For the past 9 years (yes, it’s nine, not a typo), Brad Bourland, 58, of Austin, Texas has been rating/reviewing movies. He’s got 9,331 so far, and wants his site readers/visitors to help him complete it to a nice, round 10k. Obsession, hobby, or just another slick marketing ploy? Visit his site, read up on the … hobby
Tim Burton has done it again – a visual marvel of a film, a pretty close adaptation of a timeless classic book, great performances (although a little too heavy on screen time for Depp and Bonham Carter), and a lovely, rebellious Alice. What more do you need to know in order to run into theaters? It’s in 3D, which actually works.
Continue reading “Alice in Wonderland (2010)”
First of all, kudos to the marketing campaign. This film heavily relies on word of mouth, we got a free screening (packed room, hardly any press, just people who got invites from eventful.com website). The screening was fun, we howled, took home t-shirts, and promised to tell others about it. The movie is so much more than its title suggests. In fact, one of the many buddy-comedy cliches it breaks (and yes, it is a buddy comedy, elevated to a new level), is its silly title. When one of the characters exclaims (in an attempt to awkwardly explain the title/concept and give 5-second exposition): “this must be some kind of … hot … tub … time … machine”, he does so looking straight at the camera, breaking the fourth wall, and addressing the audience. “Get it? Get it? We’re all in on the joke here”.
Disney/ABC is pulling the plug on the popular ‘movie-critics-going-at-each-other’ show in August. It lasted 24 years. As far as I know, At the Movies died when Roger Ebert lost his voice in 2006. Yes, Gene Siskel’s death in 1999 was a big blow to the show, but the two of them have been doing it so long between ’75 and ’99 and knew each other so well that Ebert was able to continue the legacy of intelligent, informed, entertaining arguments about the state of cinema. He had a tough season with rotating guests in ’99-’00 (Kevin Smith and Richard Roeper were my personal favourites). Roeper stuck around for a few seasons as a second chair to Ebert, but the last few years were a big mess. ABC/Disney tried to put in Ben Mankiewicz and Jeffrey Lyons , but got horrible reception, bad ratings, and people just didn’t like them. Besides, what the hell happened to Roeper? Pushed out?
Kevin Smith is growing up; Traci Lords is a notorious porn legend; and Seth Rogen is goofy but not funny. These are all undeniable facts, and you can bash your head against the wall trying to object to this reality, or pretend it’s not there. It won’t change the fact that Kevin Smith is growing up; Traci … you get the idea. This movie has many such FACTS going against it – and many would love to see them different, but it’s just not possible. For example, I would love to see a movie where Seth Rogen is truly funny – and despite the best marketing campaigns out there – it just doesn’t happen – he remains a goof in every film. Yes, there is a difference, and I should know. I would also love to see Kevin write material that’s as fresh and sharp as Clerks and Mall Rats – but it’s just not going to happen – been there, done that. It belongs to another decade. So let’s all move on from the fact that another time, in another place, this could have been a much different movie. Perhaps funnier, perhaps more poignant. It’s not going to happen. Let’s enjoy it for what it really is.
Continue reading “Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)”
Transformers came out on DVD a few weeks ago, and I was reminded that this past summer, this movie fell through the cracks, and the review was never posted. Here’s the movie review, a little brief, but better late than never. Given all the marketing and ego-power that went into this project (Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg) this could easily have been a really big disappointed. Instead, Transformers turned out to be a better movie than our depressed expectations, and a good blockbuster to fill a summer weekend. Of course, now that we’re nearing the holiday season, and the film is out of theaters, perhaps it will make a good gift.
Continue reading “Transformers (2007)”
Oh, what hopes have been dashed by this flimsy ‘Desperate Housewives’ rip-off. Oh, how I’ve waited to see Christopher Titus back on television. You remember him, from the short-lived (ok, 3 seasons is not that short) sitcom Titus – about a hilariously dysfunctional family. You probably remember all the male leads from all kinds of recent shows – Joshua Malina from West Wing and Sports Night; Michael Vartan from Alias and of course, the ever-getting-younger-looking heart-throb Dylan McDermott from The Practice. This was a dream male cast, perfectly suited to play powerful CEOs with familiar, identifiable personal issues. Why, oh why did ABC decide to go cartoony on such a solid premise?
Continue reading “Big Shots (ABC, Thursdays)”
Now that the show has premiered, and the insane media spin is slowly fading out, let’s talk about it. Frankly. It’s bad enough this show reminds me of just how wonderful Alias was, and how quickly it was sabotaged by its own creators and network (thanks, ABC and JJ Abrams), Chuck also shows how easily a show can be appealing to wider audience, and still remain smart and engaging. I spotted these things, did you? Here’s hoping the show can find its tracks fast, because all the elements are there, just mix them in proper order, and you’ll have a runaway hit.
Continue reading “Chuck (NBC, Mondays)”
Jason Reitman has another unusual hit on his hands with ‘Juno’. Why unusual? Because his last film, ‘Thank You For Smoking’ was a hilarious, biting satire about the tobacco business. And it’s not an easy task to be satirical and likable about such a topic. Jason got plenty of flak from people who thought he was supporting the tobacco industry. Yes, satire is hard to do these days – people tend to get upset by the face value of it before they ‘get’ the in-between-the-lines message. ‘Juno’ uses sorta the same idea – except completely different. It also deals with a delicate subject with reason, and with understanding. Not really picking sides, but rather exploring the human nature of a finicky situation. This time, the subject is unplanned teen pregnancy, and the approach is somewhat different. No cynicism, no satire. But so much love, and so much diffusing humour that you can’t help but roar with laughter, even though the characters are going through some tough times.
Continue reading “Juno (2007)”
I’ve been waiting for this movie for eight years. Subconsciously, that is. Let’s face it – ‘Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen’ was not begging for a sequel. Sure, it was left open-ended, but it was a solid, finished story all by itself. The reason I was anticipating this sequel is simple. Back in 1998, director Shekar Kapur managed to reinvent a period piece genre – with more intrigue, politics, religion, medieval marriage, all kinds of hot issues thrown in. The film was great, but chronologically it only covered Elizabeth becoming the queen. The credits rolled after her coronation. I wanted to go back to that world, there was so much to mine there. So many conflicts, factual and ‘added for dramatic effects’. I fell in love with Kapur’s visual palette, his use of camera. And yes, I fell in love with Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush as her advisor. And now they’re back. Right off the bat, you can tell the movie’s budget is bigger this time. Is it a good thing for a period piece?
Continue reading “Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)”