Wanna Talk Any More

Well, sometimes you gotta go for the Lady Gaga reference, am I right?  Anyway, if David Mamet had to pick two major influences on cinema, I think he'd say the president of the United States (everything from Absolute Power to Eagle Eye) and technology.  He probably wouldn't cite Hold the Wire as a good example of technology's influence, but I would, damn it.  And why?  Because I just saw it, that's why!  What other reason is there in this ADD-afflicted world of ours?
The best example comes at the end when Popeye and Olive are swaying back and forth on top of a telephone pole.  Popeye sings his usual variation on the ending theme and toots his pipe twice.  Now, normally that's the end of the cartoon, but this time we get a few extra seconds of people on the phone shouting for the operator.  I know, I know, it's just their voices coming through exposed wires, and that this is highly dubious at best and criminally negligent at worst.  Cartoons keep finding new ways to insult our intelligence, dontcha think?  But the larger point I was trying to make is that technology changes things (THINGS CHANGE!!!!!!), like the normally rigid plot structure of a Popeye cartoon.  These days they end with the words "go to" or something like that... incidentally, where do you go on the web to find Popeye's official e-home?  Time to get distracted by something else.  Apparently there's at least three different web homes for Popeye, as you would expect, but by far has the most state-of-the-art looking web page of the three.
Oh, right.  The plot.  I always remembered this one because Popeye was talking quietly on the phone and he says to Olive "Gee, Olive, you're the berries."  Oh, the things that stick in the brain's craw.  Anyway, Olive's up to her usual tricks, reading "Love and More Love" Magazine.  Popeye calls her up on the phone, but she's not interested, saying to Popeye that he's just not romantic enough.  Well, Olive's memory just isn't good enough!  How do you like that?  There's nothing Popeye can't do with a little spinach.  She seems to forget that.
Meanwhile, Bluto comes walking along, flowers in hand, and he can't help but overhear Olive's phone conversation.  Popeye sounds like he's talking into a coffee can, lol.  At this crucial juncture, Bluto decides to take technology into his own hands.  He downright shimmies up the telephone pole, once again to the music of the old snake charmer.  When it comes to breaking up Olive and Popeye, Bluto is indeed an obese snake in the grass.  Bluto fiddles with the telephone wires and is somehow able to intercept Popeye's call.  He imitates Popeye and says insulting things to Olive.  It's WarGames and Ferris Bueller all rolled into one, I tells ya.  ...I just dated myself, didn't I?  Surely there's someone other than Matthew Broderick in movies that's synonymous with hacking?  The only other one I can think of is the pasty young lead in Hackers (1995), but that's it.
Alas, Bluto has too much fun imitating Popeye, and Popeye has time enough to run to Olive's house.  Popeye calls to Olive through her window, and she gets to see what Bluto was up to.  Popeye then climbs up the telephone pole to kick some ass.  This Popeye short's probably got the funniest example of a time when Popeye and Bluto hit each other, then have to regain their balance.  Four stars.  This one needs to be brought into the fold of that short list of Popeye classics.  It's been out of the fold for far too long.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Leisure Suit Lawrence

Well, seeing as how I'm skimping on the Stooge reviews, the least I can do is use larger images.  I've got Volume Seven!  Tee hee hee... Time for one of Larry's most colorful roles in He Cooked His Goose.  The real-life Lawrence, however, was a man of integrity, and this apparently wasn't as favorite a role for him as Scrambled Brains was.  To give you an idea of the kind of character he plays in He Cooked His Goose, he tells Moe "I never saw your wife!  I'm engaged to three beautiful girls!"  There's a contradiction in there someplace, but I'm not perceptive enough to see it.
In the opening scene, we meet Millie, a delightful young girl who's engaged to Shemp... now, I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record here, but it's time for a little more math.  Millie is played by the fetching Angela Stevens, born 1925.  Shemp was born in 1895... that's thirty years, isn't it?  And Louis Feinberg... I mean, Larry, was born in 1902!  That's slightly better at twenty-three years difference.  Holy Elektra Complex, Batman!  I'm just sayin'.  Okay, next topic.
And so, Millie sees through Larry, and forgives Shemp his faults (so far, kleptomania and gingivitis).  Larry fails to woo Millie, so it's back to work at his pet shop, where he smokes a cigar longer than his head.  Never eat anything or smoke anything bigger than your head, I'm always told.
Meanwhile, angry Moe barges into Larry's office and tells Larry to stay away from his wife.  Larry calms Moe down expertly, and offers him smoke and drink.  Alas, Moe engages in neither of the two main gentlemen's pastimes.  Surely, Moe will accept at least one token of Larry's belated friendship!  "I'll have a little bird seed, if you don't mind!  It always calms my nerves," says Moe, and grabs a handful of bird seed.  Social fabric rewoven.  Moe eats that bird seed like it's a bit of the old Southern comforter and starts chirping away.  Larry can see that there's something wrong with this guy.  A blind man can see that.
Oh, I almost forgot.  The neat feature of this Stooge short is the inclusion of Larry's interior monologue.  When Larry starts to think, eerie hypnosis music starts playing.  With Moe, Larry gets a notion, and tells him that he's going to find this ratfink that's horning in on Moe's wife.  Oh, another thing I forgot to mention: the Stooges aren't close friends in this one like they normally are.  Moe and Larry are downright adversarial, in fact!  But they nevertheless slap each other and poke their eyes with the greatest of ease.  In fact, at one point in the proceedings, it looks like Larry pokes Moe right in the eyes, as opposed to Moe's eyebrow ridges just above the eyes, the way it's supposed to be done.  In Larry's defense, he's more often the pokee rather than the poker, especially when he does his God-awful "I had my eyes closed!" routine.  Gee wiz.
There's also a part where Shemp dresses up as Santa, but I've already said enough about this one.  Four stars.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Eugene Ashe

According to his IMDb bio, he's a distant relative of tennis great Arthur Ashe and actor Gregory Peck.  Boy, mo' legacy, mo' problems, am I right?  But if he had to do it all over again, he might skip that guest appearance on Arsenio Hall.  Ouch.

...oh, right! Riddick

There is much joy in Twohy-ville, as mighty Riddick has not struck out.  Quite the opposite, in fact.... Sure, it's just a piddly 18 million, but the economy's taken a downturn lately (not 1991 down, but down ne'theless), and a home run's a home run.  At most 52 films a year get to claim that!  Kids are heading back to school, and they're spending all their time on SnapChat, or some such thing.  Who's got time, really?