Category Archives: Movies

War Horse


There are some directors who make good films for their entire careers. Most of the time filmmakers drop off at a certain point, falling into mediocrity and living off their previous accomplishments until their inevitable demise. I’m beginning to think Steven Spielberg is one such man.
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Billy Passed the Third Grade…

I really can’t stand Billy Madison anymore; it’s a stupid, stupid movie. However, for some reason this song jumped in my head while showering this morning, making me chuckle.

Over the Top


Stallone walked into a Warner Brothers office and said he wanted ten million dollars to make a montage of constipated faces with Sammy Hagar’s latest abortion playing behind it. They gave him 25 million and said to wrap a loose story around it. The result is Over the Top, a film about the high stakes world of competitive arm wrestling. Since the MPAA wouldn’t give a PG rating to a film about harrowing bowel movements Stallone used the “sport” as a vehicle for his ambitions – showing the most absurd action faces in film history. I’m honestly not sure whether it’s asinine or art, poking fun at the hyper-bravado inherent in the average American male.

Below is a selection of screen captures I did this afternoon while watching another Stallone movie: Rocky III, featuring Mr. T and Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips. It’s the first time I’ve had a free afternoon in quite a while and I’m sharing it with you, dear reader, in the hopes that these pictures from Over the Top become a desktop background somewhere.
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Remember That Big Underground Complex From Day of the Dead?


Arriving home from a pretty terrible evening I watched George A. Romero’s 1985 Day of the Dead. I picked it up on Blu-Ray a while back for $5 and hadn’t watched it yet and last night seemed like an ample opportunity. It’s not my favorite of Romero’s zombie films (although it’s better than Survival of the Dead) but Day has a special quality I can’t quite put my finger on. After watching the documentaries on the Day disc I found out why the film isn’t as spectacular as the first two: they didn’t have the money and Romero’s aspirations exceeded his budget.

One of the bonus features which grabbing my attention is a short promotional film for Gateway Commerce Center. Located outside Pittsburgh, Gateway is an old mine turned into an underground storage facility where Romero shot the film. It’s a very sterile, creepy looking kind of place. Below is the video from the disc, which is both interesting and kitschy.



Also, I feel it’s important to comment on my lack of posts lately: I’m moving to New Jersey and have been busy getting that together while also working to save up extra funds.

Let’s Give a Big Round of Applause to Sexual Chocolate.

Roddy McDowall Interview


I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on my blog and my last post explains why. However, after almost a week of the flu (including a 101 degree temperature at one point) I’m finally mostly better. This morning I woke up and watched a documentary about Planet of the Apes, which was very interesting. Being the media addicted nerd I am I started looking up the various actors and actresses from the Apes films and found this interview with Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes series, That Darn Cat, Cleopatra). It comes from the magazine Scarlet Street and appeared in a 1998 issue.

Click on the apes to read the interview.


Roddy McDowall Interview

 

Spetters


Spetters
(when translated means hunks) is a coming of age story directed by the notorious Paul Verhoeven a few years prior to his entrance into the American film scene with Robocop. Following three friends – Reen (Hans van Tongeren), Hans (Maarten Spanjer), and Eef (Toon Agterberg) – from a small town in The Netherlands, Spetters explores both the world of motocross and finding out who one really is. It’s also a film filled with much sexuality and a good deal of homoeroticism. I’d never seen any of Verhoeven’s Dutch films before and after watching Spetters I can see not only why he made it to America (he can direct an interesting and visually striking film) and why he’s such a controversial director.
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Trainspotting


It’s been 15 years since Transpotting hit theaters, propelling Ewan McGregor (Renton) into an international star, and it’s a film which still holds up (even Sick Boy says, “Heroin’s got a great fucking personality”). After all, humans have been finding ways to intoxicate themselves for countless centuries and even though the substances may change over the years the motivations are the same. While so many films from the ‘90s are dated, reeking of nostalgia and a different era (dial-up modems, baggy pants, and so forth), Trainspotting is still relevant today.
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Scarface


This upcoming Tuesday (September 6, 2011) Brian DePalma’s 1983 ultra-violent classic Scarface comes out on Blu-Ray for the very first time. Maybe it’s because there’s a glut of Scarface representations in the media lately; maybe it’s because The Blood Bros’ second mix Heaven 2 Hell begins with Paul Engemann’s Push it to the Limit and I’ve been listening to that mix regularly for the last few weeks; maybe it’s because I seem to watch Scarface every decade – I’m not entirely sure. I just know that I’ve been itching to watch Scarface for the last few weeks and last night I achieved just that.

Ten years ago, the last time I watched Scarface, I didn’t really like it. All the hype surrounding the film didn’t equal the presentation. I still feel this way but watching this viewing yielded a different response: I loved Scarface and thought it was hysterical. I know DePalma, Pacino, and author Oliver Stone weren’t looking for camp but that’s exactly what they delivered. Scarface, even with all its social commentary and explorations in humanity, is a gaudy film akin to other unintentional comedies like Showgirls (which is far superior). The characters, for the most part, are ridiculous and the Cuban accents portrayed by American actors are laughable. I’ll admit Pacino did capture the mannerisms of Cuban-Americans with panache but that about all; everything else is overblown and draws laughter instead of awe.
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Mad Max


I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve never seen Mad Max. I’ve seen The Road Warrior many times and it’s a great flick rife with homoeroticism, filled with great car chases and a believable representation of humanity’s next Dark Age. Mad Max, which takes place during society’s fall, is different – the characters are still holding onto hope while living in an oppressive police state filled with hyper-criminality. Its obvious civilization is in a state of disarray but for the majority of Mad Max it’s uncertain what exactly is going on, almost like the culture depicted is confused. It runs the gamut between looking like a poverty stricken, depressed environment and a bucolic wasteland; I’m convinced the film is a little confusing.
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Hobo with a Shotgun


Hobo with a Shotgun
isn’t very good. In fact, it’s pretty awful. The premise, a hobo, played by Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, Soldier of Orange), hops off a train into a new town. Finding the town despicable and overrun by criminals, the hobo becomes a vigilante. He befriends a prostitute (Molly Dunsworth) and with her help takes on the city’s main crime boss: The Drake (Brian Downey). However, the film’s plot, which seems like a good idea, is instead a mediocre ride through cheap violence and sadism, offering nothing substantial.
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Coming Soon to an Overpriced Theater Near You


I’ve been to a few summer movies and run the gamut between bored and excited (I liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes). But one of the things I enjoy is watching the trailers, seeing what’s coming out next. The trailers attached to this summer’s films have been pretty funny and I figured it’s time to give my two cents on a handful of them.
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Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire


Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
is one of the most depressing films I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s also a film I can’t truly relate to: I’m white, can read, and had family pushing me to read and succeed (sometimes). Aside from my unfamiliarity with the events in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (that’s how I’m going to say it every damn time) I felt uncomfortable and sad through the entire film. Just when you think things are bad it gets worse – like Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, a film which goes from bad to worse to even worse and finally death.
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Robocop 2


If Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is a Jesus story – with Robocop being an industrialized, American Jesus – then Robocop 2 is about Christ’s perversion. This second installment in the Robocop series, directed  by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), does contain some of Verhoeven’s intentions but is a different beast altogether. Comic book creator Frank Miller (Sin City, Batman: Year One, Hard Boiled, 300) penned this sequel and his brand of humor and writing is apparent – Robocop 2 is enjoyable and clever at times – but it’s missing the outsider’s perspective (Verhoeven is Dutch) making Robocop such a clever and insightful film.
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Shark versus Zombie


It’s Shark Week again and idiots thinking a whole week of shark shows on the Discovery Channel is intelligent are enjoying lazy times in front of the boob tube. I am one of those idiots – I always end up watching at least one or two shark shows during Shark Week. While watching a show called Sharkman, where some moron tries to hypnotize a Great White I couldn’t help thinking about the infamous Shark versus Zombie scene from Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2.

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Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist


Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
is about two obnoxious teenagers running around New York City. The climax of the film is Nick (Michael Cera) fingerbanging Norah (Kat Dennings) at Electric Lady Studios. It’s a terrible film and nobody should watch it; in fact, director Peter Sollett should be ashamed of helming such a piece of shit film.

Here is the film’s climax:

Navy Seals


“You’re dealing with extremists.”

“You’re dealing with the Navy Seals.”

Navy Seals is Top Gun but less homoerotic and more cocaine fueled. After all, it stars Charlie Sheen (post Wall Street) as a self-absorbed, sociopathic Navy Seal who is amusingly racist (he calls the Japanese “Japs,” Muslims “rags,” and just about any other racial slur you can imaging). The film focuses heavily on mindless action and vaguely defined character traits – using the terms “good guys” and “bad guys” often and, like any good American propaganda made after the Cold War, its primary antagonists are Middle Eastern (Navy Seals’ main action takes place in Beirut, Lebanon). It’s the type of film which brings to mind Sel from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain, who makes war toys and begins propaganda campaigns against future enemies years before any actual conflict; it’s also a film undoubtedly fueled by massive amount of cocaine and excess.
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Thrashin’


I think it’s hilarious that the modern version of skateboarding is just a variation of what was called Freestyle skating in the ‘80s. I’m not an expert on skating (I unsuccessfully dabbled in it briefly in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s) but I do enjoy watching ‘80s skateboard movies. Today I watched Thrashin’ featuring the now well respected actor Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, Milk, True Grit, The Goonies). Aside from being a film about rival skateboard gangs it also demonstrates how white suburban teenagers are inherently racist and how urban white kids are more racially tolerant.
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Quite Possibly the Coolest ’80s Thing Ever Part II

It’s been a week since I downloaded Blood Bros’ First Blood mix and I’ve listened to it about ten times. Today I found the sequel: Heaven 2 Hell. It’s almost as good as the First Blood (which rules because it has songs from Rad and Transformers: The Movie). This one features songs from Top Gun, Gleaming the Cube, Best of the Best II, Thrashin’, Delta Force, and many more. Below is the back cover featuring the song titles:
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Quite Possibly the Coolest ’80s Thing Ever


I found this on my second favorite music blog Cosmic Hearse and I’m so happy I did – I listen to this all the time. I downloaded it a few days ago and I must’ve played it at least ten times already.

Imagine somebody made the coolest mixtape of songs from ‘80s action films, peppered with a few songs from elsewhere, and you have First Blood – a coproduction between two DJ’s (DJA and Dirty South Joe). Normally I don’t care about DJ’s and their silly mixes but this one is genius. It features music from Over the Top, Transformers: The Movie (and subsequently Boogie Nights), Iron Eagle, Rad, Bloodsport, and many more. In short, the music on this mix is primarily from montages; therefore it’s a montage of montages.
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Captain America: The First Avenger


When I first saw the previews for Captain America I could help but exude excitement – a super hero period piece? Hell yes! However, two and a half hours and one bag of popcorn later I can’t say the excitement has transferred. Captain America is a thoroughly mediocre piece of cinema, relying on computer generated action, sappy storytelling, and the weight of Marvel’s reputation to carry it. That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few decent moments or I was bored throughout the entire screening but overall I couldn’t help but find Captain America pedestrian and actually a little bit vulgar and offensive.
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The Alamo Drafthouse has the Right Idea!


A friend of mine was visiting me from Austin, Texas this weekend (another friend came up too but she’s not important (I’m just kidding Jessie)). Aside from hosting South by Southwest (SXSW) every year and being Roky Erickson’s hometown, Austin is also home to a movie theater I’ve always wanted to grace with my presence: The Alamo Drafthouse. Notorious for not only showing contemporary films the Alamo Drafthouse also plays fantastic old movies (usually with posters by artist Tyler Stout). Recently they played both Kill Bill films and have housed almost every great Paul Verhoeven film in addition to Blade Runner, Escape From New York, and a long list of other incredible movies.

I’m getting to my point here.
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Top Gun re-cut trailer


Even though I found this years ago I still think its funny – a re-cut trailer for Top Gun turning it into a homosexual love story. The film was already quite homoerotic before but now…

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Pink Flamingos


Dubbed as “An exercise in bad taste,” John Waters’ Pink Flamingos is just that but not just because it contains a litany of vulgarity – both sexual and scatological. For the most part it’s a terribly made film with poor editing, uncreative cinematography, and bad acting; it makes up for it with amazingly funny dialogue that’s still relevant almost 40 years after its initial release.

Here is the original trailer from the early ‘70s (this version, featuring John Waters’ introduction, originally appeared on the Criterion laserdisc). I feel this aptly sums up what’s so great about this immensely bizarre film.


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Justin Bieber: Never Say Never


Below is a conversation between my girlfriend and I after watching Justin Bieber: Never Say Never last night. The viewing started as a joke. I said I wanted to watch the Bieber doc and my girlfriend just ordered it, saying you shouldn’t joke about what you want. It’s bizarre but I really enjoyed it; it was like peeking into the life of a premature, white, Canadian Michael Jackson. Here is the conversation.
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