Saturday, May 31, 2008

Match Made in Heaven


I love sports. Well, not all of them. You will see me post stuff about soccer and baseball. However, I am giddier than a Japanese school girl because this years NBA Final is going to be kicking it old school: Lakers vs. Celtics. I am so happy. You should be too.

Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull **1/2
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by David Keopp
Starring Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, and Jim Broadbent

Whoa, whoa WHOA! Did you see that cast? Talk about all stars. I mean you got the aging veteran (Harrison Ford) the new Hollywood poster boy (Shia LeBeouf), the talented actress (Cate Blanchett), the British character actors (Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Jim Broadbent), and the one who comes back because of story reasons (Karen Allen). Add that with Steven Spielberg, and you get an awesome, fantastic blockbuster, right? Not really. I mean the cast is great, it's just the movie that's not.

After 19 years since the great Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fought the Nazis for one last time. It's 1957. Now it's the Red Soviets turn to handle the power of something crazy and not understandable to the average dumbass. It turns they are after a thing called a crystal skull. There aren't many in the world, but it turns out that Indy's friend has it. Anyways, the opening sequence where Indy sloppily fights the Ruskies and survives a nuclear blast is unexciting and predictable. That's the film's problem. All the sequences are very uninteresting. The same thing goes for the plot. It follows the Indy play book pretty throughly. There's the sidekick, the badass villain with superiority complex, and the crazy special effects ridden finale, which is truly spectacular here, but once again uninteresting. I also won't tell much about the plot since it would be mean, but it has influences of the 50's sci-fi films. That's all I'll tell.


The actors, however, don't act on paychecks. They act on the fact they are in the new Indiana Jones movie. For the first few minutes, Harrison Ford's dry, cool wit isn't dry and cool. It's just wit. Then the with gets it's dry and cool back. My hatred of Shia LeBeouf may be shrinking, as he isn't so annoying and Hollywoodesque in this film, as he plays the greaser Mutt quite well. Cate Blanchett, despite being great almost all the time, is a bit of shortcoming here, as she struggles with the Russian accents a bit, but she still manages to fit into the villian role as Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko. While the other supporting players nail it. Ray Winstone has the right amount of humor as the deceptive, albeit predictable character of George McHale. John Hurt is kookily brilliant as the once-genius Harold Oxley, who goes nuts in search of the skull. Karen Allen is just there.

Even though the ending of Indy 4 calmed the audience down of the hopes of the sequel, who know with the Hollywood fat cats will think up for a quick buck. Anywho, Indy 4, not so good. Still the actors can teach other Hollywood films to actually care in their sinking ships of a film.
You did OK, Indy. You could of used some Sean Connery.



Other Indiana Jones films:
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) ****
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) ***1/2
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) ***1/2

DVD Review: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly ****
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Written by Ronald Harwood, based on the book by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Starring Mathieu Almalric and Max von Sydow

Picture yourself in this situation: Your a big editor at a big fashion magazine. You may be in your 40's, but your living life like your 20's. Even though you are an adulterer, you love your kids and you know your mistakes. Then one day it stops. You unexpectedly suffer a massive stroke. You fall into a coma, and when you wake up the only thing moving are your eyes. It turns out your right eye has to be sewn up because it has lost it's moisture. Your left eye is your only portal to the world.

That is what Jean-Dominique Bauby had to experience.

The movie, based on the book he dictated while blinking his left eye through a creative method, is a marvelous work of a art. what could of been a cheesy, cliched movie, is instead a film about creativity and the human spirit. Thank Julian Schnabel for his direction and Janusz Kaminski for his cinematography. For the first twenty minutes of the film, you are Bauby. The camera moves around like a curious animal, looking at the world he can only see. You want to see more, but you can't, since Bauby can move a muscle. All you see are wonderful colors and light. Even though you are down, you still have your spirit. Thank the cast for the heartfelt performances, especially that of Mathieu Almalric, as Bauby, and Swedish legend Max von Sydow, as his father. Almalric just doesn't read the lines, he lives them. Who knew that one person can convey so much emotion as totally crippled man. von Sydow delivers the goods in a performance that breathes humor and intense emotion. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one of those films you will never forget. A truley magnificent work about the human spirit. It sends you on an emotional roller coaster. If you do not feel moved by this film, there is something wrong with you.

Tribute: Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)


Sydney Pollack died on Monday, May 26th. He was 73. The cause was cancer.

Sydney Pollack was a unique director in his own right, as he often starred in his own films. Also, unique was his ability to craft film with creativity and warmth. Some managed to be both humorous and emotional. Others were tense and thrilling. With films like Tootsie, Out of Africa, and The Firm, Sydney Pollack made films that were loved by both the people and critics. It's a shame that cancer took away his life as he was destined to pump out a few more films till he was 80. What a shame. He will be missed.

Senioritis

I have been very lazy lately. It is because I have a condition called "Senioritis". Anywho, I have two new reviews, one good on DVD, and one so-so in theaters right now. There is also going to be a tribute post for Sydney Pollack, who passed away a few days ago. Time to work. Wait for that next post.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What the Fuck? "The Class" is the Pamle D'or winner?


Seriously, The Class? A movie about a young teacher dealing with a tough classroom? Dude, I don't know how it is in France, but every week in the USA we get a movie about teacher dealing with crazy shit. Maybe it's because it was the only film that put a smile on Cannes faces. I mean some of the films were depressing. But still, it's a French version of an inspirational story of a teacher who reaches ghetto-ass kids. Seriously, how much artsier did Blindness had to be to win? Did the Dardennes Brothers had to do back flips to get their third. Che didn't come out for you? How bout the crazy animation of Waltz with Bashir? Clint fucking Eastwood, proving to be an awesome director again, and you didn't give him the award? And to add to this, Jury President Sean Penn made a contradictory statement saying that Cannes should be the opposite of the Oscars, who, according to him, reward the "consummate art of manipulation and good marketing." Dude, you won an Oscar, and The Class is something we Americans can pull out of a wealthy Jewish man's ass. Cannes, you got me down.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jack Black is Robin Williams' Lost Son


Seriously. Either he is the Son of Robin Williams, or smokes way too much crack.

Cannes Update, Sorta














Cannes is funny. You get films like Blindness, then you get films like Kung Fu Panda. Talk about diversity. Anywho, the films in competion today were one from Argentina and one from Israel.


Pablo Trapero gets smooches from the stars/fuck buddies of his latest film, Lion's Den, which is about a pregnant women in jail, who gives birth and must decide to raise him or not. Below me is a nominee for photo of the year:

The other film is from Israel. Ari Folman directs Waltz with Bashir, an animated film about certain Middle East topics. Judging from the screenshots, this one looks like this years Persepolis, something that will change animation.












Some more later or tomorrow. I'm out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Film Fest that's not as big

Today, me and the guys from TV production went on a trip to the Student Arts Festival over at Middlesex County College. The day started out with an argument led by obese critic Matt Hahn about viewing movies at right theaters. He pulls in Rob Mannanice in his furious rage and would not let go. However, we were trapped on a bus full of naive freshmen, the trip was awesome. We viewed videos from fellow TV students. I must say Monroe Township had some really good videos. One of them involved a jock being on choir, and it was done in a cliched, rise and fall, type music movies. One of the kids from Monroe, however, was a character. When we first heard him speak. We thought, "This can't be, this has to be a joke". Well, it was no joke. The kid talked like if he was a female version of Woody Allen. As Pat Cyckowski said, "He should loosen the vice grip on his nuts". Right on, brother. That kid made me miss our school's sorry excuse of a lifeform, Jeremy Chazen (and the word of the day was, "Gelatinous" or "Gelatin") But watching videos from our, and other schools, was a delight. Unfortunately, Mr. Reed should of told us to send in some of our productions, instead of Justin Ho's (no offense to him; his was good). All in all, it was good trip, and hope to go to one of these again sometime soon.

The Cannes Film Festival has Started!!! Hooray!!!











Ah..... It's that time of year again when auteurs and celebrities cross paths. That time of year when movies are made or broken. It's the Cannes Film Festival, the bestest festival in the world. The opening film of the competition is Fernando "I made City of God" Meirelles' Blindness, a favorite to win. Other big films that are in competition include Steven "I'm the youngest Palme D'or winner" Soderbergh's much anticipated Che, The Dardeness Brothers' Le Silence de Lorna, and Clint Eastwood's The Exchange. This is the full list:












The Jury's big honcho's this year include Sean Penn as President, Alfonso Cuaron, and Natalie Portman. The full Jury:
It looks like this year's winner will be an English-language film judging by the jury. Then again, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, beat out No Country for Old Men last year. There are always upsets afoot.


And we all know that the new Indiana Jones movie will be premiering. This will be make or break for the advertisers, as this movie will premiere on the 18th, and it will come out on the 22nd. Huh? If it's a stinker, that's not enough time for damage control, especially in the Internet age. The 4th Indy film has some good, like Cate Blanchett and Ray Winstone, and the bad; my arch nemesis Shia LeBouf is in here. Seriously, he's a fucking dork. How'd he get so big? It phases me.

Also, Woody Allen's new film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona will premiere out of competition. Shame. The-Godfather-of-all-Self-Hating-Jews should come in competition to deal some serious pwnage. With it's awesome cast including Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and the supposed sex scene between SJ and PC, and the rumored threesome with the gang, Woody, well, got his wood on.

Anywho, the Cannes Film Festival will always be an interesting one, and I wonder what director will hold the Palme D'or over his head when the Festival ends on the 25th.



I CALL IT, FRIENDO: Blindness will be the big winner.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Matt Komar's review of Eastern Promises (on DVD)
















Eastern Promises **1/2
Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by Steven Knight
Starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts

David Cronenberg - Great Director. He has managed to start out in cheap horror movies to become one of the finest directors out there. He is also known for his violent imagery. So when one thinks of Cronenberg and a movie about the Russian Mob, one thinks "bloodbath". Well, not really that much of a bloodbath, but that doesn't matter. The film, which is neither bad or good, could have been a crime drama classic. We've seen Italian, Irish and even French mob classics, but never a classic on the Russian mob, yet it has rose meteorically since the fall of Communism. Cronenberg could have easily make this a crime classic, with his reputation and all, but with that, and the script by Steven Knight, it has failed to do that, instead going for a character study. Anna (Naomi Watts) is a midwife who delivers the baby of a young Russian immigrant, who leaves only a diary in the world. She unsuspectingly falls into the world of the Russian mob, despite her uncle's warning. During the events, she come into contact with Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), a driver, or so we are led to believe. That as far as I'll go with plot. There's nothing much though, despite a twist and a really awesome fight scene between a naked Nikolai and two goons. With it's slow pace and not so monumental plot, Promises should of, would of and could of pack a punch. Despite an enigmatic performance from Viggo Mortensen, and a rather interesting ending, the film fails to captivate the viewer and such. There are problems with film because of it's genre. It's a crime drama first and foremost. And it involves family. Oh, what film does that remind me of? What would of worked without changing the formula was go for a Le Samourai type approach. They already have a mysterious leading man, and has some noir elements (the unsuspecting person falls into the crime world), and that would of made for a much interesting and cool film. But it goes for the drama approach, failing to remember that it's a crime drama. Mr. Cronenberg, you had a missed opportunity.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I DRINK YOUR INTERNET

It has happened again. You know it, I know it, and another movie quote has become the catchphrase. Last year was about "THIS IS SPARTA" and any line from a Judd Apatow movie. This year is an unlikely one though. It's from Paul Thomas Anderson's ambitious film There Will Be Blood. The line, uttered by Daniel Day-Lewis as oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in the film's final scene as he confronts Paul Dano's Eli Sunday, goes like this:

Plainview: Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake!
[sucking sound]
Plainview: I drink it up!

And thus unintentional comedy is born.

Soon after the film is released, a website called "There Will Be Milkshakes" sprung up and has become a forum discussing the film. It also plays the sound clip. Eventually, some people online discuss the film and the line. Then because of Oscar buzz, SNL does a sketch devoted to the line. T-shirts shart popping up online. Then those online comedy troupes take advantage of the line and do their own intrepertations of the scene. With the DVD release, now we see YTMND's and other videos parodying the scene in various ways (My favorite being this one) .And it's official "I Drink Your Milkshake" is the first movie line to be advanced by the internet.

You look at other films in the Internet age that have had popular movie moments and lines and you think "That can't be. At some point one movie's line or scene has been made popular by the internet". Nope. The reason why movie lines take off is because people have seen the movies. Let's take a look:

"I Drink Your Milkshake" -There Will Be Blood - $40,222,514
"My Precious" - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - $340,478,898
"THIS IS SPARTA!!!" - 300 - $210,592,590

There Will Be Blood hasn't even made $50 million. Most memorable movie quotes came from very popular movies. Casablanca. The Godfather. Forrest Gump. The list goes on. Who saw TWBB? Critics, PTA fans, and more adult viewers. But some movie loving teens or twentysomethings got hold of the quote and blew it out of proportion. That age group always catches on to something first until it gets out of control. And most box-office smashes are targeted to that age group. TWBB and I Drink Your Milkshake was lucky. Here's the new movie quote fame equation: 13-28 + Internet = Pop Culture Fame. Drink it up, everyone.

Watch the scene here
or the unfunny SNL sketch here