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My Spidey Sense

I know some of you out there will think I’m jaded but if it were not for love birds Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man would be totally unwatchable. Granted, they may not be as glamorous as Liz and Dick but at least they don’t make you want to barf like Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. But enough of that mushy stuff, as the movie was pretty much just a rehash that brought nothing new or exciting to the Stan Lee Spider-Man franchise, except proof that Garfield is more suited for Spidey than Tobey Maguire – who was rather more convincing playing an awkward homo in The Wonder Boys. Emma is delightful as usual and it’s obvious why Jim Carrey is infatuated.

As for the rest of the cast, I actually forgot Denis Leary was Denis Leary…so, too bad he dies. Martin Sheen and Sally Field are there for the hefty paychecks as Martin tries to make up for his fuck up of a Son by nagging Garfield with countless speeches on good morality. While Garfield mumbles to himself and shoots villains in the crotch, the over theatrical arch villain, a bloated bipedal lizard on steroids, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) fits right in with the West Side Story sound stage set design, with his tears streaming to the tempo of the corny ass soundtrack by James Horner from Titanic. Who would have thought you could do worse than Celine Dion?

As the 3D probably concluded a total of 3 minutes, I’m convinced the only reason why Director Marc Webb got the job was for his last name. I guess there are two kinds of fans, Spider-Man and Batman. I obviously prefer The Dark Knight and await in eager anticipation. In fact, I already Fandangoed the fucker and now all I have to worry about is getting good seats – unlike these two old Broads that sat down in a little Boy’s saved seats for his Parents who went to go get him popcorn. More exciting than the movie itself was the confrontation that followed – like none I’ve ever witnessed in all my movie going years. Suffice to say the Parents had to call Management when the old bats refused to move, but not until the entire sold out theater starting chanting “Get up, Get up” did they stand. And I thought Spider-Man was for kids.

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Marky Mark and the Stuffed Ted

I had let go of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy when it had it’s second return with American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, monopolizing adult cartoons and becoming the highest paid TV writer and merchandise sell-out in Hot Topic and touristy t-shirt shops. All the while using the same crude schtick from his College Thesis, The Life of Larry. Hypocritical I know, since I haven’t done jack shit since my College days except for these same ripping posts, but in my defense – I don’t get paid let alone have any readers to give site stickers to. So when I first saw the trailers for Ted I was a bit apprehensive of another bromance riff movie. But who would have guessed that what would separate this apart from the Hangover bunch or this years 21 Jump Street would be Mark Wahlberg and a Motion Capture CGI Teddy Bear.

Mark seems to have flourished as a comedic actor since talking to plants in The Happening, though perhaps inadvertently with The Other Guys and as a Bostonite Meathead in The Departed as Sargent Dignam or when he was Dirk Diggler and dropped his pants. And perhaps he took Andy Samberg’s SNL mockery of Mark Wahlberg talks to Animals skit to heart a little too far as he signed on to a talking bear movie before ever watching any of Seth MacFarlane’s work. But like his Marky Mark stardom I’m pretty sure most of Wahlberg’s success has for the most part all been an accident…I mean who’d of thought it possible to get through the backdoor to Hollywood by being the younger brother of one of The New Kids on the Block would amount to this? An utterly convincing portrayal of an arrested developed 35 year old stoner who has to question whether to live with Mila Kunis or his talking stuffed Teddy Bear. Now that takes some doing.

Like most MacFarlane works it’s saturated with pop culture references to the point of overkill. I mean if you thought the Flash Gordon bit was getting old the Taylor Lautner joke was already dead. But the longest lasting joke, other than just plain growing up and facing responsibilities, will be the everlasting love of the Stalker, Giovanni Ribisi, who kidnaps Ted for his kid and his obsession with Tiffany.

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Ancient Rome

Going to see To Rome with Love with the geriatric New York crowd is like going to an old age home where they laugh aloud at the corniest fucking two-bit Comedians who entertain their humdrum life. Sadly in this case the Comic in question is my dear Woody Allen (one of my personal heroes). Once long ago it was funny to watch the Woodman whine and complain, chalking it up to being just a neurotic New Yorker – where as now he just reminds me of my annoying Grandparents and every other condescending old fart who thinks by reading The Times and listening to NPR they are entitled some opinion on today’s modern society and pop culture trends. Combine those opiate of the masses with Woody’s latest inspiration, Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, and waste the price of a ticket at the dumpiest theater in New York City, The Angelika. (But what do you expect when most old fogey’s pay for HD TVs and Cable when they haven’t even a clue what the fuck an HDMI cable is?) I of course have never read the 14th-century medieval allegory and admit – never heard of it. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy analyzing and deconstructing Fifty Shades of Grey for a course I’m teaching together with Marshall McLuhan at Columbia called TV Media, and Culture.

Anyway, as usual the star studded cast waived their A-list fee to have a chance to work with Woody. But unfortunately their only consolation is kicking it in Rome for a few weeks on the company’s dime because their performances left for posterity are too painful to credit or watch. Specially the doomed fatal love story between architect student Jesse Eisenberg and name dropping freeloader Juno – whom is cast as a beguiling and intriguing tortured artist when all she’s really playing is her usual know-it-all skank-ass self. Still the most unbearable bit is Roberto Benigni who is reduced to being a symbol and commentary for Woody’s notion of the fickleness and vacuous of modern tabloid celebritydom, which is far from irreverent and instead just plain retarded.

The other unfunny story line is Woody’s – who, as a retired music agent, discovers a Mortician’s hidden talent to sing pitch perfect Opera in a shower!! Now isn’t that just a hoot? Well it was to the old fossils sitting behind me who were still laughing as Fabio Armiliato was sudsing it up well into the third act.

There are other vignettes to top off this shit show but if I told you the premise you wouldn’t believe me…like that Woman who gets lost in Rome looking for a hair salon…nevermind. As Woody makes a pathetic attempt to bookend the movie with a narrating Traffic Cop I only found myself wishing he’d be run over by a fucking Vespa! I know I should respect my elders but when in Rome these Geezers belong in the Catacombs.

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Prometheus vs. Nostromo

Until a recent Google search of Greek Mythology I never knew that Aristophanes coined the phrase “pedagogic pederasty” or to use the parlance of our times, “doing it the Greek way.” I also discovered that “Prometheus” is a: “Titan, culture hero, and trickster figure who is credited with the creation of man from clay and the theft of fire for human use, an act that enabled progress and civilization. He is known for his intelligence, and as a champion of mankind.” Whereas the spaceship in Alien, Nostromo, means “shipmate” in Italian. Therein lies the idealogical difference between then and this new lofty prequel, Prometheus. Truck Drivers in space vs. Theologians in space, Horror vs. Sci-fi, or Sigourney vs. Noomi. And even though Prometheus should be compared on it’s own merits the similarities are so similar that it is seemingly obvious that it was by the same director, Ridley Scott. That said, I wish this movie was even longer than it’s 2 1/2 hour running time because I was totally into this flick and wanted to know more about these one dimensional characters in this H.R. Giger world.

Starting with Noomi Rapace, with her ripped abs and an unperturbed voice, who unlike all these other butch damsel heroes still retains her femininity. Sparking interest from Michael Fassbender, an Android as androgynous as David Bowie, but comes off more human and a lot like some people I know – backstabbing pompous know-it-alls.

Once again, my favorite Charlize Theron puts in another killer cold bitch performance to the point where one suspects she’s a fucking Android too. That is, until you find out she’s the Daughter of raisin faced Guy Pearce, who is wasted under prosthetics and make up. They should of just casted a real old man on his last legs, like Kirk Douglas or Fidel Castro. As for the rest of the crew – they were either Geologist, Biologist, Engineers, or just plain Alien bait.

But the real bait is how Ridley and the writers coax you into thinking that this quest for Man’s origin will be revelatory, stemming from and enticing you with identical patterns of planets imbedded in ancient cave paintings and scriptures. But the only revelation is a possibility of another sequel in which Lost writer, Damon Lindelof, will have to come up with an explanation more absurd then that stupid fucking show or Cowboys vs. Aliens. Unless of course they abstract out like 2001: A Space Odyssey. So if there is sequel trying to explain shit it might just completely negate the power of this film. Me, I’m sticking with Darwin in that we spawned from fucking monkeys.

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Snow Patrol

I don’t know exactly how many movies are based upon The Brother Grimms’ Fairy Tales first published in 1812, but it’s safe to say that billions of people over the years have enjoyed the many adaptations and incarnations…except maybe the most recent Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts and last year’s Red Riding Hood which currently holds an 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes! It’s ironic that both actress came to prominence playing street whores but at least Charlize’s was a serial killer on top of it and could fucking act! Speaking of acting, I know there is quite a debate amongst us Cinephiles on whether Kristen Stewart can act or let alone have any other facial expression besides this-
But to me poo face Kristen Stewart’s pulls off playing Snow White, english accent and all. Specially with her speech to rallying up the troops and CGI dwarfs to overthrow the Queen’s empire and to reclaim her childhood castle. I’m not saying it was on par with Brando’s speech as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar but it was convincing enough for this better than average fairy tale movie, Snow White and the Huntsman. As for the Huntsman, Chris Hemsworth, as usual he is beefy and goofy yet lovable and with a bad case of blue balls throughout the movie even though it had a happy ending.

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Bad Moon Rising

In the current pantheon of film directors, I used to think that there was no one as obnoxious and egotistical than Quentin Tarantino, but at least when he’s not spitting on the press he manages to still throw in a few surprises – whereas Wes Anderson has stagnated in the same pretentious white bread cornball storybook shit that he tries to pass off as whimsical and poetic (excluding Fantastic Mr. Fox-thanks to the pure imagination of Roald Dahl). So in his latest ever so precious artistic endeavor, Moonrise Kingdom, we are once again subjected to the same dysfunctional misunderstood lovestruck heartbroken characters that communicate with each other in soundbites bordering on autistic retardation.

The star studded cast comprised of Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Frances McDormand, and of course Bill Murray are wasted and play second fiddle to the no name kids that populate the movie, sorta like Charles Schultz Peanuts. The difference here is that the Adults unfortunately reveal the rest of their bodies from the waist up and that Charlie Brown and Snoopy are lovable – unlike the young protagonist Sam the Orphan (Jared Gilman) and his bookwormy Girlfriend Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), the daughter of lawyers that live on the same remote island, who scheme to elope, and when discovered missing send the island into a tizzy.

As a search party commences, they are hellbent on following some ancient Indian beaver trail and stripping down to their knickers. Though it’s rated PG-13, I promise there is nothing steamy about this love affair – unless of course you think a girl totting around a pair of binoculars is sexy? In fact, the most vulgar atrocity is the murder of the Khaki Scout’s Puppy! Charlie Brown, a child of the Fifties, was an adorably sympathetic loser who loved his Dog whereas these Brats of the Sixties not only stab each other but killed a dog for no fucking apparent reason! Another pet peeve, Wes’s soundtrack. This time around instead of butchering The Kinks he replays Hank Williams tunes to underscore this flight of fancy. But instead of feeling nostalgic like in The Last Picture Show everything just comes off contrived and forced – from the dollhouse that Suzy lives in to the Khaki Scouts campsites, but nothing more so than the acting. And speaking of acting, besides the old fogey in the Dos Equis beer commercials, nobody tries to pose more like a Rhodes Scholar and Renaissance Man like James Franco who glowingly announces to his fellow Huff Po readers that Wes Anderson Rises. But I say, considering my previous review of MIB 3, you’re better off not wasting you’re time by watching this instead –

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Black to the Future

Summer is officially here and with that comes the onslaught of the proverbial sequels and wannabe blockbusters to spawn next year’s sequels. And sadly Men In Black 3 falls victim to the genre of the wasted chapters and money (both theirs and yours).

Maybe I’m being cynical (as usual) and the Filmmakers actually had noble intentions with the fortune that Josh Brolin is a dead ringer for playing the young Tommy Lee Jones. Given that – all they had to do is concoct some silly time travel motif to send Kay back to the summer of 1969 as Brolin! Coinciding it with the first Apollo mission and the spacey Warhol Factory, a little civil rights comic relief, a Stones song and a hippy or two, you will find yourself in a $200 million budget movie.

But as we all know, the notion of good intentions in Hollywood is a misnomer. Just look at all the countless charity balls and galas they hold there for all those limousine liberals in their tax deductible designer clothes while I’m subjected to pay Midtown prices for lunch everyday!  Most recently George Clooney’s fundraising event at his palatial Hollywood home for Obama’s re-election campaign cost his exclusive 150 guests $40K a plate! While in reality they are just perpetuating this Fiat Currency that has enslaved us to the almighty dollar. Sorry, I know I’m just as guilty for greasing the wheels of the big studios by paying these outrageous 3D prices for a movie ticket.

In fact I saw that Wes Anderson movie as well the day after but that’s another blog to read if you can get through this one, so I need to get to the point – Men In Black 3 sucked. I was suckered in by my own silly sentiment of trying to recapture my childhood memories and fondness for the characters of the original 1997 movie. But not only did I realized that I can’t even remember a fucking thing about the second MIB, I also see that I haven’t really matured much since then AND that it’s just the filmmakers such as Barry Sonnenfeld and Co. that just got more retarded. If you don’t believe me wait to you see how this movie ends – not with one small step for Man but one giant leap fucking backwards for Mankind.

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Mutiny on the Bounty

I knew going into this Aardman production that Nick Park was not involved, so truth be told I was expecting the worse from The Pirates! Band of Misfits. But nothing could have have prepared me for the agony endured or my bafflement over the rave reviews I read later. With the number of disposable CGI movies attracting brats accompanied by their pampering parents, I really wanted to appreciate the aesthetic and massive, painstaking time bestowed – despite the stupid jokes in the trailer. But I never believed Aardman would produce something  with such an insultingly stupid plot with such dull and unimaginative characters! Assholes!

I knew we were in trouble from the get go when the lamest Pirate to torment the high seas was billed as “The Pirate Captain” with his mute Dodo, Polly (that they stupidly believe to be a Parrot) who turns out to be the lynchpin behind this whole fiasco of a plot – whereby his fellow crew sets out to wrangle booty in hope to earn the ridiculous Pirate of the Year Award. By this point I was ready to walk the plank. But matters only worsened when the Pirate Captain’s nemesis turns out to be none other than that notorious nefarious naturalist, Charles Darwin! And his fucking Manpanzee! Now I’m no stickler for historical accuracy, especially in stop-motion animation movies geared for kids, but portraying Darwin to be something other than a peace loving man of science circumnavigating the globe on the HMS Beagle documenting fauna and flora is a capitol crime!

Not to mention how cute and clever the filmmakers think they are when having The Elephant Man make a brief cameo while they are conspiraring in London – even though in 1836 he wasn’t even born yet! Another thing, since when do Pirate movies spend so much time in a cities like London and sail into it by way of the Thames? And don’t even get me started on The Freshman premise rip off! I know you’re probably thinking that I need to lighten up because it’s only a kids movie but I’m more prone to flying elephants and talking toys than I am to this fucking piece of shit!

Basically Aardman didn’t get the memo that Pirate fad is passe and Bobby Driscoll is probably rolling in his potters field’s grave on the mysterious Hart Island while none of these pirate aficionados give a flying fuck now. Sorry. Really what I’m saying is that this movie was so bad that afterwards I went to a to see an exhibit of Ron Wood’s paintings and found them to be a more pleasing sight even if they really did suck.

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Gangs of New York

Last we spoke I was marveling Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods and now – the long awaited, Avengers movie. Whereas Cabin was taut with radical twists and turns, The Avengers was predictably silly and action packed with super hero special effects. But what sets this marvel apart from it’s lame predecessors is the branded Whedon humor. And Thor takes the cake when it comes to delivering his lackluster Shakespearian lines – talk about a meathead wielding a hammer around. Mark Ruffalo succeeds as the first credible Hulk (even if Iron Man seemed a bit to eager to see Banner bust out of his pants) and Captain America, who after fending the world off from Aliens with supernatural beings, still believes in one God, makes a defiant U.S. soldier.

What wasn’t funny was every time Scarlett Johansson opened her pouty mouth – it’s no wonder there wasn’t a movie for the Black Widow. Making no attempt at a Russian accent, Scarlett hasn’t made an effort to act as anything but a whore since Ghost World. At least she wasn’t made the love interest of the story, which would of been unbearable considering the movie is already two and half hours long. As for the unconvincing nemesis Loki, Tom Hiddleston comes off like a wannabe Cillian Murphy.

My biggest gripe with this movie is – not that it ended with the Super Heroes thwarting the single nuclear missile that was intended for them and thereby turning the tables by redirecting it to ultimately destroy the Aliens, but that they demolished my beloved Grand Central Station and knocked the fucking clock off the top of the info booth. Why couldn’t they have chosen Port Authority instead?

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The Cabin of Dr. Caligari

So they say that 1970’s Hollywood cinema, otherwise known as the second golden age, brought a revisionist approach to all genres but consequently after a decade of coked out Auteurs it reached it’s demise with Heaven’s Gate. It’s hard to fathom that Directors that once thrived and survived that era are now making class A shit. I mean Hugo? Anyway, point is that every generation has a stylistic stamp and just as this day and age’s lack of originality and fashion, it makes sense that it be the decade of  the mash-ups. A confluence and conglomeration of tried and true genres that have been played out to death with pop culture references blended together to entertain savvy Cinephiles, who are seemingly more irreverent as opposed to the subversives who were camped out just a few blocks away at Union Sq. occupying Wall. St.  Either way, I’m a Nihilist and was too busy going to see a movie titled the obvious – I mean aren’t most cabins in the woods?

But what sets The Cabin in the Woods apart is that it’s being monitored by high tech global Government and ancient forces that utilizes monsters to aid in a sacrificial ritual to save the fate of the world. Sort of like Hunger Games meets Scooby Doo. Though Kristen Connolly is no Katniss Everdeen, the rest of the cast are as fittingly silly.

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard fall short of making this a cult classic as it lacks that certain unintentionality movies like Troll 2 and Plan 9 from Outer Space and the inspired originality of say Shaun of the Dead. Still it makes up for it in laughs, especially if you see it with a packed like minded audience on an opening night. It may not be memorable, but at least it didn’t stink (bodily) like the protesters in Union Sq. the day after when I went to work in the morning.  Where have you gone, Travis Bickle? A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you….

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