Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category
The Benny Hill Show-End Credits
The Shining Yakety Sax
Manualist playing Yakety Sax on his hands
Man Trapped in Elevator for 41 Hours Yakety Sax
4/20 Parachute Stoner Dash Yakety Sax
A mash-up between Radiohead and Troll 2.
Play is a one-act play by Samuel Beckett. It was written between 1962 and 1963. This is a version directed by Anthony Minghella for Beckett on Film project.
I’ve had somewhat of a long weekend, being that I left work early Saturday and had my normal off day on Sunday. I blasted through a few movies, so this’ll be a rather long article since I plan to cover four movies.
First up, I’m going to kickoff a new, possibly regular, feature that I’m gonna call Steves’ Geriatric Jukebox! Named so, cuz you know, I’m an old fuckin geezer. I assume in this feature I’ll pontificate for a minute or three on whatever new music I happen to be pimpin in my sweet ride. And no, I’m not going to be talking about These Arms Are Snakes. I don’t know why I titled the article with that name, to be honest.
Steves’ Geriatric Jukebox!
I’ll kick this off with a huge shout out to one of the best bands you may have never heard. I was personally shocked when I recently first heard this band because they have been around for over 20 years and are huge in the UK. I am referring, of course, to Sparks!! This is some of the most unique and catchy (not always easy to achieve at the same time) music I have ever heard. Here’s a sample from their 2006 album ‘Hello Young Lovers’
I personally own two albums that have been released since 2000 and three albums from the 70’s, and there is obviously a little difference in the sound but it is still pretty unmistably the same band. It’s really kinda amazing that they’ve kept up the level of quality that they have after making music for so long. The band is basically two brothers with a rotating cast of musicians. Here’s a taste of some 70’s Sparks
I actually discovered the band by reading a blog similar to the one I am writing now, so I thought it only appropriate to do the same to help spread the word. This may not be your cup o’tea, you may hate or love it. I personally adore the shit out of these guys’ tunes. I’ll leave it at that for today. Just for kicks:
***End Jukebox Transmission***
I realize that you’ve probably seen this by now. I know that I’m a little late to the party on this one. I have to at least give it credit and recommend it just in case you’ve passed it by. See this movie. This is the kind of thing that makes film lovers love film. Every aspect is pretty much flawless, the acting is incredible (Casey Affleck especially), cinematography even because this is a damn good looking film.
The greatest trick being pulled here is that there’s no real suspense as to what is going to happen to the main characters. Hell, look at the title. You know that one character is going to be killed by another without knowing shit else about the story. Robert Ford, played by Affleck, grew up worshipping Jesse James (Brad Pitt.) When he reaches 20 years old he joins his gang and you’re treated to 2 hours and 40 minutes of respect and adoration slowly turned to jealousy and hate. All by some of the best actors out there (fuckin Sam Rockwell is in this, too) at the top of their game.
This is a character piece so it’s a hard one to write about, to be honest, unless I wanted to blabber on about modern vs classic westerns or how this differs from the other big western to be released last year (3:10 to Yuma)…but no, I don’t want to do that. So I’ll just say that it is well worth your time and money.
I’m on the fence for a big chunk of Stop-Loss. It starts out great with a group of Marines in Iraq enduring a battle situation as well as just hanging out killing time. I was thinking that this was going to be really something special. The soldiers are sent home after their duty is over, Ryan Phillippe is excited about being home. Then he is given orders that he is returning to Iraq, or he has been ‘stop-lossed.’ Basically, a draft only instead of picking civilians they draft soldiers whose combat duty has ended.
He attacks a couple of fellow soldiers, goes AWOL, and hits the road for Washington to take this up with some senator. Um, what? In the meantime, he is losing his grip and his temper a bit too easily. There are a few excellent scenes throughout of him and the other soldiers trying to come to grips with what they’ve had to do and what they’ve witnessed in the war. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of my favorite actors, is one example of a fully realized minor character that has more impact than the lead character. Channing Tatum, too, is pretty great.
If that’s all the movie was then it would really be great. I would have no problem with it. But the whole deal with Phillippe tracking down this senator while trying to maintain his sanity didn’t gel with me. If a real marine loses his grip I would expect a hell of a lot more delusion than he puts across. Kind of like his war buddies. They’re done well, it’s just the lead character and story that fell a little flat. Plus, the southern accents sound pretty phony on some of the actors.
Jesus, man. I mean, obviously this is going to be a shit movie. But, my question is the same one I have for the movie from a few months ago, Dead Silence. Why is it so hard to make a movie about a killer ventriloquist dummy and actually have the little fucker running around slicing people? If I rent a movie with a evil looking dummy on it, I want to see the bastard move. I want to see his little grubby hands performing the killing. I don’t want him to basically be controlling some other weak willed individual.
That said, this is…well, still pretty bad. Horrid acting. I mean, I don’t think they even fucking tried. There is some pretty funny stuff, here, though. I actually kinda enjoyed it, but you probably won’t. Just warning ya.
Aaron Eckhart, you are the fucking man! In Meet Bill he is a corporate whore who hates his job and pretty much every other aspect of his life. He busts his wife cheating with the local news celebrity while mentoring a high school delinquent while trying to open a franchise of the ‘Sweet Sweet’ donut shop.
There’s the basic plot. This is wicked funny, very smart writing, and there is a speech given by Eckharts’ character about how to get through life that is so true and poignant and hilarious that the film is worth watching for it alone. He is the star here. I think it’s pretty evident that he is getting ready to really blow up and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’ve dug his work for years and it’s about time that the rest of the world starts to realize.
This is the kind of indie comedy that tends to stick with you. Kinda like a Little Miss Sunshine sort of vibe. (Not that I think that Sunshine is even the best example of this type of movie, it’s just probably the most well known.) Oh, and to top it all off, Jessica Alba is in this movie and manages to not be terrible. Maybe after 10 movies (or whatever she’s done) she’s learned something about acting and is about to ascend to an acceptable level of mediocrity. Or maybe this is just too good for her to fuck up.
Bottom line- this is a definite recommendation.
Guess that’s enough for now. That was lots of typing, and plenty for you to read…so til next time kids……!
Spaced, the tv series by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (the team behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) was just released in the good ol UsofA this past Tuesday. The fucker is sold out everywhere, even Amazon.com. It’s been available in other countries for years and people have been clamoring for it here for just as long, myself included, but it looks like I’ll have to wait a little while longer.
I have found that there was a 7-disc Toxic Avenger box set released by Troma in April. It includes all four movies, all 13 episodes of the Toxic Crusaders cartoon, Apocalypse Soon-a documentary about the making of the original Avenger, and loads of other junk. I believe I’ll put my funds down for that in the meantime. I haven’t seen any of those movies since the old USA Up All Night days so it’ll be interesting to say the least.
Enough about all that nonsense, let’s get to the movies!!!
The first thing I like about The Ruins is the opening scenes. The first 20 minutes or so you’d think came from one of those terrible looking National Lampoon’s direct to video turds that fill the shelves at the video stores. The shift in tone is so sudden and creates such a dynamic that it’s a little unsettling and definitely keeps you interested.
The plot, being rather thin, is a group of four twenty-somethings on vacation in Mexico hear of archaeological site in the jungle of a real Mayan temple. They go to check it out. Shit goes down. To tell more really would be doing the film a disservice, but if you’ve seen the trailer you know that it involves lethal plantlife and lots and lots of psychological trauma.
There is where the film succeeds. The cast is small and filled with very capable actors who play their parts flawlessly. This is, more than anything else, simply a survival film with sprinkles here and there of supernatural overtones. The killer vine is the reason that they are stuck on the temple, but it never foreshadows the characters or makes you forget the fact that these are very realistic people in a likely situation, that of being stuck in a foreign land and held prisoner with no probable chance of survival.
The Ruins doesn’t pull any punches with the gore, either. There’re only a couple of scenes that go this route but when it does it makes you feel it. This is a pretty damn good movie and well worth your time. I’ve read the book it’s based on so my perspective was a bit different going in than it would be for most people who probably haven’t read it. I’m not going to do a side by side book to film comparison but I will say that if you’ve read it you should give the movie shot too because there is enough that deviates from the original material to keep you interested and engaged in the film.
I’m going to have to tell you that you must see this one. A ’signal’ invades the airwaves of all electronic devices (phones, tvs, radio, etc…) and anyone who stares or listens to the signal is basically reprogrammed to give in to their most primal and violent urges. The film was put together by three directors and it is broken into three segments, or ‘Transmissions,’ with each one directed by a different person. All three transmissions tell one continuous story, or at least portions of the same story from different points of view, but you will notice a difference in tone with each one.
This is definitely a pretty violent horror flick, with a strong impact due to the fact that there is time spent letting you get to know the characters. It starts with the insanity pretty early on but the directors know what they’re doing so they make sure that you don’t feel like you’re watching a movie filled with throwaway characters.
The closest thing I can think to compare it to is 28 Days Later for the idea alone. That film was more or less a zombie movie, though, and this one feels nothing like any zombie movie I’ve seen. The main difference being that in a zombie film you obviously know based on appearance who are zombies and who isn’t. In The Signal you have no idea if someone is crazy until they show it by snapping and attacking everyone around them.
That theme is played with throughout, especially in the second segment, which has the largest tone shift from straight horror into a sort of dark comedy. You’re left constantly wondering if the people in the movie actually are not infected and only attack other people when they are threatened, or if they indeed are infected and the people they’re attacking are innocent victims.
That is what makes this so excellent. It is a smart, creative horror film that plays on the ideas of trust and paranoia that are supposedly an inherent part of our society today. I don’t buy into that bullshit, I just think of it as a solid piece of work, but if you live in constant fear of terrorists blowing up your Wal-Mart then you’ll be mortified after seeing this.
Very very fucking highly recommended, if you don’t see this, you are nuts.
We saw The Dark Knight tonight. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this site before, but I am a huge comic book fan. I read monthly comics as well as graphic novels. It does irk me when people write off the medium as devoid of real meaning or importance. Some of the most powerful stories I’ve read have been in the comic form. Regular comic book stories do generally simply entertain, I’ll give the naysayers that. It is rare to find a lot of meaning in most of them. Graphic novels (basically an illustrated novel) tend to go deeper and have more intricate and detailed stories with highly realized characters and mature plots. The Dark Knight is, obviously, based on the Batman comic book character. It is based on a comic book character, but this is a graphic novel caliber story.
First, I don’t want to be one of the buffoons that hype up a mediocre film simply because I have a personal stake in it and enjoyed it for reasons that an average watcher may not. I know the difference in a film that plays to a niche market and one that has mass appeal. That being said, this is a fucking fantastic film.
I honestly can’t talk very much about the plot because I will not ruin anything in the film by giving it away. Just know that you are in store for an excellently written tale about a man (hell, a whole city) pushed and pushed to the point of breaking by an absolutely homicidal maniac. Heath Ledger as The Joker is stunning. Fucking brilliant. He is a sick, disgusting, vile creature without a trace of humanity. The Joker is unlike any Joker ever on film before. There is nothing cute or silly about him (though he does make you laugh quite a bit when he’s on screen) and the one thought that stuck in my mind while watching was that someone finally got this character right.
A running theme in the comics regarding The Joker and Batman is that they are, while mortal enemies, very much alike and dependant on each other. Without Batman, The Joker may as well quit because no adversary will ever compare. Batman, with his no-kill policy, will always have the one villain in which he cannot instill fear, the one person who can get under his skin the way no one else can. So throughout the years they battle over and over and create some really poetic and dynamic stories. This film addresses this conflict, on more than one occasion, which pleased me to no end. Ledger has created the definitive Joker and if there is another movie I really hope he has no part of it because I can’t imagine someone else coming even close to this genius.
The thing that worries me the most is that Aaron Eckhart not receive the recognition he deserves as Harvey Dent (or Two-Face.) In a way, the entire film is more about his character than anyone elses. It’s definitely a driving force. You really believe in his campaign to end crime in Gotham City. By the way, he’s my choice to play Captain America.
Don’t let people tell you any of the secrets in this one. Wait and see for yourself, even if you are waiting for the DVD. You’ll thank me later.
Now, a quick look at a handful of recent viewing:
The Orphanage-pretty damn good ghost story. Worth a look
The Good Humor Man-Solid indie flick about kids growing up in the 70s with drugs and nothing else to do
The Spiderwick Chronicles-I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that this is the best kids’ fantasy movie I’ve seen in recent years. It’s kinda like Demon Knight for kids. Seriously, watch this and think about the basic setup for both movies. See, I’m right!
…and I guess that’s all from me for now. I’m dead tired so I’m going to sleep now, and all you kids have a great night!
Mental Floss lists 6 movies that reportedly drove people over the edge.
First off, let me just put something out there. Owen Wilson should be dead, and Heath Ledger should still be alive. Can’t we get a trade off on that? As far as celebrity suicides go, the dice definitely rolled unlucky on that one. I like Wilson, I’ve always though he was funny, I’ve enjoyed most of his movies, and Drillbit Taylor is no exception.
Owen Wilson plays pretty much the same type of character that he always does. He doesn’t try and kill himself though. He’s cool, funny and makes you like him even though he’s playing the kind of douchebag that you would hate in real life. So, yea, pretty much the same character as always. Except Eli in The Royal Tenenbaums, I’d hang with that fucker forever. Or any of the characters from Wes Andersons’ movies, really. Ok, so not all his roles are pricks, but a lot are. Likable pricks, though.
We got three freshmen in high school who are severely ‘cool’-chellenged, get beat on every day by bullies, and look into hiring a personal bodyguard to fend them off. One thing that surprised me about this was the amount of pain these kids are put through. It’s a straight comedy, don’t get me wrong, but the bullying is pretty hardcore and violent at times and the fight towards the end of the movie goes pretty much all out as well. Don’t go in expecting anybody beaten to a pulp or anything, it’s just a bit more than I expected.
The three dorks are what make the movie great. They are all relatively unknown actors who bring a true sense of their loserness to the roles, and I don’t necessarily mean that as an insult. Everybody knew these kids in school and whether you want to admit it or not, a part of you was these kids. They’re hilarious and definitely the heart of the movie.
This is produced by Judd Apatow, and it is his weakest movie after The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad, but still worth a viewing.
Check out these 7 movies that are ‘based’ on a true story…well sort of.
Eventually it had to happen. With the rise of the “torture porn” genre over the last couple years, someone was bound to send it up in some sort of parody, or farce. I wouldn’t call Otis a parody, it’s more of a torture film with sprinkles of very very dark comedy.
Bostin Christopher plays the title character, an overweight loser pizza delivery guy with a penchant for kidnapping teenage girls, chaining them in a soundproof room in his attic, and forcing them to act out a high school prom that he obviously never had.. The plot concerns his current victim, Riley Lawson (or ‘Kim’ as he forces all his victims to call themselves. The reason for this is a little too funny and disturbing to spoil.) Riley escapes Otis (not really a spoiler) about halfway through the movie and he results of this action…..well, you’ve just got to watch.
This is a really low budget, independent flick (my favorite kind) that really is more entertaining than most better known pictures of its kind. I personally dug the hell out of this and urge anyone with any interest to definitely check it out. There is a pretty awesome classic rock soundtrack that enhances the film while seeming wildly inappropriate at the same time.
I don’t really want to give too much away, so I’m going to stop here and just tell you to see this one for sure. You won’t regret it.
Joy Division is a band I have always ignored. Not intentionally, simply because I was never exposed to their music and never took the time to seek it out. I knew them as the band whose singer killed himself just as they were beginning to reach the height of their popularity. The story of the singer, Ian Curtis, and the bands short lived career has recently been brought to the screen in two incarnations: a documentary called Joy Division and a biographical film called Control. I’ve yet to see the documentary, Control I have seen.
I’m usually not really a fan of music bio films. Take Walk the Line as a recent example. Everybody seems to love this one, but to me it fell flat simply because it tried to pack too much time into a small package and things happened so fast that I found myself unable to really connect with any of the characters at any given time. Walk Hard was much better, and a hell of a lot funnier. That is a typical feeling I’m left with, although those films do usually have terrific acting performances.
Control is an exception. I mark this one along with The Doors, Almost Famous (not a real band, but come on…this movie fucking rules), and The Man Who Fell to Earth (David Bowie plays an alien masquerading as a human. You trying to tell me this isn’t based on fact?) as music biopic films that get it right, that show the humanity and charisma of the character while also showing that he is a flawed human being that makes really fucked up mistakes and decisions.
Sam Riley, an actor I’ve never heard of, plays Curtis. Samantha Morton plays his wife, and plays her brilliantly. This is a woman who, while her husband is off on tour constantly, stays at home with their kids (whom he’s barely met) constantly remaining hopeful that someday he’s going to come stay home. She is also under the impression that he’s someday going to stop seeing his girlfriend, Annik (Alexandra Maria Lara.) You could say she’s naive, but played by Morton she comes across as undeniably strong and able woman. You know that the reason she does what she does is because she loves Ian so deeply that she will not discontinue supporting him in spite of his fuck-ups and betrayals, simply because she is the kind of woman who doesn’t turn her back on difficult situations and will stand by someone if she truly believes in him/her.
I don’t want to give away anything more (it’s a biopic, people, what can I really ‘give away?:) This is a damn fine film and I encourage you to watch it. If you’re like me, you will discover a great film and a great band all at the same time.
I want to make an honorable mention of a unique animated film called Persepolis, as well.
I watched a pretty big chunk of this movie and fell asleep, three different times. I don’t have anything negative to say about it, though. The animaton style is refreshing while being very old fashioned and the storyline is pretty fresh as well. It tells the story of a young girl in, I believe, Israel during a political uprising. I’m personally not really interested in the story being told, so it couldn’t hold my attention. I do think it should be seen though.