Friday, July 29, 2005


Gosh, it's neat. Not only is it neat to look at and neat to listen to, it's a really neat movie about a boy named Charlie. He's a cool boy. I liked that this movie is actually about him rather than being about Willy Wonka like the older musical version is. Johnny Depp is brilliant but he's definately not the hero of the story. He's the one who has to grow up -- or at least figure out how important his family is.

So, to be quick about it, here's what CHARLIE has to offer:
1. mind-blowing costumes (see how perfectly Charlies parents are dressed and the subtle connection between Wonka's purple rubber gloves and his father's white ones.)

2. mind-blowing effects.

3. cool music (and Bollywood dance numbers!!!)

4. disturbing images of melting wax dolls

5. squirrel attacks are the most frightening things ever

6. extreme close ups

7. heart-warming family values w/out the saccharine normally presented

8. some really scary little kids

9. a beautiful picture of a small impoverished town

10. a really enjoyable movie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


So I had a migraine all weekend. Naturally I watched BLADE TRINITY. Why did I do this? Why, in the midst of agony, would I subject myself to more? Well, it's quite simple. I didn't know I had a migraine. All I knew was A) a dark quiet home was the only place I wanted to be and B) I would have been far more comfortable if I'd ripped my left eyeball out. I didn't know that was a migraine until my co-workers diagnosed me as I was lying on the floor at work today. It's truly remarkable how a Coca-Cola and three Advil can heal someone. I'll never take caffeine for granted again.

But, that's not the story. The story is, because the local eye-ball ripper-out didn't call me to make an appointment, I was forced to do the next best thing which was to watch BLADE: TRINITY. Oddly, the pain in my head distracted me from the actual pain of the movie so I rather enjoyed it. It's pretty silly.

First of all, one of the best things about this film is the fact that Parker Posey is in it. She plays an evil scheming over-styled fashion-victim with Lee Press-On Nails stuck to her teeth who sashays around on spike heels with all the grace of a thirteen-year-old girl. She's remarkably like the evil over-styled fashion-victim who walks around with her mouth open while scheming to insert subliminal messages telling the world she's cool in the movie JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. At times it made me snicker, particularly when she was bossing the obligatory vampire muscle men around. I constantly expected them to suddenly rip off the sleeves of their shirts and start to carry her around for her musical number. She was pretty great.

I really hate this guy

Also in the movie is a girl who, the illegitimate daughter of Whistler, (Blade's father/keeper/enabler), who's into bow hunting, grunge hop on her IPOD, exposing her navel, and never smiling because it would make her face look too wide. She doesn't talk much, which is fine, 'cause it makes her actually cool. The one person who DOES talk a lot is some stupid guy who, while ripped in that I'm-remarkably-healthy-for-a-strung-out-junky way, is the most irritating part of the movie. I know he's supposed to be the witty banter/comic relief/guy who serves as a contrast to Blade's stoicism, but I hated him. I mostly hated him because his job was to use a lot of profanity and he really made a point of it. Profanity, as you may know, is either to be used casually, or in an attempt to actually call down the powers of darkness. Punching every R-rated word makes you sound like a 10 year old boy who wants to shock and awe his momma and ends up giggling in triumph while his mouth gets washed out with soap. For a movie like this, it's bad bad news and the audience hates this dude right along with Blade.

Pity the hot lonely Daywalker

But, where's the love story you ask? What's a Hollywood blockbuster w/ no luvin? Well, my friend, it's got one. Yup, it's right there and in a surprisingly subtle form. What am I talking about? Well, I'll explain so you won't have to watch the movie. It's right there, hidden in the plot. The story of TRINITY is about vampires who decide to wake up the original vampire and draw his blood so they can use it to clone "Daywalker" vampires. Then, when they've done that, they'll turn the entire human race into racks of brain-dead blood producers sandwiched between bits of Saran Wrap and rule the world, bwa ha ha. Daddy vampire, his name is Dirk or Stan or something like that, has very different ideas. You see, he's lonely. He went to sleep all those thousands of years ago because there wasn't anyone he could talk to, anyone he could relate to, anyone to swordfight with or walk around bare-chested while looking impossibly attractive with. He's a Daywalker and he's all alone. Sure his mouth splits open in three but what's the use when there's no one to share it with? When the vampires wake him up so he can kill Blade he recognizes his one chance for love in this century. He passes some very subtle hints to Blade at the beginning, going on about how no one understands honor and respect anymore, and when Blade ignores him he shows off a bit and stakes that annoying guy/potential rival in the chest. For this we are all grateful since it means stupid's not in two or three scenes. Then, when Blade doesn't call and ask him out, he goes in, eats all of Blade's friends and then takes the 6 year old girl. Rather than eating this little muffin he tries to talk her into becoming a vampire so she can be he and Blade's vamp-child. She rather unblinkingly tells him her friends are coming to kill him. "Oh good!" he thinks, "I get to see Blade again! That was pretty much the point." So, when Blade shows up Mr. Vampire engages him in a little swordfighting foreplay. He even compliments him on his witty banter. Blade, NOT being into it, takes umbrage and does his best to kill Mr. Man.

Poor broken-hearted vampire. He truly loved Blade, but being unable to kiss and hold him in the way friends and lovers do, he, while dying, decides to give Blade the only gift he can. He shapeshifts at the last second to look like Blade so that he can be with Blade, in a weird sick way, as he dies.

Cute, huh? And, I know you are grateful that I told you because now you don't have to see it since you know how it ends. Broken-hearted vamps die for emotionally frigid hunters. Just another day in the life of the City of a Thousand Stories and two hours of my Weekend in Hell.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin is one of those books that is so beloved that it is constantly made into movies. I am intentionally limiting myself to only 3 remakes of this literary classic but only because ya gotta stop somewhere. And because there's no way I'm going to be able to sit through the recent version PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, A LATTER DAY COMEDY. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. So, explanations over, let's get down to business.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) starring Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier. This film won an Oscar for Best Art Direction. It sure didn't win for costumes. All the women wear Civil War era hoopskirts and corseted bodices the whole time. When I first saw this movie I was about 9 years old. My mom had checked it out of the library to see if it was any good. She didn't like it. I was enthralled. Now that I'm older I don't like it either. All the Bennet girls are big teases and even Elizabeth turns her back and pouts at the softly flirty Mr. Darcy. All the varied scenes and times in the book are jammed into one or two exhanges in the movie and then they start adding stuff. This is bad. Elizabeth out-shoots Mr. Darcy at archery during a garden party. The Bennetts decide to move out of their house after Lydia's shame makes them local pariahs. But, what's worse, Mr. Darcy rides in the carriage with Lady Catherine and after the disasterous chat she and Lizzy have (during which Lizzy is rude and actually kicks Lady Catherine out of the house!) Lady Catherine goes to Mr. Darcy and tells him Miss Bennett will be a good wife for him. So, basically, it's been all Hollywooded up. Refreshing to find our time isn't exclusivly responsible for destroying classical literature. They did it way back when, too.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1995) starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Won and Emmy for Best Costumes. At 300 minutes, this mini-series is the definitive version. Nothing is left out, as any unlucky boyfriend forced to watch it knows. Every letter written, every carriage taken, every conversation held or not held is faithfully and beautifully shown to us in exhaustive detail. It's magnificent and I never have the patience to sit all the way through it. Inevitably I just go to the "good bits" which, no surprise, are the parts with Colin Firth. All the humanity and humor of Jane Austin's novel are preserved in this version but most of us don't have the moral strength to sit enraptured for 6 hours.

BRIDE AND PREJUDICE however, is an entirely different sort of movie. Another delightful Bollywood crossover attempt by the director of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, it is charming and sweet if a bit silly. Ashwari Rie, former Miss World, is breathtakinly beautiful even though she gained 40 pounds for the role. In this modern-day version, (with songs, of course, since it is Bollywood) Mr. Darcy is an American hotel magnet. Mr. Collins is a silly/cute Indian guy who pays to have everyone come from India to visit him in California, and Wickham is truly truly icky. For the first time Wickham is seen as a predator and you really are frightened for the lost little sister. As for the rest of the movie, there's some light preaching about Indian politics, a really funny cobra dance, and outrageously colorful street scenes, complete with elephants. Very very fun. If you're going to set Pride and Prejudice in modern-day times, India is the place to do it.

THE PACIFIER -- by naudy

It's bad. Very bad. You knew it was gonna be, but it's far worse than you think Disney can reasonably get away with. Sure it's a kids' movie, but does that mean it dosn't need continuity? Don't children deserve character development and rational motivations from their stories? Why should a shabby pastiche of cliches stand as acceptable early-childhood fare? I may not have been raised entirely on written fairy tales like an earlier generation, but I did have Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Sesame Stree may have encouraged short attention spans but it didn't insult my intelligence. Which is funny to say about a show I loved when I was 4 but it's still true.

THE PACIFIER is almost on par with MADAGASCAR which my nieces hated as well. I mean, they may be singing "I like to move it, move it, I like to .... MOVE IT" but that's all they took out of the theater because that's all that was there. Unlike THE INCREDIBLES, (which was on non-stop 18 hr play at my sister's house the first week the DVD came out) MADAGASCAR, SHARK TALE, and THE PACIFIER are souless, shallow, and pointless. Which is a shame, really, 'cause I wanted to like all of those movies. I mean, it's Vin Diesel! He's hot! He's bald! He's got a great voice! He wears lots of V-neck white T-shirts! What's better than that?!!

Not much as I'm concerned. Hopefully he'll soon be in a movie I can stand to not fast-forward through. He may not be nominated for an Oscar any time soon but he's too good to be thrown away on Made-For-Disney-Channel pulp.

SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION -- by Jacobus Scriptor

I just saw Shawshank Redemption last night. I’ve kind of wanted to see this movie since I saw a poster for it when I was in Korea. There’s something relevant to me about the symbol of a guy standing in the rain. I had also heard that it was good. Anyway, I haven’t in that time due to the fact that it is rated ‘R’. I have however let up significantly on my rated ‘R’ rule due to the fact that over the past few years I’ve seen quite a few such movies by accident or reputation or something and I’ve discovered that the rating doesn’t mean very much. When a movie can be rated ‘R’ for language it doesn’t make sense to not see it when I’ve surely heard worse a hundred times over at my job. It also doesn’t make sense to not watch a rated ‘R’ movie that deals with teenage drug use or disturbing images. I’m not a teenager to be influenced to use drugs and I’m usually not too disturbed. The sexuality bit might be a bit of a concern but I’ve found that movie references to sexuality pale before the materials I’ve studied in an academic context. I would need to give up anthropology before not watching such movies made any sense. The last part is violence. I’ve found that the majority of violence that results in most ‘R’ ratings is highly stylized, not disturbing, and is insignificant in comparison to my daily exposure in martial arts training.

The Shawshank Redemption’s ‘R’ rating fell cleanly into the category of ‘R’ rated movie it makes no sense for me to not see. The swearing was not very prolific, the sexuality was obliquely referred to, and the violence was either mostly highly stylized or not shown.

Overall I would say I liked the movie. I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it. One of the things I found interesting about it is the discussion about prison’s institutionalizing people and making them dependent on the prison structure and so forth. There are two points I need to make about this. First, I think the effects of prisons as depicted in the movie are consistent with the effects of schools in the real world. I have had a lot of friends over the years that got into or out of college and couldn’t figure out what they wanted to do with themselves. I think schools’ capacity for dictating to us what we are and what we are going to do prevents many from developing certain skills of introspection and internal locus of control. The second point derives from observations of my own students. A lot of the people who get in trouble with the law have certain behavioral disorders created by the way they were raised among other things. A very common problem is that as young children they did not have adequate structure and predictability in their lives. It seems from the Shawshank depiction that perhaps prisons often meet these kinds of children’s needs but do so in a pathological way. Those most vulnerable to the dependency are those who get stuck there.

I think the makers of this film really wanted to portray the hope thing in a big way. Something more interesting to me was the way the main character made his own prison experience more livable by making that of others more livable as well. He took lots of opportunities to provide for the needs and well being of other fellow inmates both in terms of helping them inside the prison and in preparing them to leave.

The last thing I want to mention enjoying about this movie is the kind of irony regarding the warden. He’s a bible-thumping churchgoer. He frequently preached to the inmates and had a cross-stitch thingy in his office talking about the imminent judgment of God. But at the end of the day he demonstrated basically no Christian traits at all. Meanwhile, our main character convict demonstrated a great deal of both hope and charity.

That’s all. Enjoy.

Friday, July 22, 2005



10. Ben Affleck -- painful.

9. Meg Ryan -- more painful.

8. Denise Richards -- sure she was funny in DROP DEAD GEORGUS but I'm not sure she was acting....

7. Madonna -- even her minor cameo in one of the James Bond movies was rash-inducing.

6. Andie MacDowell -- ugh. She makes charming movies intolerable.

5. Jennifer Lopez -- stick to music honey.

4. Liv Tyler -- if Peter Jackson can't get someone to act, they can't act. There is a reason she was hardly in RETURN OF THE KING and it had nothing to do with the book.

3. All of the Baldwin Brothers -- I don't feel I even need to explain why.

2. Julianne Moore -- sucks the life out of everything she touches.

and finally, the king of them all,

1. Keanu Reeves -- this man single-handedly managed to almost ruin MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and that was the best cast assembled in the history of time. He made us all feel dead inside when we were under the spell of the MATRIX series (believing there would at some point actually be a point to the whole mess.) He managed to not make me kill myself in CONSTANTINE but only because it was a spectactularly written movie. Paired up with Sandra Bullock he managed to have absoultely no chemistry and tried my patience during SPEED, which didn't go nearly fast enough. 2 Hours of my life I'll never get back.

Anyway, while there's lots of ways to kill a good movie, Mr. Reeves is the most efficient way. He has single-handedly demonstrated that he is the MovieSlayer and always will be.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Dear Conan,

Yeah, I got the "historical documents" you sent me about the first 25 years or so of your life. Well, we need to talk. Don't get me wrong. You've led a fasinating life....kinda. I mean I totally wish I could of walked in circles for years to get thighs of steel. My flabby butt gets tired walking across the room to get more food. I just want to know one thing: is the real reason you had the chick and the dude follow you was to keep applying the body oil you seemed covered in, or do you need constant validation on your masculinity because the big sword and size-defying muscles aren't enough? Another question: Were you really considering joining the Snake cult after seeing the orgyfest? Don't lie, I saw the sparkle in your eyes, paint can't cover that.

Your friend,

Dear Brooklyn,
Your death will be quick and painless, o frail little one. There is reason why all bow before me, and it has everything to do with my "big sword and size-defying muscles". I once was fond of you in a puny sort of way, but now no more. Krom will have no mercy for you in the next life.
King Conan

P.S. Do you still make potstickers? They make my blood boil and my heart beat greatly just thinking about them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

THE APARTMENT -- by naudy

It was one of those Friday nights. The sort of Friday night that finds you in the grocery store at 11pm. Ostensibly one is there to do some shopping so as to clear another annoying chore off the Saturday errand list. Really I was there because the siren song of high-carb, high-fat comfort foods called me out of the dent in my couch and my empty house. Yeah, it was one of those Friday nights. I was contemplating the deli case, watching the yellowed crusty vat of "Neptune Salad" to see if it was moving. (You know what Neptune Salad is. It's the stuff made with "krab".) I was wondering if eating said salad would kill me, how much I would need to eat to die, and if food poisioning due to gross misjudgement didn't somehow invalidate my life insurance policy when I decided to abandon such suicidal thoughts and go look at something else. I came upon the rack of VHS tapes. This grocery store happened to be liquidating their video rental stock and heaps of them were available for $4. (This is one of the miracles of outdated formats. You can get cool cool stuff for just about nothing. This is why I collect 8tracks.) As it was 11pm on a Friday night and these videos had been available at this price for about three weeks, the selection was limited. I discovered I didn't hate myself enough to wach a Stephen Segal film. I found I hadn't reached depths of self-loathing enough to subject myself to anything involving animated ponies, military helicopters, and men with mullets. I did, however, find a movie called THE APARTMENT. It had a picture of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine on the cover playing cards. I thought "I like Jack Lemmon. And Shirley MacLaine dosn't look that crazy." So, I bought it (along with a bag of Chee-toes, a half-gallon of black cherry ice cream, and a 40oz of IBC Cream Soda.) (Yup, I'm classy.)

As it turns out, I had found a friend. The movie was about a total looser, a C.C. Baxter, known as "Bud" (or "Buddy-boy" when in trouble) who's apartment was constantly being used by his supervisors for liasons with office girls. The movie begins with him getting out of bed to leave his apartment and go sleep on a bench in the park because one of his bosses picked up a Marilyn Monroe look-alike in a bar. Of course Bud gets a cold. So there he is calling 15 people to reschedule the next two weeks of appointments at his house so he can stay home one night and sleep. I liked C.C. Baxter. I even sort of identified with him. But what was better was I liked Shirley MacLaine, too. Being a Gen X-er, Ms MacLaine was always that crazy lady who is always talking about her past lives and makes small children cry in STEEL MAGNOLIAS. I'd never seen her young. She was adorable. She played Fran Kubelik, the elevator girl who is having an affair with everyone's favorite TV dad, Fred MacMurry -- who, incidentally, is the biggest jerk EVER! So, there I was with my foady (40) of soda watching Jack Lemmon being a complete looser and Shirley MacLaine try to kill herself. It made me feel a lot better about myself. At least I had a place to live and I hadn't slept with a married man. Strange comfort, yes, but it worked that night.

Since then I'v watched this movie several more times. I'm always struck by how it encapsulates the times. THE APARTMENT won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1960. When you watch the film you see a lot of characters who are steriotypical 1950's. Women with big skirts, big bosoms, big hair, and cat-eye glasses. There's plenty of square-jawed pipe-smoking men, too. Everyone looks like a 1950's cartoon except for our two heros. Jack Lemmon is a bit of a milquetoast, sure, but he's got the narrow suit and tie of the ultimate 1960's man. Shirley MacLaine isn't built like a battleship (or a brick house for that matter) but she's perfect in the trim lean lines of 1960's clothing. She even has her hair cut short in a bob -- a far cry from the overstyled curls of the other women. I find it facinating to see this transitional movie. To see styles expressing so plainly the values of the characters is rare and enjoyable. Lemmon in his pencil leg pants is the modern man. He's insecure and changeable and willing to demonstrate affection. One might say he's the original SNAG (Sensitive New-Age Guy.) I mean, he's not smoking weed or talkin' free love but he is hearalding in a new sensibilty, a new era. The villians in this film are the self-satisfied nucelear hypocritical family guys who take their superiority and roles as men for granted. Ms MacLaine isn't the perfect mother or sexpot that the 1950's demanded but she is the tormented and complicated soul the 1960's enjoyed.

So, I guess I like this movie on several levels. Newsweek has called it "the finest comedies Hollywood has turned out." It's the last black and white film to win and Academy Award until SHINDLER'S LIST in 1993. It's as funny and pertinent now as it was when it was made, dealing with the issues of infidelity, despair, and integrity. I frequently recommend this film to friends in bad relationships as a prescription for self-awareness. I like to watch it to look at the clothing, or to wonder that folks could actually do business with only a mechanical calculator on their desk, to be amused that the top Broadway musical at the time was THE MUSIC MAN, or to be amazed at the spindly bizarre look Christmas trees had back then. I like to watch it to see Shirley MacLaine be sweet and cute and spunky. I like to watch it to see Jack Lemmon grow a backbone. And I really like to watch it when I'm by myself on a Friday night because it always cheers me up.

Friday, July 15, 2005

TIN CUP -- by naudy

Having satelite television in the home is a huge problem, mainly because I sit and watch it. I had a billion things I planned to do yesterday: sew some pants, write/practice music, clean the kitchen, clean my room, prepare lunch for tomorrow, return a video, and, above all, get to bed early so I wouldn't be late for work -- again.

I was late to work the next day. It was all because when I got home I saw that TNT was showing TIN CUP. I sat there like a steer hit by a bolt gun and watched the entire movie. Now, it's not like I'd never seen it. No, I think I'v seen this movie about 7 times. It was a college favorite. It was one of those "Wow-I-don't-have-any-homework-I-have-to-do-so-let's-rent-a-movie" movies. Watching it I remembered why.

Strangely, I don't much like Kevin Costner. FIELD OF DREAMS is okay. BULL DURHAM makes me cringe. DANCES WITH WOLVES was such a trial that even thinking about it makes me want to get up and run away. All his other movies leave me cold, too. I just can't seem to get that involved with worn-out baseball players, vigilante mailmen, or guys with gills. (Though I did enjoy WATERWORLD the first time I saw it. It was just so strange, so desperate to be a salty MAD MAX. The charm quickly wore off.) So, what is it about TIN CUP that I have to cancel all my plans and be terribly unproductive? In a word -- home.

Yup, that's right. Home. Kevin Costner, to me, represents in his character Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy, all that I love about the folks in Texas. Yeah he's a complete looser who has never bothered to live up to his amazing potential. Sure he works at a dusty dried-up driving range in Salome, TX which is owned by his stripper ex-girlfriend 'cause he lost it to her on a dog race bet. What's wrong with living in a Winnebago, drinking beer for breakfast, or insisting on eating at Waffle House no matter where you are? When you put your foot in your mouth and create an unbelieveably akward moment do you then suggest that she kiss you? That's a problem? So what? You've got your buddies who love ya and tease ya and back you up no matter what. Did you just loose your convertable 1978 red Cadillac to your best-college-buddy/arch-nemisis in a stupid bet? Well, okay. Your real friends will chug their beer, slap you on the back and say "Your'e the man, Cup!... A man who needs a ride home!" and that's that. When the pretty doctor-lady you're courtin' is dating the afore-mentioned arch-nemisis, all of your friends will tell her it's a well-known fact that her boyfriend is mean to old people and kids and dogs, in the same matter-of-fact way they'd tell you the beer's cold or your fly is open. It's the casual/deep relationships these people have. Even the guy you love to hate, the sucessful conservative guy you call a soulless robot and who your friends point out is a rich, happy, soulless robot, has feelings. He loves and hates you, too, the same as you. And all of it is said between stupid jokes and cracking open cans and long stretches of contented silence.

That's why I love this movie. It's got characters I love acting in a way that feels right. Towards the end, when all of Tin Cup's buddies drive to North Carolina to see him play at the U.S. Open, and you see eight people all sleeping in a Winnebago, Costner leans over to Renee Russo and says "It won't always be like this, us laying here next to my stripper ex-girlfriend, with my caddy sleeping next to her on the floor. Someday it'll be nice." Russo says back to him, "No, it's always going to be like this -- always." as she looks fondly on the guy who's asleep in his sunglasses and cowboy hat (which he never takes of the entire movie) and the fat guy who's always wearing a TCU t-shirt, and all the rest of the pack draped over and under the tight confines of a Winnebago. That sense of family, of tribe, of casual attitudes and deep love is exactly the way home feels, and that's why I'll be stuck watching this movie every single time it's on.


I said that I wouldn't write a review for Batman because it would become a way-to-long treatise on why Batman is the greatest superhero ever. Ever. FRELLING EVER. I know all the Superman fans and the XMen fanatics will crucify me and try to take me out back to lynch me. Too bad. He's the best. So, instead of commenting on Batman himself, I will reserve my overbearing enthusiasm for the movie. Here follows a list of the reasons why I, at least, love the new movie:

- NAKED MAN CHEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE NAKED MAN CHEST!!!!!!!! CHRISTIAN BALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- For the first time ever, they actually cast the movie correctly instead of following typical Hollywood fashion and thinking "Who has a good chin?". Christian Bale is Batman.

- Instead of being the typical big blockbuster movie, it was a interesting character study as to what would drive a man to become a symbol of fear for those who create pain and fear. And why he would dress like a bat with no S&M tendencies.

- Michael Caine is Alfred. Period. End of discussion.

- More than one scene of naked man chest. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HORMONES......FRYING BRAIN......CAN'T FOCUS.......................

- It showed how he was able to become Batman and not be figured out. From how the batcave became to be to where he got all of his cool toys. And instead of taking any form of glasses on or off to hide his identity, he opted to cover his head and face with a mask. I wonder why? (Superman fans begin sharpening their blades)

- The music almost took my breath away. I am a big believer that music in movies is the most effective tool to draw the audience into a scene and make them forget that they are even in a movie. I have only just begun to listen to other music since I bought the soundtrack on opening day.

- With having so many characters, each was given justice and enough screen time to make their characters relavent to the plot. Of course I would love to see more of each character, but only I would stay through a 5+ hour long Batman movie.

There are more reasons, but my brain is fried thinking about Christian Bale.....mmmm. So go and see this movie!!! mmmm.....pushups.........mmmm

Thursday, July 14, 2005

BATMAN BEGINS -- by naudy

Poor Connie. She's forced to sit in a room all day with younger co-workers who talk about nothing but obscure/foreign/bad movies and fantasy novels. It's hard on her, never having bothered to learn French, Elvish, OR Klingon, and she was bound to crack sometime.

As it happened, she finally lost it when we (yes, I'm one of the geeks) were sitting around b.s.-ing about the philosophical ramifications of BATMAN BEGINS. We had been making things up for a while, getting louder and more slap-happy as the day went on (it had already been a long week) and she who had been silent for so long finally burst out with a very cross "Batman! Huh! What's the point of Batman, anyway?"

At that point most of the room evacuated silently and in good order, with no pushing or noticeable panic, because all of them are smart enough to know when there's gonna be a smack-down. They left it to me to defuse the situation. Nice of 'em. I started talking, trying to explain the essential concept of Batman to her and by the time I'd figured out what I was trying to say and Connie finally understood me everything was back to normal. Which was when all the rats came back in the room and started talking about zombie movies.

Anyway, it made me think. What is the point of Batman? Why are we so drawn to him as a character? He's always been popular, even when he's mocked on TV sitcoms and embarrassed by feature films. What is it that makes him universal to all of us? What is it in him that we see in ourselves?

I think that BATMAN BEGINS addresses and crystalizes the answers to my questions. One of the primary conflicts in the film is the balance between social justice and vigilante-ism. Batman is not The Punisher. Batman never kills. He walks the tightrope between right and left, liberality and conservatism, never quite tipping over to the dark side completely but always questioning himself, his motives, and his actions. In the book "HOW CAN I HELP" by Ram Dass, the author says that service is always a series of questions, a curriculum for life. Whenever we seek to help others we always end up asking ourselves how is it we think we can support these people who are so strong, feed those who are so rich in spirit, shelter those who embrace us with their humanity. Batman, in providing what he sees as a needed service for his community, also asks himself these questions. He's never quite settled, never finished learning and growing, never completely at peace.

This then is why we are drawn to him. Using darkness as a mask for light, using conflict to bring peace, using terror to inspire hope, Batman symbolizes the human condition and teaches us to be brave in the face of our fears.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

THE ALAMO -- by naudy

It's a Texas thing. Just like jazz and weapons of mass destruction, if we gotta explain it you're never gonna get it. I could talk all day long about why a true-born Texican gets all teary when Travis gives his speech or how San Jacinto is better than Waterloo but if you're not from Texas it wont' matter a bit.

I love this movie. I love how obsessive it is. I love that the DVD's commentary is done by three historians who spend the whole time passivly arguing with each other while defending the film's minor inaccuracies and trying to promote their own books. I love Billy Bob as Davy Crockett. I love Dennis Quaid as the manic-depressive self-medicating borderline-insane Sam Houston. I love Patrick Wilson as the anal-retentive William Travis. I love that it was filmed in Texas so the wintertime looks like wintertime and the sticky yellow heat of summer is right there on screen. I love that they showed how half the people in Texas spoke Spanish and the other half spoke German. (If you don't believe me just listen to Tejano music. The booming oom-pah of tubas is proof enough.) I love that they showed how pretentiously Napeolionic Santa Ana's army was. I love that they built THE ENTIRE CITY OF SAN ANTIONO exactly as it was. I love that the director and writers and set builders and costumers and every single one of those teeming hordes of extras are from Texas and LOVE this stuff as much as I do. I mean, 300 hysterical re-enactors can't be wrong, right?

Yeah... I'm guessing this is the reason this film tanked at the theater. The Lone Star State may be the second largest and know they're the best but they can't make a movie popular all by themselves. A love poem to the mythological beginnings of Texas may not be everyone else's idea of a good time. I know it's mine, but that's probably 'cause I'm from Texas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


It dosn't suck as much as the live show does.

I had some friends see this film before I did and they hated it. A lot. I believe they actually quoted Michael J. Nelson when suggesting that this movie was "a rotting squirrel carcas in the punchbowl of cinema." As a result, when I paid my $1.50 to see it at 11:50 on a Thursday evening, I was expecting to loathe it as much as they did. And, I do have to agree with their complaints. "The Music of the Night" is, in fact, a giant Whitesnake video -- complete with skanky costumes and smoky eye makeup. I almost laughed out loud when Christine goes to the cemetary and the mist stops dead at the graveyard gates. Obviously something as valueable as graveyard atmosphere can't be wasted on both sides of a wrought iron fence. And I was amused by the way they casted Christine's best friend specifically to look like Degas' "Little Dancer, aged fourteen" statue. The high-society musical number "Masquerade" was as oddly-lifeless and rather than vicariously participating in the abject decadence the song tells about, I ended up wishing I were back stage with the rif-raf and enjoying myself.

However, this movie is still light-years better than the live stage play. My friends have never had the priviledge of paying a lot of money to see the show live and they didn't know how good they had it. I admit that I'm not a big fan of Musical Theater. With the exception of THE FANTASTIKS and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, I prefer to leave musical theater very much alone. In this film version of a Broadway blockbuster I found it a pleasant change to see the characters actually have some motivation for their actions. With the exception of "The Music Of The Night", ostensibly a portrayal of a seductive dream sequence that ends up being an excuse to wow the crowd w/ cool effects, all the songs made emotional sense. Heck, they even made sense in relation to the plot! -a refreshing change. The singing was actually good, the Phantom was actually sexy, and I was delighted to see my friend Patrick Wilson again. (He was in THE ALAMO, another movie only liked by myself and the director's mother.) By far the very best thing, though, was Minnie Driver. I'v never seen a Carlotta who was as funny and brilliant and human and horrible as her's and I loved every minute of it. I think she did too. =)

So, what's the verdict? If you feel the need for a musical love story w/ a gothic flare, lots of pretty clothes and dancing, and a screaming opera singer carrying a pink poodle, see this movie. It's about $97 dollars cheaper and a whole lot more satisfying than anything you'll see live at the real opera house.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Typically I avoid "LDS movies" because I think they're gonna treat me the same way Utah drivers do. Because I'm supposed to be kind and forgiving, they can do whatever they like and if I disaprove it's because I'm a total lack-of-charity case. THE WORK AND THE GLORY is no exeption. This film unashamedly merges from the on-ramp to the highway of your eyes going a plodding 5mph and expects you to like it.

Why did I rent it? Why would I put myself through this? Well... I don't know. I guess I wanted to see if it was as bad as KING ARTHUR, or GLITTER, or even THE BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE. Fortunately it wasn't that bad. I entertained myself for a long time by watching the Denise Richards look-alike morph through period fashion like an SCA parade. I was particullarly impressed by her very even dark tan and the amazing red highlights hairdressers could install in the 1818. When I tired of that, I noticed the plot but it didn't hold my interest for long. When you've seen one Older-Belligerant-Brother-Smoulders-With-Resentment vs. Younger-Sensitive-Low-Testeosterone-Bookish-Brother you've seen 'em all so you know that the girl always goes for the wimpy guy since he's the one not growing a beard.

There was also a lot of Joseph and Hyrum and Emma Smith, and an attack on Joseph in the woods. Which was fine. At least their clothing and hairstyles were in keeping with the times. What really makes this film so irritating is the post-modern philosophys they put in the lead character's mouths. The words "tolerance" and "bigotry" and "freedom" were used a lot and for some reason all the parents in this film were actually shamed when accused of bigotry. I felt it was unfair. I know if my kids took up with what I considered to be a Satanic cult, I'd probalby have quite a bit to say as well.

Anyway, it's over. I'm happy I helped to support the salaries of the Utah Jazz (since no one is actually buying tickets.) I'v changed lanes and moved on, leaving this movie behind like a broken-down handcart and, in my heart, I'v almost forgiven them.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

BE COOL -- by naudy

I love The Rock. I love The Rock when he's in movies and I love The Rock when he's on TV. I love The Rock when he's an evil scorpion monster and I love The Rock when he was trying hard to be a stoic Schwartzenneger-equivalent in THE SCORPION KING. I love The Rock when he's fully dressed and I love The Rock when he's stripped down, oiled up, and dancing like the Tongan he is. I really really really hate wrestling and I love The Rock.

The Rock, by the way, is in the movie BE COOL. In the movie he's gay and cute and makes some seriously bad decisions but because it's a movie about bad gangsta musicians shooting people w/ no legal repercussions (though all of it happens in L.A. which means it makes sense since, to quote The Daily Show, to be convicted in L.A. you've got to commit the crime IN THE COURTROOM and possibly get blood on one of the jurors.) The Rock ends up being okay and becoming a movie star in the end. Which, really, is reason enough to watch the movie. Though, there are some amazing things Vince Vaughn does/wears/says. And Cedric the Entertainer is the best, most intelligent part of the movie. He hangs out with a posse of ENORMOUS gun-totin' gangstas - a bunch of steriod-muffins - and Andre 3000, who's antics actually made me laugh.

As for the rest of the film, well, it's okay. For once the Russian mafia guys aren't as deadly and scary as they typically are. Uma Therman looks really pretty/cool but the obligatory dance scene with her and Travolta is just dumb. I mean, her wayward husband had just been shot down in cold blood while he and Travolta had a cup of coffee. Of course she and Travolta are going to end up sleeping together. What's a movie without a love story.

Anyway, that's the movie. Rent it just to wach The Rock prance around in shiny red boots and a baby blue suit slapping his backside while saying "Ya like that?" to a mustached cowboy. Rent it to see Vince Vaughn do a dance while his fur coat is in flames. Rent it to hear Cedric give us the best "Why I'm sick of you disrespecting the Black Man" speech -- EVER! Rent it to see A3K sip tea. Perhaps you'd rather not rent it to see the Aerosmith guy smoke a cigar 'cause it's something I'm trying to forget. Don't bother with wanting to see Christina or whatever that singer girl's name is. However, it was worth the $2.00 I paid to see it and since I don't have to turn it in for a few hours, I think I might just go back and watch The Rock, hair braided and a flower behind his ear, hop around dancing again. Did I mention that I love The Rock?

THE HIGHLANDER -- by Jacobus Scriptor

The Highlander

I recently saw this movie for my second time. The first time I was a freshman living in the dorms and I remember overall liking it but noticing a handful of things that kind of bugged me. This time I think I remember those things and should like to basically list the things I liked and disliked about the movie.

I remember being previously annoyed by the sword fighting on a few different levels. Having now been trained somewhat in the use of swords I think I found it more annoying. The first problem was the sound effects. The clashing sounded more like cars being wrecked or someone clapping anvils together. The second annoying thing was stupid combat maneuvering. One of the perfect examples of this was when Sean Connery’s character was fighting Victor in the little Highland castle and Ramirez flashily swings four or five times at Victor’s stationary sword. It was like he didn’t even have to move to block. Sean could have tried to hit his opponent, but he just kept slapping a lethargic blade. Ugh. The ridiculous and useless form training on rocky pinnacles also annoyed me. Okay enough about that. The other annoying thing about the sword fights was the smashing of rock walls, chopping iron and cement pilings, etc. I think that stuff was supposed to be the product of the immortals superhuman strength they get from the Quickening and the energy they suck out of the other immortals they kill. But it wasn’t made explicit and I was left with the impression that it was just the passage of a natural sword fight.

The next thing that was annoying about this show was McCleod and his little modern ‘80s love life. The sex scene was fine for all I know. Don’t get me wrong. I was just annoyed by how they got there. First it’s the creepy stalking thing. Then she’s all really interested in his fantastic and rare "sword." Then it was "Oh, you’re an immortal? Lets have sex!" manifestation of affection. So all I have to do is let any woman stab me with a knife and not die. Then rather than be surprised, confused, and say, "What the ______?" she’ll just jump on my bones. Sounds like a plan.

One thing I really like about this movie and always have is the imagery of getting power by being struck by lightning. There’s something natural about that concept for me. I also like that when the Victor was finally killed at the end they used the yet cheesy graphic effects to imply a sort of transcendental experience where McCleod is connected to the whole world and even spiritual worlds beyond.

The concept of the immortals is a pretty cool one and I like the way they interact. I liked he way Victor taunted the priest in the church with his mashed potato obscenity. I would say Victor over-all was a likable character with a sword that should have broken in his first fight. But who’s counting?

The last thing I liked about the movie was the super hyped-up and toplessly dramatic music by Queen. Because of course Freddy Mercury is going to sing about being invincible.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SAHARA -- by naudy

Normally I'm not a big fan of the blockbuster action/adventure buddy movies. I only went to see SAHARA because it was at the dollar show and there was a strong possibility that Matthew McConaughey would run around without a shirt on. I got more than my money's worth. It was an exciting, engaging film and there was plenty of naked man-chest.

The plot revolves around two ex-Navy SEALS who have been best friends since kindergarden. So far it's the traditional hot-guy-and-his-sidekick-buddy formula. What's refreshing about this pair of guys is A) they actually act and talk like they have been best friends for a long time and B) the sidekick isn't nebbish and useless. Steve Zahn, with his amazing Sonic The Hedgehog hair, may follow Matthew McConaughey around the desert squinting like Popeye while complaining about loosing his Ft. Worth Stockyards hat (when you're from Texas ya notice these things), but he proves to be intelligent and capable - unlike most sidekicks who have to be rescued along w/ the girl. Zahn might not run around mostly naked (which is good), but he can shoot a gun and dismantle bombs with the best of them. It made the movie a lot more fun.

Penelope Cruz is also in this film. Which is fine, I guess. She's most notable for wearing well-fitting clothing and never getting dirty. The bad guys in this story are either not that bad or really Really REALLY bad but extremely attractive so you still want to watch 'em. And some the indigenous peoples in this movie were actually assigned some sort of character instead of being faceless natives dying pathetically,(though there was a lot of that going on.)

All in all, I liked it. I'm really hoping there will be a sequel so I can once again go see The Amazing Mostly Naked Man and his buddy Popeye the Hedgehog. =)


When it comes to movies based on books, I used to believe that any deviation from the original story was a crime worthy of flogging, beatings, or having to listen to William Shatner sing "Christma's Greatest Hits". Then last summer I saw HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. This was the first Harry Potter movie to not follow the book to exactness, and it was beautiful. For the first time, Hary "became a real boy" to me. He had messy hair and his clothing looked used like a kid who had to wear the same uniform all year. The dialogue was like teenagers would speak. It was fantastic.

With this new found knowledge of myself, I entered HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. HGTTG is in the top five of my favorite books of all time. The author, Douglas Adams, could be a member of Monty Python, except that the's not. This book is filled with irreverant humor about Life, the Universe, and drinking... lots of drinking.


In the beginning of the movie, HGTTG ran exactly like the beginning of the book. (Except for the opening musical number with dolphins. Books can't usually pull off musical numbers very well.) After the earth explodes, the movie then becomes a "loose" interpretation of the book. I can not emphasize the word "loose" enough. John Malcovich's characer doesn't even exist in the books. Zaphod is supposed to be the coolest cat in the galaxy, Ford is in a perpetual state of inebrieation, and Trillian is the only one with a brain. In the movie, though, Zaphod is a mix between George Bush and Bill Clinton (yes, that's possible), Ford only drinks twice, and well, Trillian is still the only one with a brain. You could tell that the actors had the best time making this movie and it shows through their performances. Jim Henson's company did the aliens, so they actually looked like aliens and not Star Trek extras.

So, basically I recommend this movie. This is even kid friendly, unless I'm there and your kids are noisy wiggleworms. Then my handy copy of William Shatner Sings! will be their punishment.



It's amazing what one will do when there's nothing on the ol' telly. My roomate was in the kitchen baking cookies, filling the house with good sugary-smelling goodness and I could only stare at her cooking production for so long. So into the living room I go, all bloated from milk and cookies to find some form of entertainment. I was flipping through the channels (at my place it only takes about 10 seconds, we don't have many channels) and after realizing there was only reruns, third rate reality shows, and well, that was it, I landed on FX, a.k.a. leftover Fox, where they were showing a movie called THE TRANSPORTER.

This movie came out a few years ago, but I remember hearing about it. The plot of this movie is a guy moves things in his car, and well, that's it. Actually, forget any mention of a plot, because this movie did not need one or really use it. It had fast cars, fast men, and one extremely fast little girl and when I call her fast, well, it has nothing to do with a car. The lead character was a really hot Bald-Vin-Diesel look-alike from Britain who can do kung fu. yes ladies, they did not make this movie for men. I like to call our extremely fit stud BVD (British Vin Diesel) and that has nothing do to with underwear because he had nothing to do with underwear in this film.

While watching this movie, I was imagining the working title, so here goes:
In all sincerity, I did like this movie. The action sequences were totally cool and made me giggle like a 10 year old girl at a Backstreet Boys concert. BVD was hot, the love story was more of a lust story, and once again, the girl was just a little whiny thing who had to constantly be rescued for what reason -- we don't know nor do we care. This movie was very by the Hollywood numbers, even though Hollywood was not involved. Here are the numbers:
1 hot BVD - 1 assinine damsel in distress + an actual international cast - the sterotypical international cast = an OK movie that will feeed the mass what they want
For me, it had all that I needed.