Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mystery Team (2009)

This may well be the "Citizen Kane" the "Magnificent Ambersons" of G-rated kid detectives trapped in a R-Rated world movies.
I can filch no no higher praise for this movie...By all means, sell the house, sell the car and sell your loved ones if you must, but all the same get to the Brattle Theater before Thursdays to see this amazing film. Three kid detectives now dorky high school student continue to patrol the playgrounds catching pie thieves and the like until and eight year old girl asks them with all due sweetness to solve the murder of her parents.
A set up worthy of Chandler IMHO in the hands of three aging "Hardy Boys" wannabees.
Filmed on location in Manchester New Hampshire (where I spent my formative years doing nothing with style), Mystery Team is a gross, tasteless and scatological in extremis, but it is also funny a cheap indie production that blew itself right into Superbad's orbit on the first try.
See it, Mystery Team won't be in town long.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fetishes: an informal iconography for straight men

1.) Green slave girls from Orion (Star Trek)

2.) Emily Deschanel

3.) Princess Leia and her Pittsburgh steel yard bikini (Star Wars)

4.) Emma Peel

5.) Uma Thurman's feet (by way of Quentin Tarantino)

6.) The very Late Betty Page

7.) Fembots

8.) Terry Garr

9.) The All American Dominatrix with the fake Teutonic accent

10.) Janeane Garofalo

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Avatar'd (2009)

It is always a bad sign when I have the title of the Mad Magazine parody of a big movie, down cold halfway thru the picture.
Oh don't get me wrong it is an amazing movie, a technical achievement of the first rank. But the script, in which a space marine (Sam Worthington's digital doppelganger) goes native on a planet coveted by a mining corporation only to lead the locals in an attack on their occupiers draws on everything from "Little Big Man" out to "Dances with Wolves"....And doesn't do much else quite frankly.
Spectacular, but unmemorable.
All I can say is, that it ain't no game changer til the script breaks as much new ground as the technology, and that is never gonna happen as long as James Cameron is in the director's chair.
No, Avatar is interesting chiefly for it's meta-context, digital avatars in Hollywood of Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver enacting a script about DNA avatars loping around verdant jungles of the planet Pandora.
Can Sigourney Weaver trademark and copyright the 40-ish version of her own sweet self that Cameron ended up using in the picture? Does that mean that a 40-ish avatar of Sigourney Weaver could be still working in Hollywood for the next ten years?
Can the digitize Buster Crabbe's physique and start making new Flash Gordon movies?
Start touching up everyone's time worn faces?
Why stop there?
Why stop anywhere for that fact?
Does the past now have an ending, with this technology in play?
I'm just hoping on the next application someone makes a better movie, I think I've got a long wait though.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Okay, on the plus side, it is another superlative performance from Robert Downey Junior even if his english accent wavers in and out all thru the movie. He gets the semi-divine curse that is the Holmesian super intellect, quite literally his deductive stills render him remote erratic and yet hopelessly needy.
Jude Law's Doctor Watson is a sort of thwarted man of action, he enables Holmes, puts up with Holmes' bizarre personal habits mostly because the Master Detective brings him the conflict and danger he craves.
Too bad the script is so meshugginah, eee-vil aristocrat plotting the downfall of Great Britain by subverting a bunch doddering old wankers and then massacring parliament. All executed with as much verve and action as any "Lethal Weapon" sequel, and that is the core problem, Holmes is not really an action hero for all his bona fides as a crimefighter. He is a problem solver, when the crisis degenerates into a plot to gas parliament, well that is a job for Batman not Sherlock. Holmes is an intensive character, the action ought to revolve around his thought processes and his interaction with the clues and suspects.
Super-scale settings and sundry explosions and even an ultimate fighting style sequence just don't suit him.
Still I give Director Guy Ritchie credit, he veered off the outright supernatural at the last minute but the whole thing felt less like Conan Doyle and more like Scooby Doo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A serious moment:

I provide a link to the Red Cross for anyone in my tiny readership who might wanna make some contributions for Haitian earthquake relief.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"Breath stupid! You forgot to breathe again!"

"We ALL put the yeast in!"

"G-U-N-P-O-W-D-E-R....Duhhh TOBACCO!"


"And when it disintegrates, it REALLY disintegrates!"

"As God is my witness, I really thought Turkey's could fly."

"It don't add up!"

"No, I'm delivering a bridge, and I've lost me way"

"Tain't a fit night out, for man nor beast!"

And a classic from my misspent youth in Antrim New Hampshire

"Wrecked em'? Damn near killed him!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My top movies for 2009

This would be a top ten list but due to my dad's illness I just haven't hit the movies as much as I'd a liked this year.
Hell I was lucky to see "Star Trek" at the drive in.

The Hurt Locker (2009) directed by Kathryn Bigelow Lu-uved this flick, best war movie I've seen in a decade. This and "Saving Private Ryan" are the twin pillars that hold up the heavens in my humble opinion.

Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg (2009) directed by Aviva Kempner Wonderful film about the rise of depression actress/writer/producer Gertrude Berg. She broke thru about three glass ceilings and hardly anyone today remembers her.

Afghan Star (2009) directed by Havana Marking All about the behind the scenes action on a Afghan style "American Idol" type show, proof positive that narcissism, greed, vanity, religious dementia and even sometimes a weird stoic courage can e found even in the remotest parts of this breathing Earth.

The World's Greatest Dad (2009) directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite Normally I loathe Robin Williams and the sentimental rubbish he appears in, but here, as a harassed high school english teacher who turns the suicide of his insolent and appalling son (Daryl Sabara) into a literary triumph, Williams finally pays off in spades. I think Williams is a blight on Hollywood but when he is good he is really good....Which only makes me all the angrier with him. Why does it take him ten yeas to find a script this raw and this good, doesn't he know how to say No to dreck like "Patch Adams".

District Nine (2009) directed by Neil Blumkamp Aliens, segregation, social science fiction, the second coming of Rod Serling in the Twenty First Century...What more could anyone ask??

Inglourious Basterds (2009) directed by Quentin Tarantino Mediocre Tarantino trumps nine tenths of the competition every time. The boy is that good. Besides anyone who is willing to completely re-write history just to give his movie a bang up firefight ending is aces high in my books.

The Informant! (2009) directed by Steven Soderbergh - Oscar class performance from Matt Damon as a sociopathic whistleblower at a chemical concern. Likely this film will be overlooked due to the heavy comedy content...Helluva shame.

Zombieland (2009) directed by Ruben Fleischer. Best zombie flick I've seen since "Shaun of the Dead". great performances, especially from Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, I just wish I'd a seen it at the Drive In.

Me and Orson Welles (2009) directed by Richard Linklater Ah the Sifu has lived to become a film legend all of himself, a Charles Foster Kane of the Theater, Cinema and TV wine commercials. If he had lived, no one would have appreciated the joke better than Welles himself.

As I said it was a tough year, both here and in my personal life, but better times are coming, watch this space for the details.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sh*t my mother says:

"Drive around the block and see if the roads are icy, if they are icy, I won't go visit your father at the VA hospital. If they aren't icy then you can drive me up there and drop me off".

Friday, January 01, 2010

Idle notion....

Angelina Jolie looks like Wednesday Adams idea of a Barbie Doll.
With those perpetually crazy eyes, that nose seemingly designed by I.M. Pei or a plastic surgeon of the brutalist school and her bloated too wide mouth, she might just fit in as a limb-hacker in the next round of torture porn movies.
Oh and she is in a new spy thriller called "Salt", the preview looks terrible.