Thursday, January 31, 2008

THERE WILL BE BLOOD

"Paul Thomas Anderson is a false prophet!"... "There Will Be Blood is a superstition!"

That was the rewind movie fantasy playing over in my head as I walked out of the theater last night. All I needed to complete the dream was a steak flank in my hand a la Daniel Plainview.
Anderson's sophomoric harangue against budding American capitalism is nothing more than a one note rant. Multiply that note by 158, and you've got a slog of a movie.

In Oliver Stone's far superior Wall Street, the good and bad consequences of American capitalistic ambition were given an even shake and a human face. Viewers were able to relate to the familiar "American dream" dreams of Bud while he's forced to play pickle between the ethical polarities of Gordan Gekko and his father. The only moment in TWBB that comes close to this type of probing, is when Daniel - in a flashback sequence - joyfully pats his son H.W. on the head before heading towards an oil derrick. Beyond that, we only get Gekkos.

P.T. Anderson thought he was being clever and timely by using a decades old socialist novel as There Will Be Blood's source material, thus championing Upton Sinclair as some kind of prophet for our Bush-era oil crisis. But what Anderson fails to see is that he only ends up exposing the lack of progress in thought from the pages of that dusty jacket propoganda sixty years hence.

But more than anything, There Will Be Blood is weighed down by its directors grappling preoccupation with himself. There is more self-fulfilling autobiography in There Will Be Blood than the adept character study that critics have been praising it for. Admittedly, P.T. Anderson's scattershot ambition, just like Daniel's, is watchable - and it's near impossible to take your eyes off Daniel Day-Lewis - but it's ultimately an ugly, spectacular failure. It's Michael Cimino and Heaven's Gate all over again.

"There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking... I see the worst in people". Again, these words come from Plainview, but they appropriately sum up Anderson's newfound fashionable misanthropy. To make matters worse, Film Comment just recently threw Anderson and Cinematographer Robert Elswit in the same sentence with Coppola/Willis, Altman/Zsigmond, and Peckinpah/Coquillon (among others). This wasn't so much an insult to past greats as it was a reminder of how low the quantity of quality has fallen.

Actually, no, that's wrong. It's not our films. It's the cultural gatekeepers that have fallen. Take, for example, that other movie by that other Anderson... you know, the barely talked about The Darjeeling Limited. Here we had a cross-section of class and cultures that bristled with interfamilial emotion and popped with total visual mastery. Surely, if Wes Anderson had his trio of American males arrive in India to rape women and open a Starbucks, his film would've banked a 92 Metascore and garnered a nomination for Best Picture.

So it goes...

Over the years, There Will Be Blood should make a nice companion movie with David Cronenberg's A History of Violence - that ludicrous pseudo-expose of heartland violence - for that growing group of chic Americans that love to love movies that make them feel bad about themselves.

"THEY .... DRINK .... THIS .... BULLSHIT!
THEY DRINK IT UP!"

UPDATED "SON OF RAMBOW" POSTER

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)


I was lucky enough to see Son of Ranbow at a festival last year. It was one of the best films - old or new - I saw all year, and I can't wait until it hits theaters this May. It's a film about friendship, movie love, and salvation through imagination.

The tagline for the poster is great: MAKE BELIEVE. NOT WAR.

Here is the trailer...




Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"MEAN GOD" - TIMES NEW VIKING

The new Times New Viking album, Rip Off, rewards those who liked the way The Dead C and Royal Trux's Twin Infinitives sounded, but always lamented the fact that there were no songs there. TNV's music straddles the noise-rock line between the unlistenable and the euphoric. Their wild card is that if you find one song to be crappy, it's short enough that the next one is just around the bend.

Track-to-track, the album's so tightly stitched together that it's difficult to single out a favorite song. Today, I like "Mean God". It's one minute, thirty-eight seconds long, with no more than 2 - maybe 3 - chords, and some dumb lyrics ("put those bloody hands away/I suspect foul play/and have all day"), but it's catchy as hell.

And, really, that's all you can ask from "dumb rock". From The Ramones and Andrew W.K. to Guided By Voices and Linkin Park, the lyrics are only there so you can sing along with the melody instead of just humming it. Humming rock music ain't fun.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

VINYL SLEEVE HEADS

This is awesome! I found it on Ultragrrrl's blog... check 'em out:



There are MORE, MORE, MORE!!! -------> HERE

Monday, January 28, 2008

FIRST IMAGE FROM THE NEW COEN BROS. FILM "BURN AFTER READING"

George Clooney is at his best when he is being directed by the Coens. My two favorite performances of his are in Intolerable Cruelty and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. I don't like when he plays the straight, serious man. He's much better as a comic actor. When he takes on roles where he's supposed to save the world I just get embarrassed for him.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

TEETH

The premise behind Teeth should have made for a fun, gonzo, horror film, but director Mitchell Lichtenstein gets stuck between taking his film too seriously and letting loose with the latex lunacy. Visually and viscerally, Teeth drags, and after the first gore gag, the film is spent. What's left is just another scuzz-horror time killer.

Dawn is an evangelically driven, abstinence obsessed teen from the suburbs. Her step-brother wants her and her parents are drifting ghosts. Because her family lives near some toxic smoke stacks, Dawn's vagina mutated and grew some pirhanna-like teeth. The film also argues - by way of a sloppily inserted classroom scene - that her private part anomaly is just a female evolutionary advancement. (Mother Nature's way of protecting her daughters from the predators and dogs that her sons have become).

But Lichtenstein can't make sense of anything. Is Teeth angling for fundamentalist commentary or feminist militancy? I don't think Lichtenstein could tell you either. His conceits are weightless critiques fluttering in the wind. They're flimsy because their purely fashionable. This is what happens when a hack director gets final cut.

Smarter minds would have driven the idea of teenage vagina dentata into the realm of, say, a Little Shop of Horrors, giving Dawn an out-of-control cooch similar to Seymour's Venus fly trap (a penis fly trap, perhaps?). This would've given Teeth a playable, more universal, "conscience vs. body" subtext. Sadly, Lichtenstein's only goal was to outdo Hostel II in it's number of blood squirting cocks. It's cinema nongrata.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

CARMEN ELECTRA : QUEEN OF THE WINK MOVIE

Looking at the poster for Meet the Spartans it's hard not to notice the togaed cleavage of Carmen Electra. So I did for a second... then thought, "Hmm, wasn't she in that Epic Movie too?"

She was! In fact, she's been in: Scary Movie, Date Movie, reprising her role in Scary Movie 4, Epic Movie, and now Meet the Spartans.

Another common thread, in all of this, is director Jason Friedberg. He directed Meet The Spartans, but before that he cracked his knuckles on the Date one in 2006 and the Epic one in 2007. I guess you could say they make up a Trilogy of Wink. (Perhaps he and Electra are dating?!?)

But the movie of Electra's that intrigues me the most is Hot Tamale. Directed by Michael Damian (yes, that Michael Damian) and starring Randy Spelling (yes, that Spelling) and Jason Priestly (my man needs no qualification) it's about ... well hell, forget the plot, here's what a IMDB reviewer said:

"I really loved this movie. The scenes with Baird and Spelling are so natural, especially from the extremely sexy Diora Baird. Her brief topless scene is also enough to make one want to use the rewind button over and over again. LOL."
Don't know if it's on Netflix, but I'll be checking as soon as I post this.

p.s. I know what two of you are thinking... No, that review was NOT written by Baron Davis. HATERS!

JOHN RAMBO'S KILL CHART, FILM BY FILM

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)


I like how Rambo's "shirtless kills" went from 46 in 1985 & 45 in 1988 .... to 0 in 2008. Killing with your shirt off isn't as cinematic if you have flabby man boobs and Iggy Pop skin, I guess.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

THERE WILL BE EVEN MORE BLOOD?

According to Bloody Disgusting, a friend of a friend of a friend's wife's sister got wind that Paul Thomas Anderson's next project will be a horror film. At the rate he works, we may not know if this is true until 2012, but it's curious nonetheless.

I heard the same thing about Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman a few years back, but that seems to have fizzled. Maybe it's just the stock answer filmmakers give, nowadays, when the're faced with the "So what are you doing next?" question.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THE LADIES OF "MAD MONEY"

Watching Mad Money was the first time I saw Katie Holmes as a woman and not as little Joey Potter crying and listening to Paula Cole on the other side of the creek. She brings a saavy, light humor to this female heist comedy directed by Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri. Mad Money bests the Ridley Scott film because it's truer. The criminal tempations led on by everday class struggles are more relatable than the pseudo-Bonnie and Clyde fantasy world in Thelma.

There's also a unexpected comic chemistry between Holmes, Queen Latifah, and Diane Keaton. Keaton is the center and the other two play off her so naturally you'd think they'd been making comedy troupe movies together for years. I think there is something subliminally appealing about the differing age, size, and charisma of each lady that makes them totally watchable when they're on screen together.

Monday, January 21, 2008

THE BROTHERS SOLOMON

The absurd humor of The Brothers Solomon works so well because it's tied into the arrested adolescence of its two title characters, John and Dean Solomon. Home schooled and separated from a normal social upbringing, the man-children try their best at dating, but without a life reference guide to refer to, they fare no better than would Kaspar Hauser on the singles circuit.

At first, you think the script by Will Forte is simply a gag-filled page turner, but when the crux of the story kicks in - John and Dean want to have a son to help their comatose father recover - the goofball humanity of the brothers becomes clear. Their big-hearted ambition is in the right place, but a homespun naivete holds them back. It's like Dumb and Dumber with brains. (That's no slag on the Farrelly's. Their best films are the progenitors for these types of comedies.)

The movie's best moment is its grandiose climax connecting every minor and major character in the film. It's a stunt that gets funnier the longer it plays out. Forte's trick is that he catches you off guard with these set pieces. At times, you may not laugh during The Brothers Solomon as much as you revel in its lunacy.

Commercially, The Brothers Solomon bombed, but with its DVD release there's a second chance of it finding an audience. Looking back, it fits right into 2007's list of pregnant comedies: Knocked-Up, Waitress, Juno. But as a socially-aware, quirk-observant film, it goes beyond that and becomes a comical champion for the uncoventional family.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

CLOVERFIELD

There's a scene near the end of Cloverfield where, after being dropped, a hand held camera, documenting Manhattan's destruction, tries to auto focus itself on the face of a dead body. This 5-second visual frustration is part of the 85-minute visual irritation that is Cloverfield.

The cinematography in Cloverfield makes Tarnation look like The Last Emperor. Defenders of its shaky hand held ("hand held" is too nice... how about "fist gripped"?) style will say it's a clever device intended to bring realism to a terrifying situation or freshness to a stale genre. Nonsense. Matt Reeves resorts to this shtick film making because he knows the ingredients (script, acting, etc.) with which he has to work with are bogus. (For a quality post-9/11 siege film watch Spielberg's War of the Worlds).

Told entirely through a Department of Defense video file, on April 27th 2007 an alien is plopped into the off shore waters of Coney Island (look for it in the film's final shot). Twenty-five days later, the creature has gestated into a empire state sized behemoth, bitch slapping the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and any skyscraper in its path. But unlike the classic b-movies - Them, King Kong, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - that Reeves and producer J.J. Abrams thank in the credits, Cloverfield forgets to have fun. Even the film's final full-frontal creature reveal doesn't stir.

Because of Cloverfield's effectively vague previews, its MySpace following, and its PG-13 target marketing, there was a palpable excitement in the movie theater when I sat down. But when the credits rolled, the audience just left. What was on-screen never came down and touched our eager eyes. Was Cloverfield just another January dump film covered up by a talented PR team?

Yes. Because of our sensational news channels and home video file sharing culture, Reeves and company are about 5 years too late with their concept. As DIY digital movie making becomes easier, we don't need our studio backed productions to get lazier. Cloverfield kicks off the 2008 movie year with a stubbed toe.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"ZOMBIE BOY" - THE MAGNETIC FIELDS

Of all the places Stephin Merritt has searched for love - Paris, London, Tokyo, the lower east side - he may have just found his final heaven in Haiti.
As a bonus, said loverboy is a member of the walking dead! Yes, Merritt can walk him with a collar, dress him in gowns, avoid yucky fluid problems...

"You swivel your hips/as I work the controls/No blood ever drips/when I widen your holes"

and avoid boring conversation...

"You look pretty pure/for so long in the ground/You smell like a sewer/but you don't make a sound"

All of this is dressed up in stuttered melody and a stumbling, walking bassline. As if Merritt penned the tune especially for a legion of voodooed hotties at a monster mash sock hop.

MANNEQUIN LEAVES MAN ACHIN'

The moxie of perverts stuns me...

A dude in England ordered a mannequin from a web site thinking it was a s*x doll.

Then he put his thingy in that hole where merchants usually put the display rod, and got stuck.

Then, without hesitation, he called the manufacturer to complain!:

---
"After freeing himself, he made an angry call to us to complain about the user friendliness of the female bust and that it was not what he had ordered.

"The fact that one of our display busts has been used in an unusual fashion has stunned and embarrassed the entire sales team."

We've just added these busts to our range and we normally expect some initial teething problems but not in our 30 years of business have we experienced such an incident.

"We are now going to place a warning on the new display bust section to prevent such ludicrous situations from happening again."It's so bizarre that we have to warn people that our mannequins are for display use only and not for recreational use." (London Paper)
---

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

JENNA CLOSES THE CURTAINS

The most mainstream female pornstar of all time is calling it quits.

At the Adult Video News Awards (survivor of the writer's strike...) Jenna Jameson got all Scarlet O'Hara on the crowd, and proclaimed:

---
"Honesty is key. I will never, ever,
ever spread my legs again in this industry again. Ever!"
---

My first thought is... But how will she get them closed??? She might have to go to a physical therapist to relearn how to cross those thighs. And when she does, there's gotta be a gap big enough to throw a football through!

---
Jenna's announcement was met with a chorus of boos from the audience at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, and sparked rumours she might be expecting a baby with her UFC champion boyfriend Tito Ortiz. (Stuff)

---

For Jenna, giving birth must be a breeze. Whatever doctor gets that assignment has it made. It will be like taking a piece of candy from a PEZ dispenser.

VINCENT GIALLO

Vincent Gallo, Ray Liotta (what a weird turn this guy's career has taken...), and Asia Argento are ready to star in a Dario Argento helmed, genre-comprehensive, english-language film (hopefully the kind without that awful Italian-style dubbing) called Giallo.

---
Argento’s latest thriller will revolve around serial slashings of some very attractive women being investigated by a solitary cop, played by Liotta, who engages in a cat-and-mouse game with the psychopathic perpetrator, played by Gallo. (Variety)
---

Yep! That pretty much sums up the entirety of giallo films.

I was watching The Church the other day - staring a 14 year old Asia Argento - and it made me wonder how much of her father's nepotistic casting had to do with her current image of a strung-out, smoke-throated, chanteuse.

I've always thought she was sexy (I'm drawn to that steel-heeled, barbwired rosary look), but now I feel a bit guilty for it. How much of that devil-may-care vibe of hers is a result of her dad's questionable parenting? I hope my urge to think of Argento's 1993 film Trauma - staring an 18 year Asia - as autobiographical is exactly just that:

An anorexic young woman escapes from a psychiatric clinic and meets a young man who wants to help. She is caught and returned to her parents, who are soon beheaded...

Monday, January 14, 2008

"WE GET ON" - KATE NASH

Kate Nash is at her best when she's at her most English. Cockney accent hanging off her face, brash Daily Mail gossip-philosophizing, sing-speak storytelling like fellow Brit Mike Skinner. "We Get On" starts with some Fats Domino "Blue Monday" piano blues riffing,... but from that privileged, button nose, cute purse and shoes, perspective.

In fact, "We Get On" could be the anthem for our culture's current squad of young, romping, dignity-be-damned, celebrity women: Amy Winehouse, Lindsey Lohan, Lily Allen, Kate Moss, Mischa Barton. The lyrics could double as one of these nubile night owl's journal entries.
"And my friends were like whatever/You'll find someone better/His eyes were way too close together/And we never even liked him from the start... So I proceeded to get drunk and cry/And lock myself in the toilets/For the entire night/Saturday night I watched channel five/I particularly liked CSI"
It's hard to tell if Nash (or Lily Allen) have the skills for songwriter longevity. What we haven't seen, yet, from these MySpace artists, is the ability to get over that sophomore slump hump.

But heck if she's not a cutie! Just add another Brit chick named "Kate" to the list... Middleton, Moss, Winslet, Nash.

THE VAL LEWTON BLOG-A-THON: "THE LEOPARD MAN" (1943)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
***The below post is my contribution to the Val Lewton Blogathon, hosted by The Evening Class. Please go there throughout the week to check out other posts/essays on Val Lewton's work.***
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Val Lewton understood that brevity was key in making his RKO horror films successful and entertaining. Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie, The Leopard Man, The Seventh Victim, and The Body Snatcher all clock in under an hour and fifteen minutes. With low-rent sets, soft scripts, fresh actors, and green directors (Tournier, Wise, and Robson) Lewton turned the cutting room floor into an artistic device. (Consequently, I think this lack of quality control is exactly what has made the inexplicably long giallo horror films of the 70's age so poorly...).

The Leopard Man was Lewton and Jacques Tourneur's final collaboration, and it's their best. The film trips a bit in the last moments, but the staging of the first two off-screen "murder by audio" killings is expert Tourneur, drawing fear not even from the shadows, but from the female victim's built-up innocence. The cut from Margaret Landy's face to a dead, extreme close-up, stare of a leopard is overpowering in its babe vs. nature implications.

The first two victims in The Leopard Man are beyond the traditional storybook example of innocence: they are hyper-wholesome (surely an intentional request of Lewton's). By today's standards, the on-screen deaths of these girls would kick up guffaws, hurrahs, and film blog debates for a week. The first, Teresa, is a poor teenager living in a one-room shack with her family. Her mother forces her out on the streets to buy corn meal for her father's tortillas. Consuelo, the second victim, awakens on her birthday to a bouquet of flowers and a love-letter promise from her boyfriend to meet at the cemetery for a surprise. Both girls are violently mauled.

Considering that 1943 was smack dab in the middle of the Production Code years, Lewton and Tourneur got away with much. Beyond the brutal deaths of too young girls, the unveiled killer at the end of the movie alludes to his sexual deviancy:

"...her little frail body, soft skin... and then she screamed".

Then a gunshot goes off, cutting off the sick details before they go further. The girl's boyfriend, shooter of the gun, serving as the surrogate censorship enforcer.

All of this is rather heavy, and unexpected, from a sixty-six minute 1940's horror film titled, The Leopard Man. For certain, this ain't no The Man With Nine Lives.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

NFL PLAYOFFS : WEEK 2

The following is an amateur's attempt at predicting the results of this weekend's 4 NFL playoff games...

BUT, I came in 1st place this year, at work, in picking winners, so I ain't terrible... but I ain't no wunderkind like Bill Simmons neither.

So hear goes...


SATURDAY'S GAMES



Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

Today on sports radio, the Seahawks were getting a lot of last minute support as the trendy upset pick. I don't see it. The aura of Mike Holmgren means nothing to me. I see Green Bay cruising. They'll win be at least 10.

WINNER:
Packers


Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots

What should've been the game of the weekend. Then Jacksonville had to play the asterisk game and ruined everything. Hey Jacksonville, did you not see what happened when the Jets and every Brady hater called the Pats "cheaters" after week 1? They won 15 games in a row! Not that New England needed any extra motivation for tomorrows game, but if you have a short memory for what happens to Brady when somebody calls him out, see this year's Pittsburgh game.

WINNER:
Patriots



SUNDAY'S GAMES



San Diego Chargers
@ Indianapolis Colts

Something tells me the Colts are sleeping and are expecting a sloppy, lethargic Chargers team to lay down on Sunday. For that reason - and for the reason that LT jumped 15 feet through the air last Sunday to score against the Titans - I'm calling a Chargers upset in Indy.

WINNER: Chargers
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

I'm looking forward to this game the most. I'm looking forward to it the most because I hope the Cowboys lose, and thus, "Tony Romo is pu**y whipped" talk floods Dallas radio for the next 9 months! I hate the Cowboys more than any other franchise in sports. I'm a Houston fan, and I've had to deal with the fact that "America's Team" lives just 3 hours north up I-45 (and now I-35) my whole life. (Sigh) Having said that, I still think the Cowboys will win. But I will gladly sacrifice my pick for their misery. GO GIANTS!

WINNER:
Cowboys

Friday, January 11, 2008

MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE

This is a special story to start your weekend right....

Usually Thai people just eat frogs, but one day a woman and a lil' amphibian struck up a friendship that broke down southeast Asian cultural barriers.

---
Mrs Bamroongtoi came across Nong Oui outside her house in the Thai province of Roi-Et.

"The frog had a small chick in its mouth. I looked her straight in the eye and knew I could communicate with her. I told her to drop the chick and she did and then came hopping in," she claimed.

"Ever since, she has been a member of the family. For a long time, villagers would come round and get tips on the National Lottery with the frog's help. They used to read her skin.
---

When Nong Oui isn't on her Harley ("There is nothing she likes more than to chill out on her toy Harley-Davison, or a battery-operated dumpster truck."), her and Mrs. Bamroongtoi go everywhere together. They travel, go to the store, go on walks... they're like Matthew Broderick and that bird in Ladyhawke.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ON THE EVE OF THE RELEASE OF "IN THE NAME OF THE KING : A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE"

I've mentioned my bizarre obsession with Uwe Boll before. I think it goes back to my affection for blind ambitious losers. It's why I enjoy watching Larry Cohen's films regardless of the fact that I seldom like a one.

[NOTE: While Cohen's directed films are consistently poor, his scripts have been fleshed out in the hands of others... namely: Phone Booth and Cellular.]

So, on the day before the wide release (dump???) of INTOTK : ADST, the NY Post asked Boll a few questions:

---
Uwe Boll is to directing what cirrhosis is to the liver. Or so his critics would have you believe. His movies - popcorn-action flicks based on video games like BloodRayne - have been eviscerated by reviewers and earned him the title of "world's worst director." Not that he's turned the other cheek to criticism. The German director's been known to e-mail journalists colorful missives, and in 2006 he challenged five naysayers to a boxing match - and whipped them all.

His latest film, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, starring Jason Statham, opens Friday. Not surprisingly, the movie is based on a video game. The hero is a simple farmer who helps save the kingdom from an evil magician and his monster army. (read the full interview HERE)

---

But is Boll really "the world's worst director"? Nah, far from it. The man at least has a boisterous and intriguingly jejune quality to his films,... which is more than I'm willing to grant Alfonso Cuaron.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

LOVIN' LA BEOUF

Shia looking cool on the set of Eagle Eye, the new D.J. "Disturbia" Caruso film he's doing with hot new lady actress, Michelle Monaghan.




Monday, January 07, 2008

THE NEW MICHEL GONDRY FILM!

No, not that one (that = Be Kind Rewind)... the newer new one!

It's called The Return of the Ice Kings, and Gondry is writing it now:

---
The Return of the Ice Kings, as Gondry describes, is "a story about kids who invent a water that makes you hear music when you drink it." What the heck? Gondry explains where it came from: "I'm into science - in fact, I read more about science and astronomy than about movies. Science is re-questioning itself all the time, and it's still at a stage where anything is possible." And obviously it shows, but I think Gondry can pull it off. However, it goes further than that, check this out: "At one point, they see the end of time in the movie, so, we'll have to shoot it somewhere that looks like the end of time."
---

New films from Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Mike Leigh in 2008! Woo-hoo! Let's hope that this year turns out better than last years sludgefeast.

IS FILM VIOLENCE AN AGENT OF (POSITIVE) CHANGE???











=





A pair of economists have come up with a theory that watching violent movies decreases the amount of violent crime:

---
Young men are the most likely to commit violent crimes. In opting to see a movie — even one featuring, say, gang rape or chain-saw amputation — they forgo activities that have a greater tendency to encourage mayhem, like drinking and drug use.

“Economics is about choice,” Professor Dahl said. “What would these people have done if they had not chosen to go and see a movie? Whatever they would have done would have had a greater tendency to involve alcohol. If you can incapacitate a large group of potentially violent people, that’s a good thing.”

Professor DellaVigna added, “It’s not as if these people watching violent movies would otherwise be home reading a book.” (NY Times)
---

It's an interesting bit of junk science, I guess, but it holds as much weight as the theory that violent movies cause violent crime.

I'm sure that on-screen violence probably soothes some fetishistic desires in the sickos, as well as negatively influencing the mind of the babe, but as to what extent?... who knows. It's like the argument that pornography keeps sexual deviants from doing their evil.

Maybe... maybe not. There are too many psychological variables to consider that just aren't traceable yet.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

CATE BLANCHETT IN INDIANA JONES 4

Wanna get that irritating image of Cate Blanchett in a Bob Dylan costume out of your head??? Well, this leaked image from Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will help:


OINGO BOINGO!!!

Woo wee... if all Russian agents looked like that I would give away all my top secrets!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

JANUARY MUSIC

The January-early February block of weeks is typically a dump time for films, but for music, it's just..... kinda..... S L O W.

[NOTE: Ok, so Radiohead's In Rainbows got its "solid matter" release yesterday, but... USUALLY!!!]

Which isn't really a bad thing, because January can give you a month to cleanse, buy some used CDs, and pull out some pre-2007 albums off the shelf.

As I get older, the shoebox in my skull is getting fuller, and longer, so it's not as easy to play memory recall as I could when I was 22. ("Friend: Quick, what's the # 7 track on Bakesale?", " Pfft, 'Magnet's Coil'...duh!" Now it's like "ummm....uhhhhhh....let me check Wikipedia...").


Which isn't really a bad thing, because it kinda makes older music fresh again! I listened to Clinic's Internal Wrangler on a quick snag-grab yesterday and it was awesome! "Internal Wrangler", "T.K", "2/4", ... and "Distortions" is just plain perfect. For the first time I kicked around the idea the song is about abortion:
"I've pictured you in coffins/My baby in a coffin/But I love it when you blink your eyes/Oh I, I want to know my body/I want this out not in me/I want no other leakage/I want to know no secrets showed/I leave, oh I leave, now I leave care/Free of distortions, free of distortions, free of distortions."
Ehh???

And last Saturday, the wife and I pulled out the 3 Belle and Sebastian EPs to listen to on the way to brunch and Target. I got busted with a glare from a walking bystander for listening to "Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie" really, really loud in the car. I guess that's the Austin, TX hiptser equivalent of blowing "F*ck The Police" out your sub-woofers in South Central L.A. (circa 1989).


Show of hands that agrees 3...6...9 Seconds of Light is the best of the B&S EPs???

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

TOP 10 BEST AND TOP 10 WORST FILMS OF 2007

Happy New Year!

...now here are the 10 best films of last year


10. Curse of the Golden Flower

Ornately made and built of a calcium strong skeleton that gives its battle sequences power. Reason # 18 that Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings video game trilogy will age poorly.


9. Waitress

Adrienne Shelley passed away before I had a chance to admire her. Watching Waitress, I mourned the fact that such a crisp comic screenwriter would create no more, but mostly that such a sweetheart - evident through her directing - is gone.


8. Pride

A guilt-free, cynicism-free, racially-sensitive, gender-accepting, team-building, socially-aware, underdog film that Hollywood doesn't want to make anymore (and that Spike Lee is still figuring out how to...).


7. Superbad

The funniest 30-minute run of the year starts off the honest boy-poaching of Superbad. It's great that Rogan & Goldberg's script gives us the yin & yang of male teen sexuality: The outwardly horny porn fiend, and the inwardly horny porn fiend.


6. Lars and the Real Girl

Made by a writer of Six Feet Under and the director of Mr. Woodcock, Lars and the Real Girl finds that happy medium between small-town comedy and small-town drama. A few big city critics scoffed at the portrayal of country-bumpkin acceptance and elbowed it away as some kind of phantom, mythical characteristic. These soft-headed boobs need to come down from their tower more.


5. I Don't Want To Sleep Alone

So much happens with so little action in a Tsai Ming-Liang movie
. Because his camera never moves, the still-life imagery gives your eyes time to explore, thus exciting your interpretations. The film is also a brain-teaser: the same actor plays a comatose patient and a homeless, wandering gigolo. It's like Belle De Jour with a Taiwanese twist.


4. Hot Fuzz

If Superbad contained 2007's funnest 30 minutes to start a movie, then Hot Fuzz owned the last 30. Hot Fuzz is neither parody or homage... it's movie love.


3. Linda Linda Linda

The ghost of Robert Altman found it's way into the heart of Japanese director Nobuhiro Yamashita and the best teen film of the year was made. Eat your heart out, Juno.


2. Inland Empire

Like Mulholland Drive to the third power, David Lynch's Inland Empire is too mesmerizing, confounding, tweaking, and long to swallow down and digest. But you can feel that its great, and when you watch it again, the masterstrokes appear vividly.


1. The Darjeeling Limited

The fact that The Bourne Ultimatum received better reviews than The Darjeeling Limited is proof that most critics don't get it anymore. Wes Anderson makes films in the tradition that his fore bearers laid out for him. After Anderson perfects his own flash for 90 minutes, he lets the credits roll over a shot borrowed from Renoir's Le Bete Humaine. That's just the type of humble visionary he is.


Now....

onto........

THE 10 WORST FILMS OF 2007


1. Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door (Gregory Wilson)
2. Joshua (George Ratliff)
3. Hostel II (Eli Roth)
4. Before the Devil Knows Your Dead (Sidney Lumet)
5. 51 Birch Street (Doug Block)
6. Shooter (Antoine Fuqua)
7. The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass)
8. Mr. Brooks (Bruce Evans)
9. A Mighty Heart (Michael Winterbottom)
10. Sunshine (Danny Boyle)