Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

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Upcoming Sequels

November 6, 2009

If there’s anything Hollywood loves more than counting money and pandering to demographic groups, it’s pandering to a known demographic by cranking out a sequel. Here’s what the major studios are reheating for us in the upcoming months.

val kilmer

For the sequel, Kilmer has asked for "better hair;" "more expressive mask."

Heat 2: The Robbening
With most of the principal characters dead, the sequel focuses on Val Kilmer’s character, who was last seen ditching his wife and daughter for a life of not going to prison for several years. Al Pacino is back, obsessed with hunting down the “one that got away.”

Directing duties have been passed on to Lars Van Trier, whose unconventional filmmaking and confrontational style saw Val Kilmer participate in some improvised (and often, completely nude) bank robberies, for which he is currently serving 20 years at Lompoc Correctional Facility.

Lars Von Triers hails it as “provocative, dangerous cinema.”

Costner considers "better hair;" laying groundwork for "Expression C."

Kevin Costner briefly considers "better hair;" first attempts at planned "Expression C."

They Still Call Me “Dances with Wolves”
After a nearly 20-year stretch of failed vanity projects and forgettable roles, Kevin Costner returns to the welcoming arms of his most successful vanity project. He reprises his role as Dances With Wolves, the sole enlightened white man in existence.

The story follows his purchase of a failing business in South Dakota and his unflinching battle with decades old anti-gambling laws. Costner grants himself ample screen time to explore his character, including several topical monologues which recall Steven Segal’s triumphant work in On Deadly Ground. Written and directed by Kevin Costner. Additional screenplay work by Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas.

Time Magazine calls it “a triumphant retread, full of Costnerian hubris.”

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Carrie Fisher's requests for "better hair;" "non-related love interest" vetoed by George Lucas. He did, however, turn her character lesbian.

Star Wars Episode 9: The Twilight of the Revolution
Picking up where episode six left off (and skipping two more episodes, presumably to be retconned in later), with the Death Star destroyed (again) and the Empire defeated, Episode 9 rejoins the characters as they live out their remaining years.

  • Watch Han Solo makes an embarrassment of himself in an Aldreraan retirement community, as his randy exploits never manage to make the ladies forget that he shoots first.
  • Chewbacca returns to his home planet, only to be set upon and dismembered by his own species, who react violently to the alien smell of “human” on him.
  • Luke Skywalker is faced with the realization that the rebellion never had a solid severance package in place and is forced to perform Jedi “magic” at birthday parties and bar mitzvahs to make ends meet.
  • Leia never gets over being unable to conceive and spends her remaining years banging random helmet-wearing freaks in an effort to confront her “Daddy” issues.
  • Lando finds himself profiled into a 10-year sentence for a liquor store holdup.
  • R2-D2 and C-3PO are finally married after leaving Tatooine’s restrictive political climate for the relatively more relaxed Endor. Things end badly for the married couple when C-3PO catches R2-D2 fellating (?) a power washer.
  • On a brighter note, Jar Jar Binks is also dismembered due to his “human” smell shortly after the opening credits.

FOX-TV says “full of Lucas’ patented heart and razor-sharp dialog.” CBS-TV says “Big Chill meets On Golden Pond in a fanboy’s basement.”

james_cameron

Cameron offers to trade three Oscars for "better hair;" "artistic merit."

Titanic 2: The King of the World
James Cameron returns to the icy, money-choked waters of his greatest success, Titanic. Borrowing liberally from Clive Cussler’s Raise the Titanic (and being sued in the process) and his own dementia, Cameron presents the story of an eccentric billionaire who wishes to prove that the Titanic, with the proper level of sobriety and nude paintings, could have made that voyage successfully.

Cameron freely admits that the main character (Jim Camber) is loosely based on himself. Camber’s abrasive ego and Scrooge McDuck-esque piles of money soon find him several thousand feet below the surface, raising the Titanic for another maiden voyage.

Camber raises the Titanic and follows the fateful route. Tragedy strikes when the drunken Irish stowaways manage to rip through the hulls during an out-of-control party/car bombing. Ironically (or not), the Titanic returns to the depths at nearly the same spot as the original catastrophe.

James Cameron tops his last outing by using a combination of green screen and depression sufferers to simulate the sinking ship’s last moments. Viewers will be unable to escape the haunting images of the many extras clinging to the nearly vertical deck for life, which suddenly seems bright and livable when cold, icy death is staring you in the face. Listen closely for screams of “Fuck you, James!” and “For the love of God, where are the stuntmen?”

Entertainment Weekly calls it “a tour de force of cinéma vérité, proving just how many lives Cameron is willing to sacrifice for artless commerce (883, at last count).”

-CLT

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Enjoy the Violence

August 10, 2009

Music and violence go way back. Back past the latest GNR riot. Past random shootings on the Jay-Z tour. Past Woodstock ’99. Past Altamont. Historians point to a 1783 riot in Salzburg, when a young Mozart left the stage after only two sonatas, citing “ruling class dabbling” and a general artistic malaise. 

Some music is dying to be identified with violence. Loud, angry men playing loud, angry guitars, making aggressive noises like cornered animals. Other hide it behind 808 beats and posturing, spitting out rhythmic chants of misogyny and brutality.

Some subvert the expectations entirely. The Happy Mondays hid lazy threats under shuffling club beats. Magazine dripped menace over some angular guitar and icy keyboard work. And god help you if you run into Momus. Severely fucked in the head and hides his mean streak under a harpsichord of all things.

This quick tribute is to those great movie scenes which subvert the expected with their juxtaposition of music and flatout violence. We’re all familiar with the techno-tracked club scene or car chase, the intrusion of a lusty saxophone during the love scene or the vicious beatdown featuring the latest thug anthem or Linkin Park-esque howling.

Here are some of my favorite music/violence scenes which turn the tables on these tired cliches:

Layer Cake
A simple request to borrow some money turns horribly wrong, as old memories come to the surface and unleash themselves as a vicious beating using available restaurant furniture and a coffee pot. Some backstory leads up to this point (which you won’t see in this clip) but the scene is still amazingly jarring in context.

Soundtracked by Duran Duran’s comeback hit Ordinary World, which slants, tumbles and breaks off sporadically as if synched to beating victim’s consciousness.

Snatch
In a spectacularly violent movie with a spectacularly great soundtrack, how do you pick just one? (Ed. – Arbitrarily.) Should it be the haunting strains of the Stranglers’ Golden Brown, hovering over Tommy like the angel of death after Gorgeous George goes down in the middle of the pikey camp?

Or Massive Attack’s Angel presiding over the torched pikey camp?

Or will it be Oasis’ Fucking in the Bushes playing backup to super slo-mo camerawork and audacious sound editing, bringing to life one of the best fight scenes ever captured on film?

Fight Club
Why not? As a lifelong Pixies fan, seeing this scene unfold for the first time was the simultaneous feeling of everything being both right and wrong in the world. Another one of those movies that you started dragging people out to see, just for the vicarious thrill of seeing it again for the first time. The acoustic guitar, the drums, Black Francis casually discussing his own sanity while onscreen a man with a gunshot wound in his face embraces the girlfriend he had all along as the world collapses around them.

Pulp Fiction
The unexpected anal rape scene (aren’t the all? I mean, unless you’re watching Oz or Deliverance) brought to you in full saxophoned glory by the Revels with Commanche.

This isn’t about that particular insane juxtaposition of violation and jubilation. This is about what it could have been.

Quentin “Fucking” Tarantino originally wanted to use the Knack’s My Sharona for this scene, because it had a “great butt-fucking beat.” However, the rights holders apparently felt it would be better if it soundtracked “someone dancing around a convenience store with a can of Pringles.” Hence, Revels for Quentin; the Knack for Reality Bites.

That movie pissed me off so much. The only sympathetic character (Ben Stiller) was shit on constantly by slacker lifetime award nominee Ethan Hawke and every other character in the film simply because he has a job. Sure, he’s misguided in his whole monorail scheme, but Jesus Christ, it’s fucking public transportation. It don’t get more PC than that.

As a budding fiscal conservative, I found the slackers’ general listlessness to be a complete turnoff and granting them some sort of “sticking it to the man by doing absolutely fucking nothing” wisdom is as disingenuous as granting every native person in every movie since 1980 “pious martyr” status.

Honorable mentions:
Scorsese’s work on Goodfellas, with nearly every piece of music significant, including some choice Rolling Stones cuts and Donovan providing the soundtrack to one (of several) brutal beatings.

I also would hate to leave out another Tarantino flick, Reservoir Dogs, with Stealer’s Wheel providing some earcutting and rugcutting music for Mr. Blond and his less-fortunate acquaintance. However, this remixed ending scene does it one better:

-CLT

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Summer Movie Guide

May 27, 2009
So much sucking, so little space.

So much sucking, so little space.

Hollywood’s patented “Blockbuster” season is upon us again and you know what that means: late fees, inarticulate staff and “New Releases” that are still available on videotape.

Will Smith Vehicle #31, starring Will Smith
Having lightly stretched his acting chops in recent years, Will Smith returns to familiar ground for a film dealing with a subject near and dear to Will Smith: Will Smith. Early speculation points to action with a 40% chance of comedy.

Leonard Maltin: The Will Smith of Will Smith movies. Will Smith!

Uwe Boll’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Boll takes on another videogame title with spectacular results. Boll captures the essence of the classic game and its key elements, including car chases, shootouts and some very questionable humor. Starring Scott Speedman, Yasmine Bleeth and for some fucking reason, Daniel Day-Lewis. Best scene: Harlan Ellison, 75 years young, dismembering Uwe Boll.

Harlan Ellison: I’m the Lou Reed of the literary world!

Anybody seen this? I hear it's a passable way to kill three hours...

Anybody seen this? I hear it's a passable way to kill three hours...

Titanic 2
James Cameron returns with a follow-up to his 1997 sleeper indie hit. This time around, billionaire Arland Hubris (Bill Paxton) builds the world’s largest luxury ship (the King of the World) and retraces the Titanic’s ill-fated route. The cast of Airport ’77 joins him.

Boston Herald – Subtle, understated drama. A welcome change from the usual noisy, big-budget summer fare!

Flick Flick (alt. Movie Movie)
Those cutups from over at the Dimension spoof mill are at it again, having ditched any pretense of a contiguous story line. Basically 1-1/2 hours of skewed movie scenes, like a sketch comedy show without the comedy.

Fox-TV – 2nd unit footage of the year!

I Survived
A tragic story of backpacking gone wrong, ripped from the pages of Reader’s Digest. After being mauled by bears, mugged by antelope and sexually harassed by trout, Ben Campbell hikes 1,250 miles through the Montana wilderness with only his faith and his unicycle for company. Starring Shia Lebouf and Michael Wincott as a rogue bear. Featuring large print subtitles.

Onion AV Club – Disturbingly erotic!

Itchy
Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer remade for American audiences. Originally set to be helmed by “torture porn” auteur Eli Roth, a change in studio heads resulted in a push for a PG-13 rating and a larger box office take. Roth, having disappeared up his own ass, was unavailable and uninterested in the project. Chris Columbus (Harry Potter, Night at the Museum) was tapped to helm the remake.

Shifting the action to an American high school, the story features a mysterious foreign exchange student who is known merely as “Itchy,” as no one can be bothered to find out his real name. Itchy’s soon begins to mete out his revenge, stalking the halls and racking up kill after bloodless kill. Also features a comedic subplot dealing with Itchy’s hilarious accent and routine “murdering” of the English language.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune – Chris Columbus continues to show why he is the master of horror!

Thieves and Liars
Michael Moore investigates the UAW, finding nothing wrong there. Just good old American rabbit eaters. Obviously, the real villains are the GM execs and the penny-pinching government. Not featured: the South’s non-union plants, disgruntled taxpayers.

St. Petersburg Times – The fat man makes a point!

Popped! The Orville Redenbacher Story
The inspirational story of America’s favorite popcornier, Orville Redenbacher. Beginning with his modest Indiana upbringing all the way through his reign as the king of popcorn, including such crucial and little-known elements such as his lab accident that resulted in “popped corn” to his strong-arm tactics that kept him on top of such rivals as Henry Butterkist and Melvin “Pop” Secret. Featuring the reanimated corpse of Katherine Hepburn in the title role.

El Paso Herald-Post – Required viewing for Mr. Hermanson’s fifth-grade class!

Candyman: The Sammy Davis Jr. Story
Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Public Enemy’s Professor Griff and Michael Richards, this biopic takes solid aim at who exactly runs this country. Gibson himself describes it as Conspiracy Theory meets Song of the South in Vegas.

Chicago Sun-Times – Like a refreshing blast of whiskey-soaked breath!

Love in a Time of Mono
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic, updated for the Twilight set. Starring some freshly-scrubbed youngsters fresh off the Disney Genetic Imagineering campus. Oh, and Diane Keaton.

Elk River Fortnightly – Like going to the mall!

One-half of the world's oldest known rivalry

One-half of the world's oldest known rivalry

Them!
Remake of the classic 50’s atomic scare film. With rampant nuclear testing no longer a threat, this remake posits the theory that the ants have mutated due to hybrid vegetables and steroided cattle. Highlighting the dangers of tampering with nature, the protagonists hope to calm the rampaging ants with protest songs and “Them! Were Here First” demonstrations.

The ants, showing a startling lack of conscience, destroy everything in their path, following the instinctive pattern of “Eat, Kill, Raise Millions of Young.”

NBC TV – More fast-paced than an Al Gore slideshow, and only half as boring!

Oh That Jason!
Cult-classic 50’s sitcom hits the big screens in a long-awaited update. Transported to modern day through a badly-explained mishap involving a malfunctioning TV and a wrathful God, Jason’s family suddenly find themselves face-to-face with the future. Hilarity ensues as they try to purchase a “flying car,” a “domestic robot” and other modern accouterments.

While they try to make heads-or-tails of this present-day future, Jason’s family bands together to help an alcoholic private detective hunt down rogue Replicants, treat the Eloi to some American barbeque with their homemade time machine and spend some family time in the Ministry of Love.

Alan Moore – A complete piece of shit. Please remove my name from the credits or deal with my long-haired and vaguely menacing lawyers.

The Long Dark Lunch Break of the Soul
Looking to build an Office Space-type franchise, this film features the soul-crushing day-to-day experiences of Hamish Industries’ peon, Adam Truitt. Meet an office full of misfits as Alex deals with rogue refrigerators, bad goth albums, incredibly violent business trips and his unrequited love for Carlita. The despair climaxes as Allen finds himself trapped in subplots that are never resolved and “voluntold” for various unpleasant office social functions.

A note: Although the film tested well, studio execs noted that much of the audience, while mildly engaged in the story, would talk amongst themselves at lengths about pretty much any subject, frequently causing the main character to break the fourth wall and join in.

XM Radio – If you only see one movie this year, that’s just kind of sad.

Action Film
Michael Bay and John Woo team up to present the first film to be shot entirely in slow-motion. Tony Scott stops by to fuck with the color balance and film stock.

Woonsocket Rooster – Heart-rending dialogue and edge-of-your-seat romance!

Oscar Bait
A Merchant-Ivory production of yet another slow-paced costume drama. Starring Dame Judy Dench, Liam Neeson, James Wood and Emo Philips. Featuring luscious cinematography, numerous costume changes, stilted dialogue and long periods of nothing much happening so you can pee without missing important plot development.

Salt Lake City Rabble-Rouser – You could bounce a quarter off Dench’s ass!

-CLT