Friday, December 27, 2013

Short reviews - December 2013

Raging Bull - ...just in case you missed the comparison, the film helps you out.

Okay, I've got a good gimmick to end the year on!  There's a theme to it, but I forget what it is.  Alas, it's a hastily put together list with huge gaps, so perhaps some smart person out there can fill in those gaps later on down the road.  Also alas, I've included ordinal numbers like a common tramp, so perhaps better minds in the future will come up with a cleaner, more pure list that excludes those.  Injoy!

The Power of One - Even though it's about boxing and it's directed by the guy who directed Rocky (1) ... IT'S NOT ROCKY!!!!!!

Two Much - Indeed

Three of Hearts - Ah, if cinema in the '90s will be remembered for one thing, it's their great treatment of lesbians.

Four Christmases - Historians, film or otherwise, will look back on Vince Vaughn and say "Oh, it was so nice that Hollywood made the homeless into movie stars.  Not all of them took to the lifestyle, of course, but this Vinnie Vincent enjoyed it quite a bit!"

The Five-Year Engagement - Jason Segel continues his quiet, passive-agressive march into our hearts.

The Sixth Sense - Has M. Night's terrible terrible body of work dragged this one down yet?

Seven - If there's a movie more gruesome, I just don't wanna know about it.  Take this one, for example.  Is there a way I can un-watch it, by any chance?

Eight Days a Week - Love that Beatles song

Nine - How Bill Condon didn't get involved in this, I'll never understand.

The Ten Commandments - The non-Lionel Chetwynd one

The Eleventh Hour - Either that or Ocean's Eleven, I just couldn't decide.

12 Monkeys - Worst Christmas gift ever!

Friday the 13th - Well, it was either that or Thirteen Ghosts... I mean, Thir13en Ghosts... damn!  Just gave my password away!

Saturday the 14th - Well, if you're going to have Friday the 13th on the list...

Fifteen and Pregnant - ...NOT a new MTV show?

Sixteen Candles - Hey!  Got John Hughes on the list!  I mean, Edmond Dantes.

17 Again - Another one of those body switching-type movies.  Here's my problem with it, however... Matthew Perry did not look like Zac Efron as a youth.  He so did not!

18 Again! - Oh, the things that languish in obscurity.  What?  People don't like George Burns all of a sudden?  Is he just reprising Oh, God! over and over again?  Is that what you're telling me?

Vehicle 19 - ...nope, better not badmouth this one.  Not for a while, anyway.

Twenty Bucks - Ah, the old days when money alone could drive a whole movie.  Nowadays there has to be someone in a movie who has money.  Take Batman, for example.

21 - Or I could've gone with 21 Grams.  Why did I pick something with Kate Bosworth anyway?  She won't be my Facebook friend!  Wotta bitch.

Catch-22 - Alas, it's probably the only movie Joseph Heller will be remembered for.

The Number 23 (Jim Carrey) - ...that's right.  For some reason, I had to remind myself that Jim Carrey's in it.  Alas, the collaborations of Carrey and Joel Schumacher aren't up there with, say, Carrey and Shadyac or Depp and Burton or Donner and Gibson.

24 Hour Party People - Sigh.  Steve Coogan's an old fogey now doing stuff like Philomena.  Was it so long ago?

(The) 25th Hour - I can never remember if there's a "the" in the title or not!

27 Dresses - Gimme 27 dresses, gimme 27 dresses babe, and you'll never see Heigl no more.  Seriously, though, no one's made a movie about the Atari 2600 yet?

28 Days, 28 Days Later... - Similar themes, actually, except that Sandra Bullock starts out as a zombie and slowly becomes human.

29th Street - For those of you out there who thought that It's a Wonderful Life just wasn't Italian enough.

Zero Dark Thirty - I KNEW that title would come in handy someday!

31 North 62 East - I REALLY have to do all these?

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Miracle on 34th St. - Sheesh.  Some of John Hughes' least good works.  No wonder he changed his name to Edmond Dantes.

36 Hours - Here's my problem... only 36?

To Gillian on her 37th Birthday - Kinda puts Meg Ryan's crying about turning 40 in When Harry Met Sally into perspective, for one.  I tell ya, Lord, people sure hate getting old!  Intelligent design, my ass.

The 39 Steps - Here's my problem... only 39?

The 40 Year Old Virgin - Because not being a virgin is all too commonplace these days.

Summer of '42 - It's basically a porno, but with classy historical context.  A bit of a stretch, you say?  The same writer also worked on a porno called Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?  I rest my case.

Movie 43 - And people wonder why sketch movies aren't made anymore.

Ms. 45 - Well, it's no Bad Lieutenant, that's for sure.

Code 46 - What happened to Tim Robbins, anyway?  Didn't he used to mean something?

47 Ronin - As with any list put out by Time or Newsweek, there always has to be a latest and greatest, hot off the presses entry, and this is definitely it.

Another 48 Hrs. - Not too late to make a trilogy out of it!

Ladder 49 - Well, something had to be number 49!  Why not a Backdraft remake?

50 First Dates - No list of film would be complete without Adam Sandler, would it?

Formula 51 - It's not even about NASCAR!  Wotta ripoff.

52 Pick-Up - No cards in it!  Wotta ripoff.

54 - Studio 54, where are you?

55 Days at Peking - I don't think anyone's ever seen this one, either!

56 Up - I wonder how high up the series will go?

Passenger 57 - Still betting on black after 20 years!

Gone in 60 Seconds - Actually, the original and the remake are about equally as good, no?

61* - Billy Crystal decided to end his directing career on a high note.

Transylvania 6-5000 - Too much of a stretch?  I thought so.

Buffalo '66 - Narcissism, thy name is Vincent Gallo.  Better go with Sixty Six instead.

The Fighting 69th - Boy!  I never knew World War I was so filthy.

The Spirit of '76 - I'm a disco dancer, baby, but I think that something's wrong...

"77 Sunset Strip" - ...damn, it's a TV series.  Better go with Airport '77, the cinema equivalent of a TV series.

Around the World in 80 Days - The original, not the one affiliated with Adam Sandler.

Where the Boys Are '84 - See what I mean?  Perhaps this list isn't a good idea after all.

This is England '86 - Meh

88 Minutes - Hoo-hah!

96 Minutes - It's practically a sketch movie!

99 and 44/100% Dead - Great title, but apparently it's another bad movie from John Frankenheimer.  He must've been great to get along with as a human being, because his classic to dreck ratio's kinda low!

100 Girls - A delightful take on that old Cinderella story.  Here's my usual problem with these kinds of things... only 100 girls?  Why put such gay limits on things?
Ben Blue's Brothers - I'm confused...

100 Women - Saw this at the pawn shop.  I think 100 Girls and 100 Women should face off in the Thunderdome... you know, two bad movies enter, one bad movie leave.  Who's with me?

Alligator - ...Pentangeli?

Presumed Innocent - Ain't it always the way?  Your wife will only have sex with you after she kills your ex-lover!  Sheesh...

Frank McCluskey, C.I. - Franklyn got better?  I don't think so.

I Love You, I Love You Not - Jude Law and Claire Danes play two roles in this film: as young would-be lovers in the present, and on opposite sides of the fence during the Holocaust, so to speak.  This conceit sounds almost as tasteless as my last sentence!

That Awkward Moment - A slightly less spectacular next movie that hopefully's a better paycheck.

"True Detective" - Woody Harrelson, P. I. P. I. (politically incorrect private investigator) in miniseries form!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Why can't I live like that?

The Naked Gun - Now we're talking!  If only they had a poll for Jack.

Blue Velvet - Why film in Wilmington, North Carolina if Dino De Laurentiis isn't producing?  Why?

The Memory of a Killer - ROOFTHOOFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not knutzy e-knough (14 films remain)

Well, it's hard not to like a Stooge short wherein Shempeth proclaims "Unhand my lass, you brazen ass!"  Also featuring Larry with long blonde braids.  Lol!  But Knutzy Knights is another remake, replete with that old standby "Oh Elaine, won't you come out tonight, Cedric's here..."  It is a rousing number, arguably, and the Lady McIntyre helps it out.  The Black Prince is played by pre-Jerry Stiller Philip van Zandt, and is such a potent force that he doesn't even appear until about seven minutes into the thing!
After some spirited running around in the hall, Moe learns about the Black Prince's evil scheme to overthrow the king.  Alas, we'll probably have to wait for J.J. Abrams to do a Medieval tale in which the White Prince is the evil schemer.  Meanwhile, Cedric has to free himself from the dungeon.  He's either really strong, or the dungeon gate's really weak, and probably built by Leon Moisseiff.  Before long, it's the Third Act, and the Stooges have to fill those trumpets up with fruit again.  The bad guys get the first volley, but in the second, the Stooges get hoisted on their own... fruit-tards, so to speak?  Anyway, in the original Squareheads of the Round Table, the day is saved by the King's daughter when she says that the Black Prince and his minions are the real bad guys.  In this instant case, Cedric knocks some bad guys' heads together, Moe-style!  Cold-blooded.  Worth the price of admission right there.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

The Wild Parrots of Popeye Hill

This one must've put me in a good mood!  Time for another image mosaic. ¶ And so, having found his match in the animal kingdom in the bird branch of the tree, so to speak, Popeye heads over to Olive's place with a parrot, highly trained in the low-brow arts of blowing corncob pipes and singing Popeye anthems.  The bird is so good at mimicing Popeye, in fact, that Bluto mistakes it for the actual Popeye as he approaches Olive's suburban bungalow with a tiny fistful of flowers.  Meanwhile, the actual Popeye is waiting in the shadows as the bird does all the work... at least, until Bluto looses the bird from its cage and it heads for the high ground in a nearby tree.
Popeye is thrust onto the scene out of hiding as Olive begins to totally freak out.  As usual, he makes the mistake of waiting to go to the spinach when dealing with Bluto.  Taking a page somewhere from scripture, Popeye decides to make the remedy fit the crime by having Bluto get the bird out of the tree.  With axe visibly in hand, Bluto heartily takes to his task literally, and goes Axe Me Another on the tree's ass.  Now, for those of you who contend that Olive has no part in this pic, you'd be right, as her shtick this go-round is to constantly faint at everything.  Clearly, life in the suburbs has made her soft.  I could've sworn she's seen a million of these Fist Tornadoes already!  Lord knows I have.
When the Moment of Spinach arrives, Bluto's jumping up and down on Popeye like a bug, much like in the very first Popeye short, except Popeye's on his back this time and not on his stomach.  Instead of reaching into his inner shirt pocket for the spinach, Popeye prestidigitates and seemingly makes the can of spinach appear out of thin air.  Meanwhile, despite her new-found habit of fainting all the time, Olive goes after the parrot on the roof of her house, and surprise surprise, Popeye has to catch her once again in between fighting with Bluto.  Typical chauvinist Popeye short.  But Popeye does believe in poetic justice and, after beating the crap out of Bluto for the usual short burst, Bluto ends up wrapped in a bit of wire fence and hanging from a tree... I think it's supposed to be ironic, but I forget why.

good double with: what else?  Leave Well Enough Alone.  That parrot's gonna be a star, I tells ya!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Kim Bass

...inger?  No, it's a dude, actually.  And this is probably a stretch, but the '90s must've been his favorite decade.  It's always a swinging time in Hollywood, but the reasons just shift and change.  And being a part of epic icons like In Living Color, Kenan and Kel and Sister, Sister must've been non-stop fun, right?  Or does doing comedy for a living make you sick of comedians?  I think it did something to Kim.  Look at these titles he worked on in the 2000s!  Kill Speed?  Junkyard Dog?  SUCCUBUS?  Quite the 180 degree shift, I must say!  Well, life during the Dubya Administration brought out the worst in a lot of people, no doubt about that.

Still Smaug-y!

I thought for sure it'd be gone by now!  No, people still need their Hobbit fix.  Meanwhile, the debuts are struggling; even Oscar darlings like The Wolf of Wall Street.  And despite the TV ad bombardment, The Secret Life of Walter $#!tty... I mean Mitty... opened at #7.  I think it's because, well, I'll give two reasons.  1) People are tired of Ben Stiller, and 2) they saw Kristen Wiig as the love interest and said "Really?  Kristen Wiig as the love interest?  She's this generation's female Peter Sellers, and she's wasted on a romantic lead role?  Where's Bridesmaids 2?  Where's the SNL movie of the Laurence Welk show where she's the singer with tiny hands?  Where's... whatever else she's known for?"  I know that's what I thought.  But that's not even the saddest box office story out there.  Keanu Reeves debuts even lower with his latest called 47 Ronin.  I blame the public for that one.  What, suddenly everyone's tired of historical dramas with awesome ass-kicking action in it?  Society has clearly failed.  No wonder suicide rates go up during the holidays... I'm sorry, apparently that's a long perpetuated myth.  It's probably just that suicides during the holidays are statistically and emotionally more significant.  On to more positive topics!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Of Pals and Gals (15 films remain)

I apologize.  I believe the full quotation is "The best laid schemes of pals and gals gang aft agley."  God bless those stingy Scottish poets!  Anyway, here's a Western twist for ya: it's yet another remake of Out West.  The twist?  They cut out Jock Mahoney!  That's right, the Arizona Kid!  I guess the Stooges got tired of sharing the spotlight with some guy younger, taller and handsomer who's able to take falls as good as they could.  Probably better because he's younger!  Anyway, so he's out, and two sisters for Nell are in.  You know, so the two trios can get married at the end.  Long story short: they end up in each other's arms, but a monkey ends up emptying a makeshift machine gun into the Stooges' asses.  They groan from the pain, but are soothed because they're in the arms of their respective betrotheds.  An extreme marital aid to be sure, but can't argue with results, right?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

At Play in the Fields of the Legends of Old

The Fleischers did three two-reel color Popeye shorts, and I'm pretty confident that any fan of the Fleischer shorts will tell you that their favorite is the one called Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba's 40 Thieves.  Gotta make sure I get that title right.  In terms of pure showmanship, Ali Baba can still stand toe to toe with any modern cartoon, even at 76 years old.
...oh right!  A review.  Well, I've once again run out of time, so I'll just stick to the highlights.  Also, I should probably discuss the racial aspects of the cartoon, but here's a blog that gives the proper racial perspective.  Spoiler Alert: even though it's so racist, they still find it entertaining and actually recommend it!  Gasp... Here's a Wikipedia link to The Forty Thieves.  I mean, sure, I could go into the other room and get our Encyclopedia of Literature, but... well, you know.  It's the other room!  Might as well be on the other side of the moon.  Besides, the quote unquote "Encyclopedia of Literature" is probably just as biased and racist as everything else.  But if Wikipedia is to be believed, then the legend of the Forty Thieves wasn't even cribbed from 1001 Arabian Nights... again, a biased and culturally insensitive collection, probably filtered through racist employees of the Dutch East India Company.  Personally, I think it's Popeye just trying to hitch his wagon to as many established coattails as possible.  I mean, what's next?  Aladdin's Lamp?... oh, for Goodness zake...
Okay, so a few of my favourite moments.  First of all, Bluto's... I mean Abu Hassan's theme song.  It's hard not to like the villain's theme song, especially with the phrase "I'm a terrible guy" right there in it.  God bless Gus Wickie.  And besides, I take the sequence of Popeye and company crashing their plane-boat in the desert as a slap in the face to American Imperialism.  I mean, Popeye just keeps flying until the plane breaks down?  And he doesn't even know where to look for the Forty Thieves, second of all.  I'm getting more sentimental about this short as the years drag on.  For me, the waterworks flow when they're in the desert and they fade to the giant crescent moon.  Admittedly, some of Popeye's muttering at this point is not very clever: specifically, where he says "You know, I could go for a sandwich if I had a "which"."  Puh-leeeeeze.
Maybe it's just a sexual metaphor, but I also really dig the part where the Forty Thieves first breach the wall of the town Popeye and company arrived at.  Also, the noises the good guys make when they chug their first water in days are worth the price of admission by themselves.  From these, and Bluto wolfing down his lunch, Homer Simpson was surely born.
There's extensive use of large 3D backgrounds, and I think it also features the only use of a 3D model with moving parts: specifically, the giant wagon at the end, pulled by Bluto and the Forty Thieves.  Some people, like Steven Spielberg, have referred to the movies of the '30s, '40s and '50s as some of the greatest ever made, and for me, Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba's 40 Thieves belongs right up there.  Forget Disney, this Popeye short is the one.  The editing is as modern as it gets, the animation's top notch, and it represents the finest work of the Fleischer Studios.  Arguably, not as zany as some of their truly zany stuff, but they did what they could.  And 76 years from now, if society still exists, this Popeye short will still be as good as when it was first made.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Qasim Basir

Hoh boy... seriously, though, Qasim's still a director on the make, as you can see from their IMDb entry.  But he or she's got their sights on the big time!  Tackling the big subjects like Barack Obama and the struggles of Muslims in... I'm assuming America... well, it's what auteurs are supposed to do!  That's their job!  Take Shekhar Kapur, for example, cozying up to icons older and more British.  They're his turf, bitch!  Hands off.  He'll complete that Cate Blanchett / Queen Elizabeth trilogy for the Costco market yet.

Lawrence vs. Lawrence

Inside Llewyn Davis!  INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS!!!!!  ...alas, it's out of the loop, and must've debuted lower than #11.  Well, this isn't, say, True Grit we're talking about here.  It's a limited release, so it's taking in limited dollars.  I gotta keep it short this week, but needles to say there are five, count 'em, five debuts this week!  Anchorman 2: Anchor Harder, That '70s Movie, Saving Private Ryan... I mean, Saving Mr. Banks, Jurassic Park 3.5 without People in 3D, and something called Doom 3... I mean Dhoom: 3.  Better make a hyperlink to that one, because I'm sure to forget it.  Looks like Luc Besson's expanding his base operations to India!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

When conspiracies attack

Well, I've only read a couple reviews of Jack Reacher 1, but they helped me through those nagging feelings I had.  Sure, it's entertaining, with fine action scenes and all that, and Chris McQuarrie gets to do another fast car chase with a slow part to vindicate the strange car chase from his previous and ominously-titled The Way of the Gun.  And Tom Cruise has got the tightest inguinal ligaments I've ever seen in a 50 year old.
But like with the nagging problem of paying for parking when you're about to shoot some random people, I had a few nitpicks.  But I'll set those aside and continue anew my rant for a rating between PG-13 and R.  Like a guy said in Videodrome, the world's getting tougher!  And America may still be soft, but our harmless entertainments have edges.  The World Socialist Web Site didn't review Reacher, but did anyone else notice how sleazy and efficient the bad guys were?  Let's leave aside Werner Herzog for now.  After all, Roman Polanski got punk'd by Brett Ratner, and hey!  They could've gone with Christopher Lambert as the uber bad guy and gotten a similar voice, but it just wouldn't be the same somehow.  Herzog's body of work trumps the Highlander where I come from.  And sure, they could've gone with Kelly Rutherford or Deborah Kara Unger as the DA's daughter, but Rosamund Pike's a sweetie pie and she's not afraid to show off a little skin.
Anyway, I don't know how big the evil corporation is here, but they seem like awful small potatoes to have such committed hit men.  They've got one mine in Pittsburgh!  That's it?  Maybe it's all a setup for the sequel.  After all, there's, like, 300 books in this Reacher series.  They are working on a sequel as we speak and I blog, which is one more than the Cirque du Freak guy can boast.  So if you're a veteran who's returned state-side and have been framed, Jack Reacher just might be the guy you call... unless you didn't serve with him, of course.  Call the closest Reacher-type you can find.  Hopefully one who's a better shot on the range, tee hee hee.  And kudos to Emerson for the one car chase where he misses a turn or something, and makes a disappointed face.  You don't usually see that in a car chase!  At least, not that I recall.  A different flavor from Freebie and the Bean, for one.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Taming of the Stooges

Well, if it's using old footage, then the title's certainly justified.  But seeing as how this is a refactoring of Fiddlers Three, and how much I raved about that particular Stooge short, there's just no turning back now.  In this remake, they de-emphasize the fact that Vernon Dent is supposed to be Old King Cole, and just focus on the marital dilemmas of the Stooges.  The king decrees that they can get married, but in the spring.  You know, when the flowers bloom, and all that poetic crap that the chicks like.  Maybe it also serves as a Daniel Goleman-esque lesson in emotional intelligence: delaying gratification and what not.  For even though flowers only bloom in the spring, people can get it on year round.
Where was I?  Oh right.  The king wants his daughter married first before the Stooges.  It's Cuckoo on a Choo Choo all over again for this extended family.  Not all is happy about the impending marriage of King Cole's daughter, however.  More specifically, the sorcerer played by pre-Jerry Stiller actor Philip van Zandt.  There's intrigue, there's mayhem in the magician's box, but more importantly... there's a very satisfying ending for those of us Stooge fans who have trouble with the Stooges, the ultimate bachelors, getting married  to girls old enough to be their daughters and raising families.  The ending here?  After the Stooges reign triumphant over the knuckle-headed bad guys, they run towards the loving arms of their brides-to-be... but a little too eagerly, as it turns out, for the three couples end up hitting each other in the heads, and they all pass out in a heap on the floor.  Finally!  The precise moment when modern men and women achieved equality of the sexes!  Now if America could just stop producing so many synthetic endocrine disrupting chemicals...

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

The Spinach Whisperer

...did I use that phrase already?  Seems like it.  Anyway, it's hard work being an icon.  There's constant maintenance involved, even for an animated character like Popeye.  Case in point: his latest chore for Olive.  See, Olive's got a pet dog that's just too feminine for Popeye.  Why, he even says so out loud!  "A he-man like I am can't take a sissy dorg like that for a walk!", complains Popeye.  No dice.  The things a guy does for love.
Alas, Popeye's worst fears are realized when Bluto comes walking down with the street with his dog: a roided-up bulldog, of course.  Sheesh!  Now if only they made cigars for dogs.  Needles to say, Bluto starts fighting with Popeye, and Bluto's dog starts fighting with Olive's... I mean, Popeye's dog.  Well, if spinach works on ducks, why not on dogs?  You'll never guess how it all ends.  Why, it's got an ending that even Guy Ritchie would love.  Reminds me of the emotional climax of his Rocknrolla, an ode to the user of recreational drugs.  I mean, what's the point of Heaven if you can't sit there, head swirling with endorphins, and snot drooling out of your nose?
Now, I will hold the Fleischers' feet to the fire on this one a little bit.  I mean, how many times does Popeye do the walk of shame past that Sweets Shop?  Also, Popeye seems to have a fetish for kicking Bluto in the back of the head in this one.  Just saying.  Still, not bad for the short just before the ultimate Popeye masterpiece: Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.  What's not to like?  Four stars.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - John Barry, not this one.  Might be this one!  I'm gonna go for this one.  So far he's just got Classical Steel on the old réz.  If it goes real well, it's a short hop, skip and jump from classical steel to maybe Real Steel 3!  The second one's probably taken.

Love is in the air... as well as a few arrows

I hate to sound... Smaug... (drum roll)... but I think this picture oughta cover it just fine!  Also, being able to see my blog statistics hasn't been healthy for me, but thankfully I'm finally above the 100-hits per post average that I've been waiting to hit.  Kinda sad in a way.  Half of them must be mine.  Oh well.  I'm well past my "Hello?  Is anybody out there?" blogging phase.  Now I'm just waiting for the retirement home, basically.
Oh, and Tyler Perry's got a new movie out as well.  Big surprise.  Dang!  He's been busy!  How does he find time to direct all that bad television?  Eat your liberal heart out, Norman Lear!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Next Stooge: Hot Dogs 'n Stuff

Another one I don't need to review.  I think I know it by heart, but there's probably some nuance to it that I don't remember.
Now, for some reason, the high-brow types in Stooge films are always trying to figure out if it's heredity or environment that makes the Stooges the way they are.  For some reason, they prudently never used the phrase "eugenics."  Lesser comedy duos or trios of the time used it at their peril.  Like those Wheeler and Woolsey douchebags, I betcha.  In the instant case, we narrow our study to the influence of money on behaviour as it's happening in real time.  Having to deal with income taxes just throws gasoline on the fire.  Larry is pushed to his absolute limits in dealing with Moe.  Not only does Larry not accept Moe's half-assed apology, he fires off a round of instant glue at Moe.  Moe catches it with the palm of his hand.  A perfect opportunity to do the arm 360 and smash some heads.  But with Moe's gluey hand, he chooses not to make a fist.  Larry slaps Moe's hand, and you can tell by the look in Moe's eyes that, by the time his arm does the 360, or 270 give or take, his hand will definitely hit the target: Larry's head.  See, sometimes they miss their target and hit themselves in the head instead.  But Moe can't miss this time, for he has to stick his glue hand in Larry's hair, so he can rip some of Larry's hair out.
In lieu of the usual three act structure, Income Tax Sappy is more like a two-act play.  The first act deals with the impoverished times before the Stooges learn to manipulate their income taxes to become rich.  Well, can't argue with results, because by the Second Act, they're sipping champagne and tossing away fifty dollar bills in a giant house!  Those must've been the days when $15 here and there led to serious wealth.  Alas, the Stooges are new money and they didn't vet their party guests properly... well, I hate to spoil the surprise.  Needles to say, the classic Income Tax Sappy ends much like Goof on the Roof does, with the three knuckleheads nursing their simultaneously injured asses.  This was one of those ones we used to watch on old VCR tapes, so I'm clearly the wrong person to properly review this one.  Another Shemp classic.  Of course, what's his face steals the show as Mr. Cash.
p.s. These aren't actually letterboxed, they just have the top and bottom truncated.  It's what the old films have to do to survive in the HDTV age.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

North Spinach 40

...another one?  Didn't they just do a football one?  Anyway, spreading the gospel according to Spinach is surprisingly difficult, especially amongst the young and infinks.  And even though Swee'pea's already eaten his supergreens, somehow being spoon fed a steaming serving of them by Popeye just puts Swee'pea out of the mood.  Perhaps a demonstration will do the trick?  Popeye eats it himself then flexes his arm muscle.  His arm muscle morphs into a tiny buff (faceless) bodybuilder who flexes its muscles!  I mean, his!  I hope it's a he.  And then, back to work... nope, Swee'pea's still not convinced.  Well, I guess it's storytime, then.
Popeye morphs into a younger, smaller version of himself, harkening back to a time when he played pee-wee football with his fellow Campbells Soup kids.  A young Olive cheers Popeye on in the crowd.  (Creepy!!!)  Enter Bluto and his hunks of beef for teammates.  Popeye's team is clearly outmatched.  But it hasn't gotten too bad yet.  At least Popeye doesn't get trampled when Bluto's team "intercepts" the ball!  We see a young (and thin!!!) Wimpy keeping score in a typical Fleischer way, and he doesn't even have a hamburger within reach!  How does a person turn into a glutton, anyway?  I mean, a "foodie"?
Usually Popeye displays the better creativity in these celluloid outings, but once Bluto's team gets the ball, there's no stopping them.  Only in a cartoon could a football team score as such.  Here's your favourite method they use... am I being presumptuous?  Well, I gotta live up to my name sometimes!  This one's just silly... none of Popeye's teammates could tackle any of Bluto's men as it is!  ...also, why does it make me think of Lode Runner?
And so, at this point the score is: Bluto 49, Popeye 0.  Will a pancake-shaped Popeye eat his spinach?  Of course!  Apparently spinach power is not to be distributed to the masses!  How elitist.  Will he win the game all by himself?  Probably.  I hate to sound cynical, but I'm kinduva stickler for playing by the rules.  But hey!  The Waterboy didn't exactly have good refereeing either, did it?  Anyway, for those of you out there who don't care for Popeye too much, this one's got the ending for you.  SPOILER ALERT: Swee'pea is won over by Popeye's heartwarming tale and engulfs the entire bowl of spinach in front of him in one fell swoop.  He grows strong, and kicks the crap out of Popeye!  Careful what you wish for... Classic cartoon, great animation.  Probably the best of the football-themed Popeyes, somehow.


p.s. ...not this Graham Place, I'm assuming?

Auteur Watch - Neema Barnette

Damn.  Another long résumé.  Well, this is a chance for me to take a swipe at all the critics out there who do nothing but nitpick all day.  Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick!  I exclude myself, of course, for I have my own brand of picking of the nits.  But one critique that I heard was about 12 Years a Slave, that African Americans are boxed into a corner, forced to do movies like this, and by "this" I mean the big dramatic fare to help resolve the omnipresent white guilt.  Where's the ordinary stuff like The Preacher's Wife and what not?  Well, all you have to do is look at an impressive long résumé like ol' Neema's here.  Seek and ye shall find!  Sure, there's no Hav Plentys or Jason's Lyric or anything fun like that.  But there is lots of TV work; that's harder to find, maybe even on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
So the big question: which decade is Neema's favourite?  Was it the 80s when she had a more unique place in the biz?  Sure, there were stints on a bunch of TV shows, but there is 1985's Sky Captain, whatever that is.  Two more decades for the world of tomorrow to show up.  Or maybe it was the 90s when she started working with Bill Cosby, first the sitcom and then the Cosby Mysteries.  A little more stability, but the silver screen was still elusive... save for Spirit Lost, whatever that is.  That's what's so great about the IMDb: they tell you which are the movies and which is the TV stuff.  Very convenient.
Or maybe it's the 2000s that are her favorite!  The rise of George W. Bush coincided with the rise in Neema's more frequent silver screen entries... well, at least they're not sitcoms or TV movies!  Working less, making more.  That's the dream, ain't it?  A prison movie for the sistas!  Bring it On for the sistas!  Oh, Neema's an auteur now, there's no turning back.
But if talking to Albert Pyun's any indication, it's the current decade that's always a director's favorite.  But with titles like Heaven Ain't Hard to Find and T.D. Jakes adaptations, I guess Neema's trying to get right with the Lord before her big final check out.  Like George Carlin said, "I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me - they're cramming for their final exam."

There Is Much Joy in Disney-Ville..............

...for Frozen just kicked Hunger Games 2's ass, albeit not by all that much.  Giving indie sequel to The Company Men called Out of the Furnace the chance to debut at a paltry #3 with 5.3 million total.  Minus union dues, of course.  Meanwhile, no love for Black Nativity?  Don't make me put it on the list of One-Week Wonders!!!