Monthly Archives: September 2010

You Will Be Bored.

“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”-Shakespeare

So begins Woody Allen’s 5th European set film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, narrated by some village idiot and leftover cast. And if that’s not a set up line open to ridicule and interpretation regarding this movie…Yes, I know that ultimately we are all idiots – I mean even Dostoyevsky and Greenday have come to that conclusion, and Tolstoy did say, “The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.” But how about having a few laughs before we check out, Woody? I mean I love your movies “especially your early funny ones”.

But Stardust Memories was many moons ago, and now we are reduced to a series of minor melodramas based on loosely formed, half-baked ideas with no real resolution. Such as Writer (Josh Brolin) with writer’s block who steals recently dead writers unread manuscript and falls in love with the rear window, lady in red Neighbor (Freida Pinto) or the rehashed tale of a viagra popping Old Man (Anthony Hopkins) who divorces his wife of decades and marries a young bombshell Hooker (Lucy Punch) realizing he’s made a mistake and wants to go back to his wrinkly saggy titted ex-wife (Gemma Jones) who since has resorted to following a quack fortune teller’s advice leaving her miserably married Daughter (Naomi Watts) hopeless who falls in love with her miserably married boss (Antonio Banderas). So much for the “sound and the fury”. Faulkner attributed the title to the decline and death of a traditional upper-class Southern family and whereas Woody to the foibles of a bunch of self-centered neurotic Brits who’s only hope of redemption or salvation at this point is to go to “Jazz Heaven”.

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Catfish (De)Bait (Spoilers)

“Gin a body catch a body, comin’ through the rye”-J.D. Salinger

Just as Holden Caufield mishears and misinterprets Robert Burns poem, filmmakers, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, also try to attempt to metaphorically hook the title of Catfish by attributing it to some borderline retardo husband, who flippantly and anecdotally relates how catfish are employed to help keep cod fresh, to how artists’ need to be coddled, protected, and enabled by somebody. Pretty much like Kathy Bates in Misery, “Mr. Man” is Nev Schulman.

Fake as her Facebook profile pics were, this Catfish’s art was so terrible she even had to pass it off as her 5 year old’s! If Holden Caufield were around, considering his biggest pet peeve is phoniness, he would have dragged Angela out of the field of rye and thrown her fat ass off that fucking cliff! I have more respect for the Craigslist killer.

Besides the extreme cost of living and bedbugs running rampant, one of the many benefits of living in NYC is going on opening nights and hearing a short Q & A from the director, Schulman and producer, Andrew Jarecki afterwards.

Most of the questions hurled at them were about the validity of the movie and the true depiction of the characters (which is understandable considering how they/the distributors marketed the movie as a thriller with it’s Blair Witch like trailers) but they feigned innocence in one of the many deceptions surrounding this movie, and I call it a movie rather than documentary because of this. I mean, it certainly was entertaining watching a Facebook romance blossom between a very likable NYC photographer and a sexy singer/songwriter/horse whisperer from Ishpeming, Michigan, but unless you were born in the 1800s and are naive enough to believe people don’t represent themselves as they really are in cyberspace, Catfish is not enlightening like a documentary should aspire to. As for the real cancer free painter Angela, who substituted romance novels for Facebook and a snapshot happy dancers’ photographer to a fish loving father and his knuckleheaded retarded children, she will most likely profit from this movie for selling her artwork in which the filmmakers adamantly stressed is good to sort of somehow justify their expose. But I’ll pass on purchasing her spit & hair laden paintings and just recommend this movie for those who never got a chance to Shoot the Freak at the recently demolished old Coney Island.

Hopefully Nev Schulman will at least videochat next time or blame Facebook creators and see Social Network opening night with me! Holden’s final words were, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” That was over 50 years ago, now it’s more like, “Don’t ever Friend anybody anything….”

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The Town’s Biggest Butthead

“It’s a town full of losers. And I’m pulling out of here to win.”-Born to Run

The Town‘s “critically” acclaimed director, Ben Affleck, earned enough praise from his Gone Baby Gone debut that this time around he’s confident enough to add a co-writer and lead actor cred too. Set in blue-collar Charlestown, Massachusetts, the “bank robbery capital of America” you’d think these bankers and FBI agents would have had surveillance or some better locks (it’s called kryptonite!) or that these gangsters would have to be a team of Ocean 11 charmers. Alas, no. The film starts off with habit masked trick or treaters, douche-bag Dougy MacRay (Ben Affleck), a reborn recovering alcoholic/drug abuser and “mastermind,” and homeboy, wildcard Jem Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), holding up and pointlessly kidnapping “toonie” bank teller, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), who upon her release is questioned by pretty boy FBI agent, Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm). Which poses threat to these townies when they find that in this one square mile town Claire lives around the corner. So Dougy decides to creep and ask Claire out to after taking pity on her crying in a laundromat over some blood stains.

Nothing like a Dunkin Donuts to charm the pants off a girl eh? Followed by a series of  confessions about tortured pasts, “My mother left…,” “My Brother died,” these two skip the small talk and fall fast as Dougy is inspired by her volunteer gardening and assistant teaching to give up the robbing business for good.

Ben admits to wanting to do this script so that he could play the part, but picked the most pathetic of them and is out-shined by Rener who proves he can act outside The Hurtlocker, and John Hamm, who plays Don Drapper, showing no sympathy for anyone and doing whatever it takes to take down these ruffians. Even Blake Lively, who Ben wanted to “give the opportunity to surprise people as a talented actress,” adds a Boston accent to her skank whore role from Gossip Girl, to Ben’s lap. But other than that and some good car chases these Boston track suit wearing townies are leaving a story as dull as it’s title.

“Uh oh B. This just in; life isn’t a fairy tale, and happy endings are few and far between. Forget a grand entrance – Everyone knows that it’s the exit they’ll remember. XOXO” – Gossip Girl

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Joaquin The Line

Humor is tragedy plus time – Mark Twain

In one of many Joaquin Phoenix’s epiphanies throughout, he questions, “Is it that the dream is unattainable or is that it’s just the wrong dream?” Only time will tell if this is the wrong mockumentary directed by Casey Affleck and is still humorous and entertaining in a year from now – or at least until the DVD release in a few months. Nevertheless, the movie chronicles the tumultuous life of two time Academy Award Nominee, Joaquin Phoenix, following his decision to abruptly retire from acting so as to stop being a high paid “fucking puppet” millionaire and express his true artistry in Hip Hop form, where all music is sampled and has produced nothing innovative in the last 25 years and counting, just as one can say for mockumentaries since This Is Spinal Tap.

Along this magical mystery tour (another misguided movie that went nowhere) is his seemingly dopey peon assistant, Antony Langdon, who gets shit on by Phoenix throughout the movie until he gets what you would call the last laugh. (But I wasn’t laughing, because like the rest of the movie seeing is not necessarily believing.) And P. Diddy, who Joaquin stalks to produce his album.

If only the media didn’t spill the beans two years ago, I might buy it. Which is sadly their defeat as they try to salvage the film and address accusations of this prank. Suddenly “They’re Going to Kill Us Productions” should be “Don’t Flatter Yourself Productions”. But I can’t say I wasn’t entertained by Phoenix’s Andy Kaufmanesque like performance art and his nomadic lifestyle with his free association musings and ramblings from the plight of bees to the entrapment of celebritydom, and hookers – everything but brother River Phoenix’s tragic death nor his other family members who are understandably absent including, maybe, even his father according to credits, who appears briefly, which is a dead giveaway for it being nothing but an elaborate and impressive hoax to stir the majority of the hungry gossiping public and media, like Roger Ebert. In his thumbs up review he empathizes with this tortuous soul but also says he will be seriously pissed if it turn out to be a hoax.

(“I’m a thief and I dig it!”)

So if their is sustaining humor to be found in this tragedy of his “lost years” than it would be that Casey Affleck is charged with sexually harassing the producer and DP and turns out to be the real lost cause and the one with the bad career move. If the filmmakers had any balls they would save that for the dvd outtakes. So will the real Phat Joaquin please stand up? Maybe he will in his upcoming movie “The Raven” or on Letterman this Friday.

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National Lampoon’s The American Vacation

“You’re an American, you think you can escape history. You live for the present.” – The American

The occasions which leave you proud to be an American these days are few and far between. I only wish in this case I could’ve escaped history to forget about the wasted hours on this ho-hum character study of Renaissance Man, George Clooney. Talk about false advertising! Minus one lousy car chase, every action and piece of dialogue is scrunched into this 53 second trailer.

As you see, Assassin, Mr. Butterfly (Clooney), is the target of some other assassins who nearly assassinate him but in turn he assassinates them instead, and then lays low for his last job in a bucolic hillside Italian village to construct a gun for some mysterious woman, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), who is also planning to assassinate somebody soon. Sounds action packed? But as it turns out Clooney is quite the procrastinator as he seems to kill most of his time doing push/pull ups, competing about his sins with Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli), watching Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West”, and fornicating with a local hooker, Clara (Violante Placido).

It’s apparent that Clooney’s reasons to sign on for this script (I can’t imagine anyone reading the 436 page novel from which it’s adapted) was to fondle titties of the hottest snow white looking prostitute and to lounge around Italy in a contemplative mood bordering on pseudo zen mechanics coming off as the wimpiest hit man. I mean Luca Brasi would make a meal out of him and I’m even more intimidated by Mr. Pink, speaking of which, I hope Steve Buscemi don’t pussyfoot around like Clooney in the upcoming Scorsese production of Boardwalk Empire.


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