Sunday, July 30, 2006

One More Thing About Superman

This is something I didn't think of until after the second viewing, but this would have been awesome. They take Supes into the OR, they've got him hooked up to the machines and whatnot, they give him the juice from the defibrilator, and he flatlines. *boooooooooooop* Fade to black, roll credits.

I mean, shit, talk about internet controversy. Talk about repeat business. Talk about getting people excited for a sequel. I would have shit my pants if the movie had ended that way, but I would have been jacked. And Pirates? Who would have given a shit about Pirates? Superman is dead, what's gonna happen next?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Weekend Movie Reviews

First up, a couple of flicks I caught one more time this weekend because I liked them so much.

Clerks 2. If you haven't seen it, stop reading, call some friends, and go. I'll wait.

Ok, good. Wasn't that hilarious? I tried to get a bunch of friends together to go see it this weekend, but almost everybody flaked out. Bitches. One thing I noticed on a second viewing is how good Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson are. I don't know why they haven't done more films, other than bit parts and whatnot in Kevin Smith's flicks.

Superman Returns. I had a couple of free passes, so I figured I might as well see it again before it slips out of theatres. Plus, the first time I saw it was in about the third row at an IMAX, so it was nice to see it at a comfortable distance. I don't know why it didn't make more of an impact at the box office than it did. Sure, Pirates 2 came out the very next weekend, but I don't understand why it made such a huge impact, since Superman was the better film all around (and I'm not saying that just because I'm a Supes fan, I really liked the first Pirates film). One thing that stood out more the second time around was the Christ allegory. "The world needs a savior," Supes falling back to Earth, prostrated in the sign of the cross. Thanks for that, Mr. Singer, but keep your religion out of my comic book movie.

On a side note, there was a trailer before the movie with some bullshit text flashing up, like, "One family...One child...Who would change the world...Forever." And then it hits you with, "The Nativity Story." At that point, I leaned over to Justin and said just loudly enough for him to hear (or so I thought), "What the fuck?" Mere seconds later, some bitch a few seats over and a row down said, "Hey, buddy, back there? Can we control the reflexes?" Justin's not convinced she was talking to me (she proceeded to be a loudmouthed bitch through the rest of the movie, spouting nonsense to the people she was with), but I am. And that pisses me off.

First off, if you take offense at language, you just need to shut the fuck up. Don't give me your holier-than-thou bullshit, and insult my intelligence because I use "bad" words. I say whatever the hell I want, when I want, and if you don't like it, that's too damn bad. It's called the First Amendment, asshole. Besides, I don't think that was her problem, since she and her dumbass friends dropped a couple of f-bombs during the movie.

So what she took offense at was my visceral reaction to "The Nativity Story." I don't want or need your religion in my movies, alright? I hate trailers anyway (there's a reason they're called trailers, they used to follow the movie, not preceed it), so excuse me for taking issue with a trailer for a pointless film that I was forced to watch. You want to believe in God and thank Jesus for being your savior and read your bible, fine. I got no problem with that. But get your fucking bullshit out of my entertainment! I don't want your Passion, I don't want your Nativity, I don't want your God is Great and Anyone who Disagrees is a Worthless, Sub-Human Heathen. Fuck you.

Now that that's out of the way, we come to the DVDs that I rented.

The Villain, rated PG, starring Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Got this at the recommendation of my Dad, who's usually pretty solid with his recommendations. However, I honestly don't know what he was thinking. It's a western, but is filled with slapstick comedy. I know what you're thinking: Blazing Saddles. But The Villain is less like Blazing Saddles and more like a live-action Road Runner cartoon. There must have been at least a dozen gags with Kirk Douglas' Cactus Jack (the Wile E. character) trying and failing to trap the other two leads with a scheme right out of the Looney Tunes. As bad as it sounds, it's even worse on film. What a piece of shit. Oh, and 27 years later, Arnold still has the exact same accent.

The Pink Panther, rated PG, starring Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno, and Beyonce Knowles. Sir, I watched The Pink Panther, I liked the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther was a favorite of mine. Sir, you are no Pink Panther. Famous quote paraphrasing aside, this movie sucked. Steve Martin apparently co-wrote the screenplay, but the other guy must have been in charge of the jokes. There were only a few genuine laughs in the whole hour and a half, and if I'd seen this at a theatre, I would have demanded my money back. Peter Sellers played Clouseau with more subtlety than this. He's a bumbling detective, not a fucking moron. Kevin Kline was forgettable, Jean Reno is better than this (he was fucking Leon, for chrissakes), and I have no idea what purpose Beyonce served, other than being a cocktease. Seriously, she needs to pose for Playboy or something.

Old School, unrated edition, starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn. Rented this on the recommendation of a co-worker. Finally, a good movie. Funny as hell. Nothing much else to say, except that it gets a thumbs-up from me. Word has it they're doing a sequel, although I'm not sure why.

Until next time, the balcony is closed, fuckers. Nooch!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Avengers Assemble!

I've been catching up on the SDCC (that's San Diego Comic Con) news in the past few days, and something struck me. Marvel made some announcements about the movies they've been working on, and will work on in the near future. Let's do the rundown.

The Incredible Hulk. Don't call it a sequel, but this one's supposed to right the supposed wrongs of the first film. No Ang Lee this time around, so I guess that means we won't get a tender moment with Hulk telling the Leader, "I wish I knew how to quit you." I really enjoyed the first film, and Hulk's always been a personal favorite, so more Hulk is a very good thing. This one's in pre-production, and is slated to smash up theatres in 2008.

Iron Man. He's so money and he doesn't even know it. Jon Favreau is directing this one, and as long as Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck doesn't play Tony Stark, this should be awesome. It's been in development hell for a while, but is currently in pre-production with a release date of May 2, 2008.

Ant-Man. I admit it. I'm not a big Ant-Man fan. His sole claim to fame is what this entire post is about. The project is helmed by the director and co-writer of Shaun of the Dead. No release date for this one yet.

Marvel also announced that after those, they'll be doing films for Captain America and Thor, among others.

So what does this mean? How are these films related, other than the comic book genre? What common thread ties all those superheroes together?

The Avengers, baby. The only founding member missing from that list is Wasp, and technically, she could tag along in Ant-Man's flick. There is, of course, the possibility that it's just coincidence. An Avengers movie would probably be cost-prohibitive, unless it was animated. I guess we'll just have to wait. I'll be hoping.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hodge Podge

Got an assortment of things I wanted to talk about today.

First, summer in the Central Valley sucks. Today was the eighth straight day we've had triple digit temperatures. And for the past two days, it hasn't even cooled down at night until about 4 in the morning. To top it all off, the power went off today for about an hour. That's bullshit. If we (and I'm using the societal we, here) want to run our AC 24/7, we should be able to. If the power company can't produce enough power with their existing plants, they should build more. And don't give me that shit about how hydro, wind, and solar energy sources are tapped out. I'm not saying there should be more coal power plants, either. We've been living in the "nuclear age" for more than 60 years. It's about time we actually used it.

Second, I saw Clerks 2 on Friday. It was, hands down, the funniest movie I've seen this year. I highly recommend you get some friends together and go see it. Prior knowledge of the first film is not required, but I do recommend seeing Clerks at some point. So get off your ass and go see it, you little porch-monkey. It's cool, I'm taking it back.

Speaking of racism, I was talking with Justin the other day about high school (ah, the good old days...not!), and he mentioned how much I'd changed since then, specifically, my views on race. I asked him how so, since I really couldn't remember. He then proceeded to shock me.

Apparently, back in high school, we had seen some commercial about a missing girl (who just happened to be of Asian descent), and I had commented, "Oh, don't talk to me about your missing gook." He went on, and stated there was a time we were talking about mixed marriages, and I had said, quite seriously, how when two white people get together, they make a slightly above average child, but when a white person and a black person get together, they make a slightly below average child. Therefore, mixed marriages could only result in the downfall of humanity.

I was stunned, and actually speechless. I've said a lot of stupid things before (hell, I still do), but that amount of stupidity was astounding. I didn't remember saying it because I've blocked that kind of thinking out of my head. I did a lot of soul searching in college, a lot of examination of myself and my views of the world, and realized a lot of it was shit. I threw all that racist bullshit away, among other things. I'm glad I did, but I'm also glad Justin reminded me of where I started. It makes how far I've come all that more important.

Finally, Dubya vetoed a bill that would have increased funding for stem cell research performed on embryos from fertility clinics. Something of that nature, anyway, I can't be arsed to find the article, but it's out there somewhere. He based his decision on the fact that he believes taking a human life to save others is morally wrong. That's the kind of bullshit religious thinking that I threw out in college. Dubya doesn't understand that an embryo is not a human life, it's just a mass of cells. Even if we disagree on that point, the embryos from fertility clinics (the leftover ones, those that are typically frozen for storage) are usually discarded after a period of time. That's right, all those little lives, just thrown away like so much trash. Instead of using them for a noble and just cause like saving the lives of fully grown human beings who contribute to society, Dubya would rather see them flushed down the toilet, and extends his middle finger to all those people seeking a cure for Parkinson's or Alzheimer's or cancer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Farewell, Old Pal

I lost one of my best friends today. We grew up together, and saying goodbye is honestly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I try to think about the good times we had together. When he'd sit on the countertop, purring so hard he rocked back and forth. How he'd bump his head into mine when I leaned down to pet him. All the times he slept at the foot of my bed, rolled in a ball. Rubbing up against my legs, and wrapping his tail around me as he walked by.

He was a fine cat, a good friend, and a loyal companion.

Goodbye, Fuzzer.

I miss you.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

First Time Watching a Classic

It strikes me that something like 8 of my last 15 posts have been film-related. Oh well, I watch a lot of movies. Deal with it.

I saw Citizen Kane tonight, which is regarded by many as one of, if not the, best films ever made.

But I got bored half-way through. Fucking sue me.

It wasn't a bad movie, but it certainly isn't in my top 10 list. Maybe not even in my top 50.

Let's be fair. I liked Orson Welles. Writing, directing, producing, and starring in a film that would later become a beloved classic when he was only 25? And not doing a bad job of it? Very impressive. I also liked the visual effects. Or is it called cinematography? Whatever the fuck, it looked real nice, and they used some techniques that I thought weren't even invented until 30 years later. The makeup jobs were spectacular too, most notably on Kane himself.

I didn't like that the big secret is the single worst kept secret in all of film. To this day, no one will tell you what the twist is in The Sixth Sense, but they'll freely disclose what Rosebud means. Bastards. I also didn't like the Susan Alexander character. When it came time for her flashbacks, I started to get bored, and it didn't help that the actress thought the most effective way to deliver her lines was by screeching like a banshee. Finally, a problem that plagues too many movies: Can we please match the fucking levels on spoken dialogue and music cues? It seriously pisses me off when I have to turn up the volume to hear a conversation, only to have my ear drums blasted ten seconds later by too-loud fucking operatic bullshit.

Final words on Citizen Kane: A classic, sure, but far from being the greatest movie of all time.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Search for More Money

They seem to have found it, and found a shitload. The second in a trilogy of PotC films blew Superman's opening away, and possibly annihilated Supes' chances of breaking even at the box office.

But here's the problem: the movie wasn't very good. I don't feel that I wasted my money, but I won't be seeing it again at the theatre (and I will be returning for a second showing of Superman), and I'm not excited about seeing the third film.

I'm nothing if not fair, so let me tell you what I liked about the flick.
1. Johnny Depp. I'm not a fan of his work, as a whole or in part, but there's something about the job he does with Jack Sparrow that I can't help but like.
2. The CGI. I could have sworn Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy) was part practical makeup, part CGI. Until I read an interview with him where he said it was all CGI. Wow. The rest of his crew was spectacular, too, so I foresee an Oscar nomination for visual effects.
3. I guess that's it. Oh well.

Now we come to what I didn't like.
1. The length. I've said this before, but if a movie's going to be over 2 hours, it had better be able to justify that running time. And this one doesn't. About an hour in, I knew what they had to do, I was just waiting for them to do it. They then proceeded to throw so many little twists and turns in that the movie dragged on for another hour and a half.
2. The Kraken. Sure, it was impressive, but did we have to see it four goddamn times? We get it.
3. Muddled story. So they're doing two sequels, shot back to back. It's been done before, most notably with Back to the Future and The Matrix. Back to the Future was awesome. Matrix, not so much. With Pirates, it almost felt like the creators were intentionally dragging things out to justify two films. All these different sub-plots and minor twists are there just to be there, to pad the running time, which is too long to begin with.
4. No resolution. Of anything. Yeah, ok, there's another movie, but can't you tie up at least a few things? Just one? No, everything has to be unfinished, so we'll come back for the finale.

Well, I'm not sure I want to. And after they have some time to think about it, I'm not sure everyone else will, either. Remember how The Matrix was a surprise hit, and the creators wanted to cash in with two sequels, and everyone flocked to the second movie, but since it was shit, nobody saw the third? I think that may be what ends up happening to Pirates. We'll have to wait and see.

I know one thing: it's a damn shame if this results in there not being another Superman movie, because I thought that was much better than PotC 2.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

What better way to celebrate America's Independence Day than with some good old-fashioned super-heroism? I'm talking Superman Returns, which I saw last night on the IMAX. And man, was I impressed.

I went in expecting that Brandon Routh couldn't replace Christopher Reeve, and while I still think Reeve is the definitive Superman, this new kid did one hell of a job. His Kent was on the money, as was his Superman (helped in a big way by the fancy flying tech that blows away the quaint effects in the 1978 film), and I particularly enjoyed the homages to the earlier films ("I hope this experience hasn't put you off flying. Statistically speaking, it's still the safest way to travel," "You know, you really shouldn't smoke, Miss Lane," Brando as Jor El, Lois' terrible spelling, the end flying sequence, the beginning credits, etc.)

I liked Kate Bosworth's Lois better than Margot Kidder's Lois. Kidder's take on the character always seemed a bit off to me. And Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, holy shit. I think Spacey is a great actor, and he didn't disappoint.

Most importantly, Superman is, well, super. On a power level scale from 1 to 10, he's a 15. When Supes gets fired up, you know there's some shit about to go down, and when he's this powerful, that's some serious shit.

There were a couple of things I didn't like. The last 25 minutes or so. Very anticlimactic, 15 minutes could have been trimmed and it would have ended with a bang, rather than a whimper. Also, Lois' son I am decidedly on the fence about. Without going into spoiler territory, I hope the inevitable sequel is as good as this film, if not better.

I really liked X3. But Superman owned the X-Men in the face. You just got smacked down by DC, Marvel. What are you gonna do about that? *hopes Spider-Man 3 kicks serious ass*

Monday, July 03, 2006

Idiots + Fireworks = Bad

What the fuck is wrong with people? I thought fireworks were supposed to be for the fourth of July, not the entire fucking week and a half before. It's also nice if the fucktards who want to shoot them off would do so sometime before 1 am, before normal people are asleep because they actually have jobs to go to in the morning.

Seriously, how is shooting off loud whizz-bang fireworks at 1:45 not against the law? Where are the police keeping the goddamn peace? Drug dealers getting shot in the ghetto don't concern me; getting a full night's sleep does. If I don't get a full night's sleep, I'm unable to be a contributing member of society, unlike the asshats who shoot off firecrackers whenever they feel like.

I'd like to shove a half-stick of dynamite up their ass and light the fuse. See how they like that shit.