Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm a Pierce!

Your results:
You are Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan
Sean Connery
George Lazenby
Roger Moore
Daniel Craig
Timothy Dalton
Very smooth and charming. Sometimes angry and rebellious, the fifth actor to play James Bond in a movie proved to be witty and mysterious.

Click here to take the James Bond Personality Test

Goddamn, they did it again

That's right. I'm a dork. I often try to trap spiders in the hopes that one day, the proper one will bite me and I'll be able to attain the same powersd as Peter Parker.

And while my delusional fantasy world often comes crumbling around me (sadly, too often) I can take comfort in knowing that Sam Raimi and his dilligent crew are hard at work entertaining me in an experience that's as close to being Spiderman as I will get.

(For now)

Behold, the new teaser for Spiderman 3. I wet my pants with glee.

And because I had too much iced tea.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Another distraction from your daily life

I'm gonna try and get this correctly.

if it works, you should see something.

Sadly, it's not porn.

But it is a good waste of 4 minutes that could be used collating. Or looking up aforementioned porn.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hey kids.... the return of TWEENERS!!!!

Yes indeed, a return to the movies that have long since past their usefulness for my reviews. But that doesn't stop me. Here you go, kids, several tweener reviews for flicks that have already come out. some are even out of the theaters by this point, but can still be caught at the local $2 theater, which is how I wind up seeing them. Here we go:

V For Vendetta: I realize this is long gone from theaters, but I promised a certain lad named Brady that I'd write up my opinion. Unfortunately, I've smoked so much hash that I don't remember all that much about it. I do remember it looked gorgeous, and I had a really good time at it. I remember my then girlfriend LOVING it. There were cool scenes of actions. And Hugo Weaving in a mask was a lot more compelling than you'd think. I remember thinking it could have used one more big action set piece, but then thinking that the marketing was all wrong, making me anticipate a big, Wachowski gun love affair, when the film is a political discourse. Still, quite a decent flick and worth seeing if you haven't already done so.

Lucky Number Slevin: It has the most over-elaborate revenge plot since Oldboy, but damn is it fun. Kind of a throwback to the late 90s, when Tarantino rip-offs were all the rage. Still, there's no denying it was a fun time. I like Josh Hartnett, and damn if he doesn't do a good job in this. Bruce Willis, equally as good. Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley as rival mob lords living directly across from each other. I liked the world the film painted, and I had a damn fine time. Like I said, the plot is ludicrous, but that doesn't matter. It's a worthwhile use of time, certainly much better than most flicks I've caught this year.

Friends With Money: One of the more surprising little flicks to come around, I wound up enjoying this too. It's simple, four female friends who don't revolve their lives around the belief that they live in an episode of Sex and the City, talk about life and such. One of them, Jennifer Aniston, doesn't have as much money as the rest, and spends her days as a maid. And a pothead. Joan Cusack, Frances McDormand and Catherine Keener play aforementioned friends with money. Of them all, Frances McDormand is the best, as her character has a lot that I can relate to. (Without giving too much away, she feels that manners are lost in the world, and she hates the degradation of society et al. She's the funniest and the most real. But then, I don't agree with her not showering). What worked for me was that the flick doesn't wrap up everything in a neat bow. It provides solutions for the characters, and then it's up to them. Still, the writing is clever and witty, and the whole thing is a lot of fun. A nice change of pace from movies where shit blows up and dudes have claws shooting out of their hands. (Coming up later)

The Benchwarmers: I saw this because someone read the "Band Script" I collaborated on, and they felt both movies were in a similar vein. Having seen Benchwarmers, I can attest that my movie is a lot better. Still, Benchwarmers is not without merit, and one of the better wastes of 85 minutes you're lucky to have until said Band script gets made. (Hopefully soon). Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder do the idiot thing, and they do it really well. Jon Lovitz shows up as a billionaire dork, complete with a working robot and a bunch of stormtroopers in his house. (Of the Star Wars variety). The plot holds together, sadly, and the jokes are pretty damn funny. And the ending of the flick, I respect more than anything, because it's the only ending to a film like this that felt original and different. I couldn't believe it. I sat there and admired the hell out of the flick solely based on the ending. That and the fact that they had a dude say "I want a little man" referring to a midget on the field. Then someone hands the guy a midget. Genius.

M:I:3- As far as high octane, big summer releases go, this has been the one I've enjoyed the most. It needed to be released in mid June or July, though, when you can shut your brain off and enjoy air conditioning for two hours. Lots of explosions, exciting stunt work, a script that kind of makes sense, and for the first time, the feeling that the entire team was what solved the problem, not just Tom Cruise. In fact, Cruise is the weakest part of the flick. All the supporting characters are at the top of their game. Philip Seymour Hoffman was a good choice for the villain, the members of Cruise's team are pretty solid (the highlight being Simon Pegg as the tech guy who helps out. Whenever he came on screen, I became incredibly happy. Granted, I have an unnatural fascination with Shaun Of The Dead, but still). I liked the witty banter from Laurence Fishburne (his line about the Invisible Man takes a moment, but is one of the better throwaways I've heard). There was even one glaring moment in the script that I just hated, but was quickly distracted by an explosion to dwell on it for too long. It's by far the best of the franchise, even if it is an overglorified episode of Alias that finally got the budget to shoot in China instead of faking Burbank to meet the needs.

X-Men: The Last Stand- Disappointment, thy name is X3. Man, way to shit the bed of an awesome franchise. the thing is, I don't blame Brett Ratner. Well, not TOO much. He directs the action scenes really well, although none of them top the opening of X2. No, the problem is in introducing tons of new characters and doing nothing with them. Angel is completely useless and serves no function in the story whatsoever. Magneto's new henchmen are kind of interesting, but again, we barely even have any time to register a name before they're either killed off or forgotten. The whole Dark Phoenix thing was pretty lame. The Cure could have been interesting, but it wasn't used to it's potential. Characters are killed off for no good reason other than because people wouldn't expect it. (Although, when I heard characters were dying, I called out which ones, and I was right. Not to brag, but I DO rule). And Halle Berry. for a woman who bitched and moaned about this thing from day one, she finally got her wish to "do more", which judging by this film, means that she has more time on camera where she stands around reacting. Badly, I should add. But there were scenes that kicked a lot of ass. Like Magneto rescuing Mystique. That was a badass scene. And when Wolverine is in the woods, about to fight the Ewoks. I may have made that last part up. Still, it was a disappointing end to something that could have been unbelievably kick ass. And don't make Wolverine cry.


Alright, that's all I got from the Tweener file. I'll no doubt have more, as Silent Hill, Over The Hedge, and The Davinci Code are all playing at the $2 theater, and I don't mind paying for The DaVinci Code if it's only $2. Or if I sneak into it after something else. Then again, I could just about do anything else and I'd be a lot happier.

3 Fast 3 Furiouser!

Hey, did you see Vin Diesel at the end of 3 Fast 3 Furious: Lost in Translation vs. Mothra?


I did. And I haven't even seen the ending.

Or the middle or begining for that matter.

I saw it in the ad. (And to be fair, I read a spoiler on Ain't It Cool News from someone who went to a test screening and said that's how it closed out.)

And yet, here I am talking about it. Why? Because I saw Vin Diesel in the damn ad. Way to go marketing people. Way to give up the only possible moment of cool to embrace the whole damn film. That would have been a nice surprise, like when Connery shows up at the end of Robin Hood, or Lance Henriksen at the end of Super Mario Brothers. (I had no idea that was coming, did you?)

But no. You figured that audiences wouldn't go see a Diesel-less (or, sadly, more to the point a Walker-less) movie about being fast and/or furious. so they blow their wad for 1 second of air time. it's just kind of sad.

Now, I could be wrong. It could happen at the beginning of the movie, sort of start us out right. But I have a feeling that's not the case. Unless Paul Walker swings down on a rope, and says "BRO!" the whole time down, there's nothing left about this film to surprise me.

Well, except maybe it actually being GOOD. Lord knows it can't be worse than 2 Fast 2 Furious, which I recently read has the distinction of being the most unintentionally homoerotic film since Top Gun.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Walker.

A few minor updates

Hey all.

I've decided to update the blog a little bit, and make a few minor changes. There are some links on the side now, I finally got those working. I've linked to several more successful and entertaining blogs, which if you frequent these blogs, you'll notice that they are all linked to each other as well. It's funny, in a weird inbred kind of way.

And yet, here I am, hoping to join the gene pool. Well, not really. But I find these sites interesting, and they occupy me through my boring days when not retrieving office supplies and groceries for the tireless editing crew here. You'll also find some of my reviews and such over at Moviesonline, where I write under the nom de guerre "The Dude", which is really embarassing when I go to screenings, and they ask me who I write for and what my name is.

(I'm still waiting for my now 2 quotes to appear on a poster: For the Devil's Rejects "It's got balls" - The Dude, Moviesonline.ca
AND for the Proposition
"It's so manly it should begin with a shot of a scrotal sack, just so you know what you're about to deal with." - The Dude, Moviesonline.ca

Although, looking at them both now, people will say I have a small fixation.

To those critics, I say maybe D has a fixation.


You got burned so badly.)

Yeah. So, anyway, here are some links. Keep your eyes peeled later in the week, because I'll have a few things going up. I haven't seen any movies lately, but I could cover older stuff. Or I could make up reviews for movies I haven't seen yet. In fact, that sounds like a good idea.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The return of DanSpeak: 6-15-06

On the postal systems lack of service: I'm so pissed my porn hasn't gotten here yet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This is the funniest thing I've read today...

...which, given yesterday's prime bit of hilarity, could be a step backwards.

But still, this is good. It comes from a website called "Living The Romantic Comedy" (http://livingromcom.typepad.com/my_weblog/) which is one of the countless sccreenwriting blogs I encounter all day when I should be doing work. Although I like to think that this is my job now, reading these. Anyway, the main guy Bill wrote this great line:

"For the edification of my L.A. readers: a play is a piece of dramatic/comedic writing that's performed by live actors in front of a live audience -- kind of like this "live TV" stunt they just pulled on The West Wing, only without the cameras. I know, nutty, huh? But plays are done a lot in New York, where some people consider them foreplay. "

Brilliance. My co-workers look at me with strange eyes now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This is too damn funny

I came across this interesting tidbit, this morsel of self promotion that has so much testicular gumption, it oughta name itself "The Proposition".

(I'm sorry, but that movie kicks an obscene amount of ass.)

No, this is one of the stranger things I've seen, but I guess these days, it's what the people want.

I have trashed Uwe Boll on many occasions. I've outright declared TO THE MAN'S FACE that I hate House of the Dead. (I failed to tell him that I own a copy, just to show people how inept a motion picture can be). Alone in the Dark isn't much better, and Bloodrayne, while a vast improvement over the other two, is still pretty terrible. And yet, he continues to make films. he truly is the new Ed Wood, but I think he might be a little too self aware of that status.

Still, he was a charming guy, really nice, and surprisingly lucid when it comes to talking about films. (I hold a soft spot in my heart for the fact that we both agree on how much the ending of War of the Worlds sucks balls). He's got a nose for what's not working in other people's flicks, but he still can't make that work for his own films, unfortunately.

I had hope for Uwe Boll. He seemed to be improving with each film. Sure it was with baby steps, but progress is progress.

Until now.

Now I read this: http://www.darkhorizons.com/news06/060613b.php

And then Ain't It Cool News pointed potential haters to check these out as fuel for the fire:



The guy has a serious pair. Or a massive head wound that's making him say things like it's Bacon Day. What intrigues me the most is how he's going to work the footage into the film. Will it be random and sporadic until tumbling towards idiocy, like the video game footage cut into House of the Dead? Will it be pointless and useless, like my idea of putting old footage from the unfinished Low Cool into something new? Or will it just wind up on the cutting room floor when nobody shows up to participate?

I bet Roger Avery takes him up on it. That strikes me as something he would do.

Boll is quite delusional, but I give him a B+ for effort, which will most likely be the highest amount of praise I will give an idea of his.

The man's got gumption. And me? I've got some training to do.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A double feature at the Arclight? Why not, I say.

As you may have noticed, I have been a miserable man of late. Not exactly myself, the fun, happy go lucky, acerbic and witty (not to mention devilishly handsome) guy that my friends and family know and love. (Or loathe, depending on who you speak to). I'm not going to get into the whole reasoning why, because it's no important, and because it'll make me cry at work.

So Dan, he of DanSpeak (which will be making it's way back as soon as he says something AWESOME) decided to take a little action in the cheering me up department. He felt that last Saturday would be best served hanging out at the Arclight and taking in a few flicks. Me, not exactly of sound mind, told him to go fuck himself, and then I threw the kitty litter at him. Being nimble, he cleverly dodged the projectile, rapped me on the head with his cane (Yeah, Dan sports a cane now. For style, he says) grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and forced me to go to the movies. Being that the Arclight brings more joy to me than Disneyworld, I agreed.

I still pissed on his chair for good measure, though.

Anyway, for those who don't know about the brilliance of the Arclight, allow me to inform. The Arclight is the movie theater that you WISH you had in your town. Luxurious seating, assaigned seating (so you don't need to show up an hour before the flick begins to beat everyone out for a good seat). They have delicious snacks at the concession stand (real butter on the popcorn, which gets messy). And they don't run twenty minutes of ads before the movie. In order to offset this, they charge a little more than normal theaters, but it's worth it, and on the weekdays the difference is minute. And for celebrity watching, it's not a bad place at all.

They run a lot of movies there, both independent and big studio fare. And on this particular Saturday, young Daniel and I partook(?) in two of the indies; The Proposition and District B13.

The Proposition

Last year, I used the phrase "It's got balls" to describe The Devil's Rejects. The Proposition exceeds that claim so much that it should begin with a shot of a scrotal sack, just so you know what you're up against.

Instead, the movie opens with a nice, quiet credit sequence that shows some pictures of Australian colonial history, while a nice folk tune plays on the soundtrack. Then the gunshots begin. And the blood. Oh my the blood.

Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) and his brother Mikey (Richard Wilson) are in a shack, exchanging gunfire with the colonial forces, led by Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). It's loud and hectic and brutal. After Mike is injured, the fight ends, and the Burns brothers are arrested. Stanley offers a proposition (title) to Charlie: If he hunts down and kills his other, more vicious brother Arthur (Danny Huston, who I normally HATE in any movie) then Charlie and Mike are free.

Naturally, Charlie takes the assignment and heads off into the harsh realm of the outback. Sweat and dirt are quite prevalent. So is blood. And violence at every turn. At one point, Charlie makes his way to an outpost where a bounty hunter by the name of Jellon Lamb (wonderfully played by John Hurt) is hiding out,waiting for Arthur to emerge from his hiding atop a mountain cave. their exchange is like the rest of the film, which I just used to describe the outback landscape.

Back in the "settlement", Stanley has to deal with politics from the motherland, personified in this case by David Wenham (he was Faromir in the Lord of the Rings films, and he was also in Van Helsing). Stanley's wife Martha, played by Emily Watson, is also involved, as one of her best friends was raped and murdered by Arthur and his gang. These bleak characters in the desolate setting add up to a pretty nihilistic moviegoing experience, but damn is it worth it.

The screenplay was written by Nick Cave, he of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I wish I was more familiar with the man's music, but if it's anything like his screenplay for this film, I might need to give it a good listen. It's spare and elegant, and never does it flinch. It's a rough life for these characters, and there is no real way out. The beauty of the landscape is captured perfectly and only enhances the overall mood of the flick.

Guy Pearce owns this flick, and he barely utters a word. He's not quite an antihero,
but he's not exactly the most moral of men, either. Still, sporting a beard from his Ravenous days (and an equally sickly look), he rides around the desert, and carries the grim reality around him like a chip on his shoulder. As Arthur, the even more immoral brother, Danny Huston makes me take back every bad word I've uttered about him from his previous films. He makes Arthur into a very Col. Kurtz character. While not exactly a great human being, he is wise and adapt to the new land that just holds so much hostility. And Ray WInstone plays Stanley very well, as a conflicted man who wants to try and "tame" the wild land he lives in, which is a futile effort, to say the least. And Emily Watson brings a nice added touch of sensitivity to the whole proceeding, but is rendered moot by the sheer ass kickery the movie has in store.

Directed by John Hillcoat, the film plays out almost like the last twenty minutes or so of Unforgiven. Justice does not necessarily need to prevail out in these badlands, because it doesn't really belong there in the first place. Every aspect of this film, from the camera work to the performances to the score, works together to paint a grim picture of a land without hope. Even the garden in the middle of the desert that Martha sets up has a reek of last desperation, of hope in a hopeless land. The outback in the Proposition is not a place for hope. It's a place for blood. And damn is it a visually arresting place.

It's the best movie I've seen this year. Do yourself a favor and see it before it seeks you out and kicks you in the groin. If you have young children, take them so they can see what being a man is all about. And if they cry because of the violence, make them watch it again until they stop. Life's cruel sometimes, and this movie reminds us of that constantly.

So, after a nice lunch at the cafe (yes, the Arclight has a cafe with booze and assorted sandwiches, including the Arclight club which has turkey, roast beef AND bacon, and was much needed after watching a flick like The Proposition) it was time to take on the second flick of the day:

District B13

District B13 is a movie about two guys kicking a bunch of other guys. And doing it in inventive and clever ways that are kind of missing since Jackie Chan and Jet Li came to America. (As much as I want Tony Jaa to cross over, part of me thinks it would be a bad idea, and you wouldn't have him break 30 GUYS ARMS in a row).

It's co-written by Luc Besson, who I'm starting to admire more and more as a writer and less as a director. (given that he finally directed a movie after 6 years, but it's only in France right now, I'm allowed to mock the man). The movies he writes for others, like The Transporter and Unleashed, are just good fun. And there's usually a lot of ass kicking in them. And sometimes, that's all you need.

District B13 takes place in the near future, where Paris has become so out of control, that they've taken to walling off sections of cities. District B13 is the most notorious, as it's overrun by a crime lord named Taha. He runs things with the help of his 2 fast 2 furious crew, driving around in sporty cars and selling heroin to the kiddies. Not taking any of Taha's guff is Leito. Leito begins the moving having stolen some heroin (and by some, I mean a lot). Taha's not too happy, so he sends thugs to kill Leito. Leito escapes via the most ridiculous way imaginable, by climbing and jumping his way through rooftops and alleys. Eventually, Leito is betrayed by the cops and arrested, and Taha is free to run B13, now with Leito's sister Lola at his side. (She's being constantly fed heroin to keep her in check).

Six months later, there's another crime lord who runs afoul of a bust courtesy of Damien, a loose cannon cop who also dispatches ass with amazing precision. (the casino fight is a highlight, given that he could have easily escaped, but instead decided that everyone needed a good smackdown). Impressed by his skill, Damien's superiors have a mission for him (A proposition, not unlike the previous film I saw): Taha has stolen a nuclear weapon that has 24 hours until it detonates. Damien needs to break into B13 with Leito showing him the way, and they have to kick people's asses and save the day.

The movie recalls some great John Carpenter flicks of yore, notably Escape From New York and Assault on Precinct 13, and it crosses that with the sheer ridiculous factor that populated the Transporter series. Leito (played by David Belle) is a master of something called "parkour", which is a type of stunt work that involves climbing on fire escapes and parts of buildings and jumping off rooftops on to other rooftops. It's pretty damn impressive, and adding to that is the fact that these guys are actually performing these stunts without the use of computers or wires. And damn is it impressive when it's used in the film.

The problem with the film is that it could have used a few more scenes of this stuff. All the fight scenes and action sequences have a nice kinetic energy to them that makes it exhilarating, and that's what's missing from the rest of the movie. There are a few nice character touches, and some odd quirky moments (and a nice little twist towards the ending) but in the end, they don't really matter when all you need is to see someone get their ass kicked. Seriously, there are a few moments when people talk things out, which is good in real life, but not in a movie where dudes can jump over cars. These problems can be settled with fists (and feet) of fury. And while the fight scenes are badass as hell, there needs to be more.

Still, it should be seen for the action sequences it DOES have (the fight against the massive beast guy is pretty damn cool) and for a pretty banging soundtrack. And the opening credits are done with panache you have to smile at. If anything, you can also play a couple fun games, such as "Does the guy playing Damien look like Jason Statham from afar?" and "Is the chick playing Lola hot, or is it just because she's the only female in the entire movie?". (For the record, my answer to both questions was a resounding YES, even though the second question is a multiple choice question that doesn't really require a yes/no answer). It's a fun time at the movies, but it could have been so much more fun.

Oh well, there's always the next Tony Jaa flick.

Another funny coincidence?

So, I've been known to bitch and moan about how other people manage to have the same ideas as me (cough-BRAFF-cough) that makes life kind of disheartening to a fledgling screenwriter trying to make the big time. Or even the small time. More the "enough to get out of debt and live comfortably" time.

But there have been numerous occasions where the ideas in my head have suddenly turned up on a screen or on page. In fact one weekend, I had to sit through three consecutive films and watch an idea I had presented up on a screen in 2000 watt glory. (It would have been 3K glory, but Loews was too cheap to buy those bulbs). I'm not going to get into what they were, because it's sour grapes at this point, and stupid to dwell on it. (Although my vendetta for Braff lives on).

So I find it mildly amusing when I open the script of the show I'm working on, and the first character to speak in the whole damn thing is Professor Stephen Hawking.

Much like the opening of the brilliant "Burger Academy 2: The Vengeance" written by yours truly.

Again, just a mere coincidence, and they don't say the same things (his dialogue in BA2:TV is so brilliant, the script pages need to be written on gold) but it's starting to get ridonkulous.

Some random observations from this past weekend.

I think I'm becoming a hermit, as I spent most of the weekend locked in my room, avoiding responsibility, save for feeding the cat we're catsitting for. She was appreciative for the food, but not much else. But being a shut in rules, because you get to learn so much. Such as:

1). Hitman: Blood Money is an insanely kick ass game. I beat the whole damn thing this weekend. Of course, I beat it on the lame level, which makes it far too easy, but lately, being such a loser, it's nice to win at something. But the game is unbelievably addictive, and fun. It's more of the same, but the engine is different being that it involves more innocent people (there's a level at Mardi Gras, and one in a Vegas casino) and there's the "notoriety" aspect, where you can be seen by cameras, and then the press gets wind of you. You can remedy this by stealing security tapes everywhere you go, or by bribing the press. You can also customize weaponry and all I can say about that is my shotgun kicks a supreme amount of arse.

I'm scaring myself writing that. But the game rules.

2). If you call yourself a man, then you need to read "The Alphabet of Manliness." Written by God among men Maddox (http://maddox.xmission.com/), it's a run down, A to Z, from Ass-kicking to Zombies, of all things manly. (Or not so, depending on your definition). Filled with much the same wit that fills his ramblings, Maddox has proven himself a keen observer of the state of manliness, and he tries valiantly to reclaim our right to it. Brilliant book, I finished it in 5 hours. Then bought another copy, and read it again. Then, it kicked me in the nuts to remind me who's the boss.

In a strange twist of fate, I discovered something else this weekend while reading this book...

3) It's very difficult to read in a room when all your lamps have busted light bulbs, and the only source of illumination are blue Christmas lights.

4) Death Cab For Cutie is a good band. But man, are they depressing as hell.

5). I don't care what anybody (Cough-entertainmentweekly-cough) says, The Simpsons are still funny as hell, as witnessed by last night's episode where Mr. Burns outsources the nuclear power plant and Homer has to go to India. The B-plot involved Patty and Selma kidnapping Richard Dean Anderson and having a Macgyver convention of their own. I was in stitches the entire episode. Very well done, with so many funny moments. (The outsourcing short film was GENIUS, as was the Stargate SG1 convention). Holy crap, I wish I taped it. Time for Tivo?

6) I'm a sad, sad man.

But there's a silver lining to the cloud, which I am not prepared to reveal as of yet. In a few weeks time, all shall be revealed. Rest assured, something is brewing...