Sunday, August 31, 2008

UNSEEN CINEMA : THE "OTHER" 12 MOVIES MEME

***UPDATED on Monday!***

I'm so glad that Pat over at Doodad Kind of Town tagged me today b/c it gives me an easy post to do on a weekend that has been tough to blog on. I'm at the beach, and our condo has the first wireless router ever made, so, - as you can imagine - it hasn't gone too well. But, really, it's like that couple in Open Water... I really shouldn't be on my computer when there are waves 100 feet in front of me, right?

And, wait, did I say easy? This isn't an easy post. In fact, it's gonna be quite difficult. Here are the rules for what is being called The "Other" 12 Movie Meme (via The Dancing Image):

***The challenge is as follows:

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1. You must not have seen any of the films on your list, either in theatres or on video.

2. The films on your list should not be available on Netflix (this will be the criteria for "availability" since it's too hard to track down what's available where, to who, etc.)

3. You can organize the list however you want, in themed couplets like Piper's original list, or just as twelve semi-random films.

4. You must credit and link to my blog, Piper's blog for getting the original ball rolling, and for good measure, the guys at Out 1 for planting the seed.


5. Tag five people to keep the meme going.

6. If you're too lazy to follow all of these rules, but still want to participate, you have my blessing (the more the merrier). Except for the rule about linking to my blog. That you still have to obey.

---

Since I'm spoiled with the video stores in my town, this is gonna be REAL difficult... but fun as hell! So here goes:

1. The Quiet Man (1952, John Ford)

2. Kings of the Road (1976, Wim Wenders)

3. Last Embrace (1979, Jonathan Demme)

4. Made in U.S.A (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)

5. God of Cookery (1996, Stephen Chow)


6. Love Streams (1984, John Cassavettes)


7. Get To Know Your Rabbit (1972, Brian DePalma)


8. Human Desire (1954, Fritz Lang)


9. Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981, Bernardo Bertolucci)

10. Greed (1924, Eric Von Stroheim)

11. Taxi (1998, Gerard Pires)

12. Taxi 2 (2000, Gerard Krawczyk)

I tag Scott, Rick, J.D., Da' Reel Whore, and Jonathan Lapper. Rip it, y'all!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

WILL PLAYLISTS KILL THE MIXTAPE LOVERS?

A friend of mine told me that the guy who directed Raising Victor Vargas was now doing a movie called Nick and Nora's Infinite Mixtape. "Cool", I thought. Seems appropriate, what with all of the Gen-X'rs now having turned into thirtysomethings with baby slings and Baby Einstein DVDs that encroach in on the space laid out for their very carefully crafted Dick Linklater collections. Plus, there was the recent, heartwarming success of Rob Sheffield's Love Is A Mixtape. A kind of The Greatest Generation for the grunge/indie set.

But then I saw the trailer...

After I got over the excitement of seeing a 69 Love Songs poster in Michael Cera's room, the title for the film came up: Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist... er... Playlist?!?... PLAYLIST??? Darn. I instantly turned into one of those finger wagging I-tell-ya-this-generation-sure-doesn't-BLAH-BLAH-BLAH..." boneheads that everyone transforms into once they realize that the remainder of their life is simply a series of falling actions.

Still, I posit that a truly special art form has died if "the playlist" has officially replaced the mixtape or mix CD. I mean, mix CDs were already a step in the wrong direction. There was no demarcation of sides (SIDE A/SIDE B), which created a whole host of problems. Without "SIDES", the last song of SIDE A and the first song of SIDE B lose their punch.

Notice the genius of ending SIDE A with "I Can't Make You Love Me", starting SIDE B with "I'm In Love With A Girl" and ending with "Thirteen".

But playlists?!?!? Is this what (you) kids do now? Do new friends make playlists for each other ?? Do you just e-mail the girl or boy you dream of your butterflied-stomach masterpiece in a stinkin' MP3 file?!? Does High Fidelity read like a Russian novel to 17 year olds today? EEEEEEEE!!!!

This is HERESY! And here is why:

1. Mixtapes are tangible. The tactile experience that is had with picking up a CD or a DVD at the store is a much more valuable cultural experience than people let on. For one, it's part of the hunt. You find what you want, you pick it up, look at it, connect with it. When someone hands you a mixtape (or CD) they are giving you their woodwork, their blood and tears. It's a physical product of something that started in the heart. This is a benefit of materialism that people often dismiss.

2. Artwork. Some of the best mixtapes (and CDs) are often enhanced by the artwork (i.e. "cover art") attached to them. Collages, sketches, ink drawings. Even the attention given to handwriting when a song list is penciled in can carry significant weight. Also, printed initials, dates, and hidden messages can add flair.

3. Using those skinny little stickers to title each SIDE of the tape. This one may not mean as much to those other than mixtape obsessives, but naming a SIDE is key. This was the place where hidden messages could be dropped without the recipient being 100% sure of the meaning behind it. Song lyrics are often a popular choice for SIDE titles. (Ex: SIDE A - "Wise is the tongue, wet of perfect thought" ; SIDE B - "Softest neck, where I lay my clumsy thoughts").

Yeah, that was how we got down. Sitting eye-to-eye with a stereo, pressing PLAY/REC, PAUSE, STOP, and REW like our libidos depended on it. Now it's simply a click and a drag?!? Hmph. A drag, indeed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

THE HOUSE BUNNY

Readers of this blog well know that I'm a devoted supporter of Anna Faris. Even in her lesser films (the Scary Movies, Smiley Face, Waiting...) she's still a doll, and in supporting roles she often overtakes top billing (Just Friends, My Super Ex-Girlfriend).

So, Obama...? McCain... ? Whatever. In 2008, I've had Faris on the mind. The House Bunny is her first mainstream vehicle and unlike most of this year's summer films, Faris defies the dog days of hype and - with the help of screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen Lutz - lifts The House Bunny up alongside You Don't Mess With The Zohan and Swing Vote as another winning social comedy that offers sweet sanctuary from the stupidity of the comic book movie onslaught.

Before The House Bunny began its run it had already had an impact on our culture. Busy parents passed by posters and TV teasers of this PG-13 comedy that had a Playboy bunny at its center. In times where Bratz are the new Barbie this probably wasn't much of a shock, but I'm sure hesitancy still reared its head when teen daughters asked mother & father to go see it. Brilliantly, however, The House Bunny plays off that always-be-sexy mentality and teaches young women a human lesson more useful than a tale of four girls that wear the same pair of pants.

In the end, sexy is nerdy and nerdy is sexy. Most importantly: you don't need to be an intellectual to live a significant life.

Faris' creation of Shelly subverts the dumb blond stereotype in two key instances where onlookers correct her vocabulary. In the first, one of Shelly's house girls (Kat Dennings) scoffs at her for saying "it feels like my heart is falling out of my brain" and in the second, a fellow house mother (Beverly D'Angelo) mocks Shelly for using the word "meteor" to describe a "metaphor". But in both moments - kind of like when Stan stops an episode of South Park to deliver the show's moral - Shelly calmly pacifies the attacker (and us, the giggly audience) by sensibly explaining her eccentric choice of words.

What's special about The House Bunny - headlighted by the heady and hilarious performance of Emma Stone as Natalie - is the middle ground that it takes on the winners of the college female playground. The film champions both the value of muted recluses and the flashiness of a sharply dressed top-to-bottom sorority girl. (The House Bunny achieves a feminism that Catherine Breillat is still looking for.)

It's telling that this type of social unity comes of as shocking nowadays. Critics pretend that they want this, but they don't. The often scoff at it, as when Peter Travers recently trashed Swing Vote for "not having the balls to choose sides". What a moron.

So what will Anna Faris do next? With Reese Witherspoon off losing too much weight, following Jake Gyllenahaal around, and squandering the promise she showed in comedies such as Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blond (also written by Smith and Lutz), Faris has been launched into her comedic leading shoes. She's only thirty-one and already knows the business. I say build that empire, Anna, build it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I JUST LOVE IT WHEN CLASSIC ACTION FILMS GET THEIR GENDER SPECIFIC SPIN OFFS

No word yet if Alpa Chino makes a cameo, but early buzz has the following actors attached: Timothy Bottoms, Brian Cox, Anson Mount, Olivia Hussey, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Richard Gere.



Monday, August 25, 2008

ON "OLD" DVD : HUKKLE (2002)

Hukkle is a foreign film in the truest sense of the word. Foreign to us in its unconventional style of storytelling, its rural-life pacing, and its perhaps impenetrable sense of humor. This debut from Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi would stand alone as an cinematic oddity in any country, but there is a certain central European sensibility around it that feels specific to the region. No, I've never been to that part of the world, but Hukkle doesn't bear the mark of American, French, or Asian influence like other modern imports commonly do.

Palfi and cinematographer Gergely Poharnok were given carte blanche to express themselves however they saw fit. The pair, fresh out of film school (Palfi was only 28 when the film was finished), come off like wunderkind geniuses ready to splash into the international scene, and with their meticulously crafted set-ups, camera tricks, and tracking shots they make a good show of it. But like many egoist filmmakers making their first time around the block, Hukkle oftentimes comes off as overly showy.

Granted, the story is bare, and I suppose one could argue that Hukkle is pure cinema experimentation, but if that's the case, Palfi didn't bring enough originality of vision to the table. Is he a quality filmmaker or simply a highly competent technician (Hi, David Fincher!)? It remains to be seen.

As for the story... well, on one fresh viewing I don't think I can be of much help. But I'll give you a map. Let's see. There is a recurring man on a bench that hiccups ("hukkle" is Hungarian for hiccup), vehicles of industry, close-ups of insects and foliage, gorgeous captures of plated food that rival the vivid, merging colors of pie and ice cream in My Blueberry Nights, a dead man, a dead cat, a pig, some pig farmers... all soundtracked to the crisp sounds of the environment these subjects are in. The only discernible dialogue comes at the end when we are treated to two gorgeous Hungarian folk songs.

Perhaps there is something central going on here. My hunch is that there is. Despite my inability to connect the dots, Hukkle is endlessly watchable. It's possible to be so mesmerized by the movement that you forget to pay attention to the subtext.

No doubt though that Gyorgy Palfi leaves you with an itch to keep your eyes affixed on him. In an era filled with many, he stands out. His latest film Taxidermia ran the festival circuit, and generated buzz with its absurdist scenes of competitive eating, obesity, taxidermy, a penis that shoots fire, and more. I've yet to see it, but in comparison, Hukkle seems gentle and sweet. (Tartan USA was supposed to release it before they went belly up early this year).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

MISTER FOE

Mister Foe gives our culture's fascination with the oedipal complex some new life in that it appears in the title character, Hallam, after the death of his mother. Based on the book of the same name, director David Mackenzie argues for a more specific explanation to Hallam's behavior. Namely, that the stirring physiological whirs of sexual self-discovery colliding with the grief from the loss of a mother functions as a perfect storm that sends Hallam huddling away in his tree house, donning face paint like an androgynous warrior and spying on various lovers.

This type of material seems ripe for a Larry Clark or Gus Van Sant type of teen perversity or old man peep show justified under the guise of "art film", but Mackenzie quickly moves beyond that when he establishes Hallam as young man emotionally frozen in time yet physically capable of surviving on his own. Missing is the baby face vulnerability and underwear-model pondering that Clark and Van Sant get off on. (Think about the casting for both director's films of late. They argue that it's a reach for naturalism, but I suspect it's more a fascination with newbie cuties.)

What drives Mister Foe is the lovable and natural performance of Jamie Bell. It's easy to take Bell for granted. We've grown to expect solid performances even when he appears in less than stellar films (his was the sole reason that made trudging through the only 90 minute Jumper, worth it). He has the instincts of a wise actor with the baggage of someone coming of age in the modern world. Veterans Maurice Roeves and Claire Forlani seem humbled in scenes with Bell, and even the intrinsically magnetic Ewan Bremner must fight for spotlight during their shared screen time.

Two years after the death of his mom, Hallam's father remarries. The new step-mother butts in and manipulates him into leaving the house, while Hallam starts suspecting her of tampering in his mother's demise. In public - looking for work, being resourceful, or getting out of trouble - Hallam is outgoing, charismatic, fearless. Yet alone, he recoils and clings to his mother's belongings as if he's working towards a final catharsis. Meanwhile, a young woman bearing a striking resemblance to his mother complicates things.

It's here where Mackenzie confronts some of Mister Foe's most interesting ideas yet also finds himself falling into spats of meandering downtime and confused intentions. The conflict resolution between Hallam and Kate (an adorable Sophia Myles) is too convenient and tidy. It betrays the complicated issues that Mackenzie intriguingly brought about to begin with. You get the sense that he doesn't quite know how to work his way though this but for only to rush to the films final end.

Mister Foe is a tween movie that doesn't exist between the pre and teenage years, but in that blurry period between graduation and working for a living. In its best moments, the film convincingly explores a psychological condition that oftentimes gets played-up for it's erotic aspects and not at trying to understand the origins of its forbidden impulses. Bell and Mackenzie should be congratulated for their attempt to stay human and thus reject the easy road of being "arty" and naughty.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

JUST A REMINDER

Oh yeah, honey... I'm on the prowl! Don't forget that I've been let out of my cage and am simultaneously guest blogging over at Lazy Eye Theater.

If you are feeling an urge to prematurely release your TOP 10 FILMS OF THE 00's, then come on over to Lazy Eye, cuz we're already partying like it's 2009. It's heating up in there so you might wanna get in your list now and join the fray.

WILL YOU LOVE ME MORE AS A 3 X 4?

J.D. over at Valley Dreaming tagged me for some self-introspective Flickr fun. Here's the rules:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

I'm very computer retarded and image upload illiterate, so I hope this works... but first my questions.

1. What is your first name?
Mark
2. What is your favourite food? Mexican
3. What high school did you go to? Clear Lake High School
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Sophia Bush
6. Favorite drink? Dr. Pepper
7. Dream vacation? Seoul, South Korea
8. Favorite dessert? My mom's boysenberry dessert.
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A paid writer.
10. What do you love most in life? My family.
11. One word to describe you. Huggable.
12. Your Flickr name. I don't have one.

Well there it is. I am it, it is me. I think the second column looks the most inviting.

Now go try it yourself!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

FEEDING THE ANIMALS

Right now, nothing makes me happier than watching Greg Gillis geek out in front of his laptop while a bunch of usually reluctant dancers go for theirs up on stage with him. F*ck Woodstock and all that noise... we've got GIRL TALK, bitches!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

JAIL-BAITING MORE CONTROVERSY

Haven't seen Hounddog yet. Don't imagine many people have. Like most "controversial" films (The Last Temptation of Christ, The Passion of the Christ, and erm... Tropic Thunder) much tends to be said before their release than after.

But the scuzzy buzz around Hounddog humbled even the most hardcore exploitation gonzo porn junkie. Why? Because the film contains a rape scene of a 12-year old. On top of that, the actress playing the 12-year old was Dakota Fanning. (Many of you may "pffft" but I like Dakota Fanning. I thought she was great in War of the Worlds, and I think she may be that rare child star that shines beyond her early years.)

So, next month, Hounddog will finally get a limited theater run. That explains the new poster above. Uh hum.... the VERY SUGGESTIVE AND CREEPY poster you see above. A snake slithering through her fingers?!? Not even Sam Dawson could miss the symbolism. The photo on the poster's bottom half ain't much better. It's suggestive of desperate, bayou country PWT prostitution.

Expect to hear more in the weeks to come....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

THE HOUSE BUNS

Yeah right! Y'all keep on wishing... it's just an interview. Anna isn't that type of girl. I love her cuz she's funny not cuz she's a cutie.

Anyway... there was a possibly disturbing piece of gossip that came out today about Anna being "forced" to go nude in The House Bunny:

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Scary Movie star Anna Faris was forced to break her no nudity clause for new film House Bunny after a series of "complicating factors" with a body double forced her to bare all. Faris made sure that her naked form was captured only from behind, but still calls the experience "humiliating".

She says, "It was my first nude scene and it wasn’t supposed to be me. I had a body double and we had some complicating factors with her. It was sort of a last minute thing, where I said, ‘I’ll just go ahead and do this.’ I was really uncomfortable. This crew that I’d been working with, that knows me when I put on my producer hat, suddenly sees me naked. It was really humiliating." (ContactMusic)

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The source for that little bit of info is ContactMusic (ie a TMZ.com-type gossip site with a "take us serious" web design as their facade), so I would be wary to believe that Faris was "forced" into doing a bare butt scene.

Since The House Bunny is pretty much her baby (she pitched the idea; she produced it) I find it hard to believe that Faris had to do something against her will.

We'll see if the story has any legs... and even if it does, go support Anna and her new movie this Friday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

NAKED (1993) : A MOVIE THAT WAS TRUE TO ITS TITLE

Commonly, a viewing of Mike Leigh's Naked will emit either a reaction of utter disgust or fawning obsession. I am in the latter category. My sister, my blood, my kin feels the exact opposite of me. She thinks it's one of the worst films ever made.

... we don't talk about it.

Because the film is so polarizing, I can understand the opposing view. Namely that Naked is "cynical", "bitter", "bleak", "misogynistic", "hateful". Obviously, I see it differently, because those are terms I often place upon films I dislike from our current nihilistic era.

To me, Naked is one of cinema's greatest expressions of misplaced human rage. Anger and frustration and regret rising up in a man so full to his throat that it can go nowhere except onto the shoes of the people around him.

How does Mike Leigh see Johnny (David Thewlis)? : "Johnny's an idealist, certainly not a cynic, which is how he's often portrayed."

Recently, in line with the British release of Naked on DVD, Mike Leigh and David Thewlis (who plays Johnny) spoke to the Guardian about the danger of the method acting in Naked; specifically about the street corner scene between Johnny and Archie (Ewen Bremner):

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"Mike told me to hang round the church steps and then an actor - he didn't say who - would turn up," recalls Thewlis down the line from LA. "When Ewan came along, I didn't recognise him - it was before he was in Trainspotting. He was speaking in this impenetrable Scottish accent. He might have been an actor, but he might have just been an annoying Scotsman. I just followed the motivation of the character." Even if it involved stabbing someone with a sharpened screwdriver? "Yeah. Most of you is really engrossed in what the character would do. " How did you get the screwdriver? "I'd stolen it in character as Johnny."

Mike Leigh, sitting in his panelled office in Soho, remembers the fight differently. "I was standing across the street. Ewan was wandering around shouting, 'Maggie! Maggie!' because Archie was looking for his friend. Somebody leaned out of a window and told him to quiet down and he, in character, told them to fuck off.

"When the police arrived, I went over and said: 'I'm a director and we're making a film.' The officer asked where the camera was. I said we were improvising, and he wasn't convinced. So we had to take him back to our office and get others to corroborate the story." You stopped the improvisation? "I always do if there's a chance of violence - or if two characters are going to fuck." (Guardian)
---

That is a scary and risky practice. It's the kind of technique that begs the disclaimer, "DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME". But Leigh is no sensationalist. Despite his morose reputation, there is nothing else in Leigh's body of work like Naked.

In fact, there is peace in Johnny's eyes when he shares a moment with his ex-girlfriend Louise. She's the one person who can humble him, shrink that intellectual power of his down to a paper-thin shield.

Aided by the score, and classic last shot, Naked ends ominously. But Johnny's story is one that cannot end. That's why Leigh cuts to black. You take it with you. To be continued... Johnny as optimist??? I don't if Mike Leigh would go that far. But maybe I could.

... FOR THE OTHER GUY

I'm guest blogging over at Lazy Eye Theater right now, so please go over there for more fun after you get your kicks here.

But, please don't forget about this haunt! I will be blogging at both places equally.

So, for the guy that keeps sending me fan mail... well, you're in heaven now buddy!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

TROPIC THUNDER

It's quite possible that the new surefire way of nabbing an Oscar nomination will be to put on clown make-up, flick your tongue around, and sneer in a breathy, nasally voice. With comic book movies having now entered into the arena of serious critical conversation because of the high praise given Iron Man and The Dark Knight, actors craving Academy acknowledgment may begin lobbying hard for that annual role of hysterical blockbuster villain. Heath Ledger's The Joker was fine, but the instant nominee status he was anointed with - assisted by his unfortunate death, no doubt - is another sign that our standards have lowered. (Josh Peck's barely noticed performance in The Wackness is ten times deeper and studied than Ledger's yet nobody will whisper about it come January).

So it's absolutely perfect that Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder got its emphatic release near the end of the 2008 summer season. The characters of Robert Downey Jr.'s Kirk Lazarus - who undergoes skin pigmentation surgery in order to nab a sixth Oscar -, and Ben Stiller's Tugg Speedman - who went "full retard" in a previous film in an attempt to nab his first - spoofs the Hollywood acting tenet that physical transformation and body contortion denote quality acting (Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan anyone???). Further, it's almost a backwards blessing that the hype leading up to Tropic Thunder focused on the silly controversies surrounding these two characters, because audiences will now enter theaters unaware of the blindside coming from the summer's smartest film.

Modern Hollywood misspends a lot of its time trying to spoon feed the public with its chalkboard philosophy on a variety of social, political, and global issues as if we don't live in the world ourselves. In fact, the film goer's experiences as middle-class citizens give us a more insightful view of the world than some segregated sweetie livin' large in the Hollywood Hills. Think of Elia Kazan's On The Waterfront, Vincent Minnelli's Some Came Running, or Martin Ritt's Norma Rae; these were "issue films" that empathized with the audience, understood them. Now compare the minds behind those films with the dudes behind the soapbox propaganda of the "Oscar-worthy" Michael Clayton and it's off-the-charts embarrassing where we currently stand.

Tropic Thunder's screenwriters Justin Theroux, Etan Cohen, and Ben Stiller understand the disconnect that is growing between Hollywood and the public and have decided to clean house by turning a high-powered hose on the industry and community they know all too well. From Matthew McConaughey's multi-tasking PDA obsessed agent that gets in rounds of Wii tennis during negotiations, to Jay Baruchel's all-too-close-to home character that's just excited to be in a Tugg Speedman box office smash so he can finally get laid ("isn't that that Reed Fish guy?"), Tropic Thunder's jokes and jabs come so furiously as if Theroux, Cohen, and Stiller have been patiently waiting for this opportunity to unload.

But Tropic Thunder's greatest achievements lie in Tom Cruise's movie mogul Les Grossman and Brandon Jackson's hip-hop superstar turned movie actor, Alpa Chino.

Perhaps channeling anger stowed away after his clash with Sumner Redstone and Paramount, Cruise pushes the hairy-chested Hollywood Jew stereotype to its most extreme limits. But it isn't the ethnic angle that works here, it's Cruise's portrayal of Grossman as a tyrannical mad man that slams Diet Cokes and yells first then asks questions later. (After cussing out someone on the other end of the phone, Grossman hangs up and tells his assistant, "Find out who that was.") Stiller shoots Grossman carrying out contract talks at his desk like he's hovering over a map in a D.O.D. war room, and in one of Tropical Thunder's strongest moments, he gets Cruise to freestyle dance along to Ludacris' braggadocio statement "Get Back". With his big cock walk and gold chain that flaunts a five pound "$" emblem, this absurd moment sums up the movie business in one swoop.

Brandon Jackson's Alpa Chino character might be the film's most revelatory. Though Stiller and company only skim over it, hip-hop culture's under-the-rug brushing of artist's homosexuality is an issue nobody's been brave enough to address yet. In Tropic Thunder, Alpa Chino overcompensates for his true desires by pimping energy drinks and snack bars called Booty Sweat and Bust-A-Nut, but when the group of actors talk love lives by the campfire, Alpa comes clean about feelings for his friend Lance. Quickly he dismisses it, but by films end Alpa gets his man, and hopefully, we've gotten a preview of a beginning to the end of the understood "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the mainstream hip-hop community.

Perhaps the best film about the film industry since The Player, Tropic Thunder may go down alongside it, Sunset Blvd., and The Bad and The Beautiful as classics that coordinate damning and painfully accurate inside jobs. If by Oscar nomination time Tropic Thunder gets recognized in one way or another, then maybe we'll know that the film industry was finally listening. But probably we'll just hear about Heath Ledger some more... and Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett (again).

Friday, August 15, 2008

HAT TRICK

Thanks to an excited message from my pal Chris, I'm now aware of the November 2008 releases for Criterion, and boy are they great... I dare say 11/08 may be the best month Criterion has had since they first dotted Grand Illusion's spine with a 1 way back when.

Check it:



I've become very conservative with my DVD purchases of late. In fact, the only one I've bought, this year, was a $7.99 copy of Nashville from Borders. I'm glad I practiced restraint, because in November my DVD consumption is going to rise 300% with these undeniable classics.

[NOTE: There is a fourth film being released in November that I've never heard of. So it could be an even sweeter month for you if you bop on over to Criterion's site and like what you see.]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

HEADLINE OF THE DECADE

---
NEWS FLASH:
'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' Bumped to Summer 2009
---

Thank GOD! A year without another goddamn Harry Potter movie is a year worth remembering.

(As I say that, the Twilight dorks are already lining up for the beginning of their own book-series-turned-into-a-movie-a-year phenomenon. Thanks a lot, Peter Jackson...)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

STUPID NETFLIX! : CRITTERS (1986)

Sometimes Netflix messes with us... they know it, we know it, it's just one of those understood "you're screwed" situations.

So when you got no Netflix you go to the video store! I love the video store. If it was cheaper than Netflix I would just use it 100% of the time. Picking up a VHS or DVD box off the shelf beats a little generic white sleeve any day.

I'd never seen Critters, so ... what the hell?

It had:

Nostalgia.

Cool...

Special...

Effects... (where has all this good stuff gone???)



Surprisingly, Critters was pretty artfully shot...

Check out the cool composition... the blues, pinks, and whites....

But this shot is my favorite. M. Emmet Walsh gets a call from his secretary, and it's framed to look like he's talking to the Dolly Parton 9 to 5 clipping underneath the lamp. (The picture is small, but she's on the phone in it... those witty critters!)



WHOA!... I haven't even shown any of the critters yet!!!

This one cops-a-feel on the Justine Bateman lookalike...

This one looks like he's humping the stairs... (see his bangs sticking up as if he's climaxing??)

And this one became BFF with E.T. ...

"Dude, I'm E.T., who the hell are YOU?!?!?!"


END