Ben Gazzara – Mr. Treehorn draws a lot of water in this town. Produced Logjammin.
Levon Helm – Up on Cripple Creek
Tony Scott – “You’re a cantaloupe!”
Sherman Hemsley – Movin’ on up!
Andy Griffith – Lonesome Rhodes
Bill Hinzman – Night of the Dead [Living] Dead
Frank Pierson – “Sal? Ready to go?”
Charles Durning – Every dog has his day…
Phyllis Diller – Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse
Ray Bradbury – ebooks can’t burn him.
Tonino Guerra – Antonioni films weren’t exactly chock full of dialogue anyway.
Jack Klugman – Odd man out.
Larry Hagman – Kristin Shepard shot him.
Davey Jones – No more monkeying around.
Dick Clark – Seacrest out!
Happy New Year 2013!
Writer/Director/Actor Quentin Tarantino is so full of himself and his eclectic influences that it obviously translates itself into his movies – and Django Unchained is no different. Now I didn’t know much going into Django, other than that Jamie Foxx is a slave and kills white folks down south, so I expected no less then the previous juvenile and offensive Inglourious Basterds – which was at least more than my Mom, who thought it was about Django Reinhardt.
I’ve hoped this revisionist/mashup kick that QT has been on for more than a decade is just a passing phase, since the only thing keeping his shallow movies fresh is the ever expanding pool of actors who continue to give great performances and know exactly how to deliver his idiosyncratic script dialogue (better so than himself) – the only original facet left in his productions.
Also, I get that Quentin is being Leonesque with his epic movie lengths but this one drags even more so, perhaps since it’s his first film without editor Sally Menke. With the overkill Peckinpah slow mo, not to mention almost all of Leo DiCaprio’s performance – which is drawn out over an hour tour of Candy Land – we still don’t even make it to the Peppermint Forest or Ice Cream Sea.
I guess I hold Quentin to a higher standard after his first two movies in some ways defined a new generation of the writer/director, but it seems P.T. Anderson and The Coen Brothers are the only mainstream ones that are at least evolving and striving for some semblance of profundity and not just silly entertainment. Then again maybe it’s just a sign of the times, I mean next year we got Grown Ups 2.
The title Zero Dark Thirty is military jargon for 30 minutes after midnight which is about the time the raid on the Osama Bin Laden compound was initiated by the Navy Seals/DEVGRU – but it took well over two hours to get to this incendiary point in the movie as Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal first had to subject us to the oft seen cliche character of the smart, hard nosed, obsessive CIA agent who is determined to move heaven and earth, come hell or high water, to complete their mission and task of obtaining justice. While the depiction of the interrogation torture scenes are stirring all the controversy surrounding this movie, frankly I’m more tortured by the way Jessica Chastain’s performances continue to get so many accolades when this time around all she does is intensely stare at fucking computer screens – her one breakout moment being when she confronts her boss (Joseph Bradley) in the corridors of Langley which is terribly trite and predictable given that her reasoning is “a lot of my friends have died trying to do this, and I believe I was left here to finish it” or even better, later on, “I’m the motherfucker that found him”.
Now I don’t want to get into a pissing match with other bloggers out there like I did with Argo, so I’m not going to get into the accuracy and the degree of dramatic license of the Chastain character and how they portray her to single handedly find the most wanted man on the planet, but I will say that the dichotomy between the pursuit of Bin Laden and the seemingly accurate reenactment of the killing of Bin Laden is somewhat puzzling to me. It felt as though the climax had absolutely nothing to do with Chastain’s character at that point, especially when they occasionally cut to her nail biting reaction during the raid.
That’s probably why I enjoyed the night vision Navy Seals sequence and regret that it wasn’t more about their mission and preparation, I mean Chris Pratt did do all that work to get in good shape for it. But why cast Mark Duplass and James Gandolfini in such thankless minor roles? At least they have speaking parts unlike Ricky Sekhon who gets to play dead as Bin Laden! Still, Bigelow must be commended for her direction (and Alexandre Desplat score) though I feel it covers somewhat of the same terrain as her previous film, The Hurtlocker, and hope that she moves on to greener pastures. But James Gandolfini may get there before her.
( The Muppet Movie 2012)
The obvious inherent problem with prequels, specifically one so well read, is that we already know the eventual outcome – thereby lacking any kind of suspense. Worse, is the expected and accepted m.o. nowadays to milk every saga, and force the public (nerds) once again to fork over their dollars. But what insults me most is that this time around we really just needed one movie, not another fucking trilogy! In this case even Tolkien said as much, that it’s a single novel. And that’s coming from the pioneer who revised and cashed in on his forthcoming trilogy. Maybe if they cut out the lame preface, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, and Hugo Weaving cameos they wouldn’t have to make up for the budget with the price of two more movies.
But let me just cut to the chase, my problem with Peter Jackson’s much anticipated, The Hobbit, is that it spends way too much time on dwarf character development – from them eating and singing, to shitting and group circle jerks, when really it’s just Bilbo and Gollum that I came to see.
So the fact that it took two hours to see only fifteen minutes of the two is a capitol crime. And now that the next two installments will no longer have Gollum in them I may just tune out. But…Fuck! I really like Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins! So I guess I just might have to endure more fucking closeups of Ian McKellen’s sad eyes and stupid all knowing grins, ugh!
Speaking of all knowing, I thought I was paying to see this presented in the much ballyhooed IMAX HFR 3D 48fps, but to my chagrin I found out afterwards that it was only playing in another IMAX theater and that my vision was instead blurred by how long the movie was. Leaving me further pissed that I also missed the new 9 minute Star Trek Into the Darkness trailer which was only shown in that faux IMAX theater too. So maybe I don’t know shit after all.
A few weeks before Skyfall was released I bought the complete James Bond series on Blu Ray, which is by far one of the coolest packaged box sets yet – sleek and slim, with handsome slipcases for each individual disc laid in chronological order corresponding with a picture of each movie’s associated Bond Girl. With a space cleverly left empty for this upcoming movie, I noticed that there was no accompanying picture alongside the slot which made me wonder…only to soon realize after seeing Skyfall that the Bond Girl this time around is not the usual sexy, no name actress, but the frumpy lame dame Judi Dench! Of course Bond didn’t shag her, but who would’ve guessed he had a mommy complex?
Then again, there was a lot of Bond’s character and childhood revealed, along with introductions to Miss. Moneypenny and Q, that set this movie apart from the majority of others – and in turn makes it uniquely better. Of course it helps to have top-notch director Sam Mendes, and an artist like Roger Deakins as the DP to shoot stunning silhouettes in Shanghai and combat scenes through ice, water, and fire – unlike the usual hacks that they hire.
While Daniel Craig stunts are impressive the most outlandish feat is how he runs so fast in those flat shoes – jumping atop from one train car to the next.
But it’s the cat and mouse game between Bond and the villainous and flirtatious Javier Bardem that is really impressive – combining his charm from Vicky Christina Barcelona with a hair cut that rivals his No Country for Old Men, with the worst bite since Jaws.
Though with the technology and foresight to hack, relocate, and destroy British Secret Service I was hoping to see a subterranean lair made up in Lex Luthor fashion too.
Other than the minor foible of a weak opening credit montage and a 143-minute running time that put 2nd place Nobel Peace Blogging Award winner James Franco to sleep, I was wide awake in this long days journey into night that fits the puzzle of the innocence lost like what Rosebud was for Kane as Skyfall is for Bond.
In case you didn’t know, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. And Steven Spielberg’s latest turd is here to tell all you kind folks out there how it all came to pass. But I’m here to tell you’s otherwise and just how Spielberg transformed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Team of Rivals from a fascinating book about the formation of Lincoln’s administration, and how he had the uncanny ability to delegate the various responsibilities to his formidable contentious cabinet members during the crisis of the Civil War, into a fucking children’s book about the fight for freedom for all mankind. Gross.
Now I’m definitely not saying I advocate slavery but aren’t we all still enslaved by the almighty dollar? Or at least by T.V. anyway. I mean, don’t even get me started about the shenanigans going on over Breaking Amish! While Daniel Day Lewis looks the part, talks the part, feels the part, but is not tall enough for the part, Spielberg deftly manages to Gandalfize him whereby cutting short the height of tables, chairs, doors, and Sally Fields’ legs – who is the epitome of the nagging fugly wife and gives General Petraeus wife a run for her money. Perhaps taking the Whig party too literal, the best prop goes to Tommy Lee Jones’ head rug while the rest of the cast proves to be the ugliest Hollywood crowd hem hawing like a bunch of kids playing with judge hammers.
Given that I’m a Lincolnite, (my handle is Honestabel if you haven’t noticed) as every time I walk by the Cooper Union building in New York City I never fail to salute and acknowledge that this was the place where he stood and coined the phrase “right makes might”, I was really looking forward to this movie to be right – but I had trepidations knowing that Spielberg has a tendency to schmaltz things up and appeal to the worst angels of my nature. This is definitely not one for the ages.