Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Flatliners -- by Jacobus the Scribe


I really enjoyed this movie featuring Kevin Bacon with a fabulous mullet. If you were home schooled, lived in a polygamist colony, or have been stranded on a deserted island for a long time and haven’t heard of this movie, the basic premise is that a group of med students who are really good at CPR decide to find out what’s beyond the grave by dying and being resuscitated.

As each of these students die, they encounter things on the other side from their lives that involve some form of reconciliation. I’ve read this movie criticized that all of the issues were basically the same and had the same reconciliation. I completely disagree with this critique. It was interesting as each one discovered what was amiss, in different fashions, and then how they each deal with it. The exception is that each process reminds me of Buddhist teachings regarding attachment.

One interesting feature of the show for me, having so recently moved to Boston, is seeing my new home around a lot. I’m not a hundred percent sure but, it looks like all the campus shots are a mingling from both Harvard and Boston University. Even though it is kind of cheesy, I liked the fact that most of the scenes that should have taken place in a sterile medical room took place in ancient churches filled with Medieval and Renaissance art.

The movie has pleasant bits of sadness, redemption, frustration, and scariness. I think it also has a handful of worthwhile moral messages. At the end of the day it conveniently fails to resolve the issue of God’s existence, which is fine.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A few things about UTAH'S ANNUAL BELLYDANCE FESTIVAL -- by naudy



1. Rather than being called Utah's Annual Bellydance Festival, this event should be called The Greater Salt Lake Area Bellydance Recital As Organized By A Horrible Woman Who Likes To Yell A Lot In Greek.

2. Since everyone has had the same teachers, everyone dances the same. The four favorite styles (in order of popularity) are:
a. Egyptian Cabaret
b. Drill Team Tribal
c. Fusion (a.k.a. Whatever I Want)
d. Actual Folk Dancing

3. Bellydancing isn't Greek. Constantly yelling "OPA!" makes no sense.

4. If you are performer from out-of-town who hasn't studied with anyone from SLC, hasn't kissed enough SLC butt, or dares to do something not in one of the four favorite styles, expect:
a. no introduction
b. a vicious commentary throughout your entire number by the MC (the much-loathed Babs De Lay) (or was it Yasmina Roque whom I hated?)
c. a lot of thinly-veiled hatefullness when you're done.

5. Talking about how bellydancing is an art form designed to liberate and empower women but only cheering on those dancers who want to be strippers is a transparent way to keep your permit.

6. If dancers are good the audience won't have to be told to clap. Nagging us to appreciate the mediocre is irritating.

7. When describing people, try not to use the words "iridescent" or "translucent" unless the persons being described are actually shiny or see-through.

8. When dancing, try to coordinate your moves to the beat of the music. If that's too hard, don't use music. Just tie jingle bells to your ankles and carry a tambourine. It would probably make the number a lot more interesting.

9. Those happy and creative beings called "musicians" who happen to be in what's known as a "band" are sub-human and should be treated accordingly. Make sure everyone else knows this, too.

10. If you look like you don't belong or aren't complying, have your business licenses and permits ready when the cops come. Then post an ACLU sign in an obvious place and hope someone's got a video camera.

11. If your husband is clapping and screaming "OPA!!" everytime the wanna-be Laker Girls do a Carmen Electra stripper roll-up & slap their butts, rest assured it's because he's strongly supporting these women's strength and empowerment. I mean, what else could it be? (Certainly not the bottle of wine he drank before he came....)

12. "Isis Wings" (or what my little sister calls "those things which push you from the "I dance because I like it" category into the "I'm going to start leaving lures around the neighborhood because I need more cats! More!! MORE!!!" category) if used, should be used for more than 2 minutes. If it took your momma 2 weeks and $500 to make 'em, they deserve a little more time on stage.

13. If you are dancing, dance from the heart and not the pole. Bellydancing in Utah is a lot like Hula. The popular conception is of a young thin thing shaking it in a bikini. Really it's a 300 lb. grandma in a mumu who can kick your trash. Accept this. Enjoy it. Grandmas rock.

THE BROTHERS GRIM -- by TG Barbie


I thought it was hysterically funny. Of course I went in knowing it would be bad, but in the grand perspective of bad movies -- and everything 'bad' will be compared to the horribleness of The Book of Mormon Movie which is so bad I'd rather watch Mariah Cary's Glitter TWICE -- This movie is really good.
The cinematography is beautiful. the Costuming is wonderful. (I especially thought the cow-print back packs on the French Army quite amusing).

Friday, August 26, 2005

SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL IN 3D -- by naudy


I wanted to see a horrible children's film but without the screeching horrible children so I went to see this movie (which is horrible) at 9:35pm on a school night. I was shocked to see that there were at least 25 kids there. What kind of moms bring their kids to a movie that gets out at 11:15? I managed to see TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES at a theater only populated by my rowdy friends and myself. And at the 10:30 showing of POWER RANGERS -- THE MOVIE! that same pack of rowdy friends managed to codify the rules to watching a terrible movie late at night in a deserted theater. It obviously involves a lot of cheering and booing at appropriate times, helping the characters do their jobs (look behind you!), getting up and dancing whenever we are treated to a montage set to bad pop music, and -- the most exciting bit -- whenever the Moral Of The Movie is presented, the first one to leap from her seat, race down the asile, touch the wall the movie is being projected on, and landing back in her seat BEFORE the Moral is over is the winner untill the next bad movie.

Anyway, I watched SB & LG 3D last night with all the kids and I'm gonna let yall in on a little secret --- the red and blue 3D glasses DON'T WORK!!! I know that's a shock. 3D works just fine at the IMAX theater, right?

It works at the IMAX 'cause they don't use red and blue glasses! The red and blue glasses have NEVER worked! If they did, they would have caught on in the '50's! Folks, instead of having glasses which change from dirty yellow to dark amber when the sun hits them, would have "television glasses" that would change to red and blue when television flourescence hit 'em. Everything would be 3D! We never would have developed mouses to control our computers! We would have just put on our 3D glasses and waved our arms around a lot!

So, not only did this movie have some of the worst child acting I'v seen since Barney The Dinosaur, but you coun't actually see a lot of it 'cause it was in that really irritating non-color that red/blue 3D is in.

Whatever. I know it's my own fault for going to see it. So to focus on the postivie, the little "ice princess" girl in the movie (Sasha Pieterse) actually has that "something" which will make her an Oscar nominee in eight years if she's in a film which is considered "important" or has a lot of nudity. Hopefully she'll become famous enough to revolutionize 3D movies. Or at least stop them from being made.

Monday, August 22, 2005

GODZILLA 2000 -- by naudy



This movie was the first Japanese Godzilla movie to be made after the big-budget American flop. And, true to form(ula) it involves a guy in a rubber suit, bad English dubbing, and wanton pointless destruction. Which is kinda fun and really the point of the whole thing, I guess.
There was a moment, though, when I was outraged. Right at the end, after Godzilla kills the alien thing, all the Japanese actors say "Why does he still protect us? Why does he do it when we've been trying to kill him?" The answer given to us and this question is "Maybe we all have a little Godzilla in all of us." And then they cut to this lovely lyrical music while Godzilla cheerfully and wantonly continues to destroy power sources and anything standing in Toyko. What!?? A little Godzilla in all of us means we smile benevolently as he trashes the place? And I thought Americans were bad about making up pseudo-Zen Buddhist crap. Dumbest. Line. Ever.

I realized as I watched this movie that I'v never actually sat through an entire Godzilla movie. I grew up with them being a normal Saturday-afternoon UHF station offering but we never sat down and watched one from start to finish. My sisters and I normally flipped between Godzilla, cartoons (the less good afternoon ones), and bowling. We only stopped on the Godzilla station if he was actually tearing things up. So, really watching one from start to finish was sort of educational. I learned that there's a phrase in Japanese which must translate closely as "Bite Me" because a whiny reporter lady said that. I learned that pseudo-science and taking yourself way too seriously aren't exclusive to American cinema. I learned that acting isn't a necessary requirement if one wants to be in a Godzilla movie. Right, I know, that's no revelation but when you see (in the outtakes) the director giving "motivation" to the guy in the rubber suit and then you see what he does afterward...whatever it is, it's not acting. On the plus side my co-worker Brooklyn is really really good at imitating Godzilla and is inspiring me to make her a suit for Halloween. I think I'v about got the mechanics of it figured out. Which is good 'cause the ward talent show is coming up. If I can get a suit made, a minature city built, and 6 pounds of marshmellows for the kids to throw, I think I'v got a movie!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

BATMAN RETURNS (or I'M THE KING OF NEW YOR...ER, I MEAN GOTHAM!!!) -- by heidi



1. Christian Bale lisps. A lot. All the time.
2. Chipmunk cheeks poking out of a way-too-small mask is silly. (nibble nibble "oh, did i leave the gas on? oh well." nibble nibble)
3. Every time he jumped over something I expected him to nail the landing, strike a pose, and burst into another verse of "I'm the King of New York!!!"
4. Lisping!!
5. A ready-made Batman factory in the basement of one's company is more than a little disturbing.
6. Katie Homes.... vapid.
7. Secret melody on Batcave-entrance piano should have been the "duh-nuh duh-nuh dun-nuh dun-nuh BATMAN!!!" melody. It would have been a lot funnier.
8. More Scarecrow!! He's hot!!
9.Liam Nielson -- the good guy who turns out to be a bad guy who gets killed by his pupil? Like we've never seen that before....
10. Christian Bale is a pansy. I can't imagine anyone LESS Batman. Mr. Bean would be a better Batman! I'd believe Christian Bale as a poncy dancy Robin WAY before he's Batman.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

MR AND MRS SMITH -- by Snow



My friend Delanie and I had gone Mr. and Mrs. Smith at 2:45pm because after weeks of not telling anyone we wanted to see it, we finally admitted to each other in a vanilla and Altoid scented car that we wanted to see it. We found seats in the one row behind the neck damage section and snuggled in.

Let me say first that I tried to hate people in this film. I mean any woman over the age of 20 should hate Angelina Jolie….simply because she’s not supposed to exist. She looks like an image that basement dwelling D&D freaks doodle in the notebooks during biology class. I checked, and according to NASA and Army Corps of Engineers the combination of her bust and lips makes her structurally unsound, especially when perched on those legs of hers. Brad Pitt shouldn’t be trusted. I mean he looks like the idiot captain of the football team that managed to miraculously score 1520 on his SAT’s even though he though Holland and the Netherlands were two different countries. Then there’s Vince Vaughn…I can’t think of a reason why I should hate him, so I moved on. The only person I hated was that little blonde thing Stephanie March and that’s because she married Bobby Flay which marks her as a sub-human forever. Back to the movie.....

I was surprised, because I thought it would be something I would be ashamed to admit to have seen (only resting one notch above Space Camp and that horrible movie where John Travolta is kidnapped by Russians). Much to my surprise I loved it. I thought the casting was wonderful and comedic timing was a great. Angelina and Brad managed to be tense and distantly in love with out seeming too hokey. There wasn’t a horribly “noble” moment where one is forced to sacrifice themselves to save the other.

I was worried that the director was providing too much of a back-story, resulting in a rushed ending- but the film resolution didn’t bearing down on your like an out of control freight train. There were a couple moments of less than willing suspension of disbelief, but nothing than can’t be gotten over quickly. In comparison with other my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfrie
nd leads a double life films like Daredevil or My Step-Mother is an Alien nothing in this film will faze you.

There were only two things I didn’t enjoy about this film. One, the gratuitous full body pans of Angelina and her garter belt, but people whose chromosomes don’t match shouldn’t be offended. Two, the fact that in Utah in the middle of afternoon, people can't be bothered with humor. It’s an odd thing that you and your friend are the only two people laughing at actual dialogue rather than boring sight gags. Shame on you Utah.

KUNOICHI: LADY NINJA -- by naudy




DON'T WATCH IT!!

IT'S TERRIBLE!!

I WATCHED THE ENTIRE THING AND IT DOESN'T GET BETTER!

EVER!!!

HORRID HORRID FILM.


I BLAME VIDEO GAMES.

AND JAPAN.

AND ANYONE WHO THINKS THAT A GIRL W/ A "MAGIC NINJA POWER" SHOULD SEND OUT ENERGY BOLTS FROM HER WHIRLING PONYTAIL.

IT'S NOT "MANOS: HANDS OF FATE" BUT IT REALLY REALLY WANTS TO BE.

IF YOU GET THE CHANCE-
SAVE YOURSELF.
DON'T WATCH IT.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

Monday, August 15, 2005

HOW TO LOOSE A GUY IN TEN DAYS -- by Brooklyn



So, in an effort to make me more "girly", my roommates have take me under their proverbial wing and have me watching chick flicks. See normally if it ain't Jane Austen, I don't care. I love action movies. Give me a steriod filled juggernaut saying lines that would only be said by a third grader and blow something up, I'm there. If you've read any of my other reviews you can see what I normally am into. At least my roommates have some mercy though. This movie is just one of many that I've experience as of late trying to work me up to the Mecca of chick flicks, basically any movie that has been adapted from a Nicholas Sparks book, i.e The Notebook (aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!).

It's weird, but given my love of bad cinema, it would be thought that I would really be into chick flicks. They have everything that I normally need to enjoy Hollywood tastlessness at its finest. Lets take this movie for example:

- Hunky guy with naked man chest. Check
- Cheesy one liner that only people like me would try
to include into everyday situations. Check
- Highly improbable situations. Check
- CHEESE, CHEESE EVERYWHERE!!!! Check

This movie did not blow as much as I thought, but if you go in with no expectations you won't ever be disappointed, and I wasn't. The movie is a typical Hollywood by the numbers formula romantic comedy. Two people driving each other insane while falling in love (collective sigh). To save face with my roommate who loves this movie, I did giggle at certain parts like a 10 year old girl at a Backstreet Boys concert. And I did sigh. Once. I swear. I just pretend that didn't happen. Ever. Over all, the people who need to see this movie is any woman how in her half baked brain would ever do any of these things to a man. Unfortunately, that was the key demographic for this movie and none of them will change!!!!!! Those neurotic women give crazy women like me a bad name. At least I got my kiss at the end (take note Disney).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY -- by Jed




So I watched the Hitchhiker's movie yesterday.

I'll admit, I arrived at the Century 16 theatre with some fairlyserious preconceptions about the movie I was about to watch. Themovie in question being the remake of the classic BBC mini seriesbased on Douglas Adams' acclaimed series of books "The Hitchhiker'sGuide to the Galaxy.. I had doubts that this new creation could matchthe casting depth of the original. I feared that it would not remainas true to the books as the BBC had. I was worried that it would betoo American. At least I was wrong on one of these accounts.

My fears about the casting depth were fortunately not realized. Evenmy fear about the casting of Mos Def as my all time favoriteHitchhiker character, Ford Prefect, was unneeded. He actually didwell with what the writers and directors gave him, which in monetaryterms would be the Argentinean economy. Similarly the characters ofArthur, Zaphoid, Trillian, and even Marvin were well cast. It's justthat they had nothing to work with which leads me to my first issuewith the movie.

The Script.

Simply put it sucked, sucked on toast....in the foothills with specialguest star George Lucas....and special musical guest star Tiny Tim.It was fine for the first 15 minutes when the movie seemed to befollowing the story I have grown to adore. It went wrong about minute16 when in a sudden move the train of continuity went screaming offthe track and onto a group of school children by wasting a full 1/4 ofthe movie neutering the character of Trillian. Quite possibly theonly character in the book that had her head screwed on straight. Themovie turned Trillian from a self assured but slightly eccentric butalways cool earth chick to a stereotypical 'help me I need to besaved' crap romance fodder for the romantic plotline that never shouldhave been added which in fact is the next issue.

Arthur is supposed to be the galaxy's punching bag.

It's his role in the series. The unlikely whiny anti-hero who getcrapped on by the universe on a semi regular basis. He is not a'happily lived ever after character and he does not get the girl.He's supposed to be whiny, and as he said in the book 'having troublewith his lifestyle'. Making him just part of a Trillian romance isjust silly and as with the changes to Trillian lessens his characterand likeability.

It was supposed to be a comedy right?I mean, aside from the 3 perhaps 4 times I laughed I did not find themovie funny. It was painful actually. Most of the best dialoguescenes and lines were cut in favor of the new writer/directors'inspired writing'. Next time that Karey Kirkpatrick decides that hecan in fact write better material he should remember his pervious opus'Honey We shrunk ourselves' and start taking anti depressants by thejarful least he decide to pull an early exit. Having to hear hisdribble interspersed with classic Adams writing made the movieimpossible to fully tune out because of my like for Adams writing.Just as I would be enjoying a scene Kirkpatrick's writing would comerushing in and deliver one of the many proverbial kicks to the balls Ireceived while watching this opus of crap.

It's as if the entire production cast has been studying at the feet ofthe current lord and master of 'How to horribly screw over a fan'George Lucas. While it may have not been possible to at least in mymind to eclipse the BBC series, it may have been possible to bring agreat story to a new audience without completely ripping outeverything that made Hitchhiker's so brilliant. The quirkyphilosophy, the great dialogue scenes, the hysterical characterinteraction, and so much more. All sacrificed to the alter ofAmerican viewing habits.

When will Hollywood realize that in no way shape or form should EVERattempt to copy or emulate British humor or movie/sitcom ideas? TheAmerican viewing audience has the wit and subtely of a Mack truckdriving through someone's bedroom. On the whole the American publicis stupid, oafish, and devoid of subtlety, not unlike the Jabba-esqbehemoth that decided to sit next to me in the virtually emptytheatre. Taking up a full 1/4 to 1/3 of my seat in addition to hisseat and some of his wife's this future Montel guest spent the entiremovie making inane comments and eating sunflower seeds. My kingdom fora Tazer was all I could think. However knowing my luck he would havejust collapsed onto me killing me instantly, although that may havebeen more preferable than seeing the Oz style bum rush that Adams'classic tale was given

XXX: STATE OF THE UNION -- by naudy


Just to get things straight, the very best part of this movie is the fact that they carjack a tank. Seriously. It makes me want to see it again so I can do it myself. I mean, what if I find myself facing a tank while on foot? How do foot soldiers stop a tank? Well, according to XXX, ya need a couple of jacks, some explosives and a pack of friends willing to do it. Let me know if you're up to it 'cause it can't be that hard to find a jack....

Anyway, this is an Ice Cube action flick. He's not very convincing. I mean, he may be tough man but he's just not tough or quick enough to be terrifying. So, that leaves us with some explosions, lots of fast cars, a prison escape, dorky white guys, Samuel L. Jackson driving a color-change car, an evil general, a moderate anti-military President (it is fiction), and the good ol' boys down at the chop shop. Which is good enough if you're renting it. Or if there's a tank you've got your eye on.

Monday, August 08, 2005

CATWOMAN -- by naudy


It's not as bad as you think. Really. My sister Caroline and I rented it in an act of self-loathing. (She's the one who made the comment at the end of THE WORK AND THE GLORY review. If you read it you'll understand the way both of us work. Unfortunately.) It was the night I was leaving Las Vegas. I didn't want to do anything and Car wanted to do something so CATWOMAN was the compromise.

It worked out pretty well. When one has the lowest possible expectations, anything that dosn't make me want to roll around on the floor in agony is great. And this movie, while a bit on the silly side, isn't agony. Sure Halle Berry plays a simpering wimpy badly-dressed artist who becomes bi-polar but she does get to flirt w/ the dreamy Benjamin Bratt and wear some rather spectactular leather goods. And, to be honest, who dosn't wish she could climb up walls in her stilettos, steal diamonds to wear as claws, and wield a whip with style and a smile?

Okay, so maybe I'm in the minority there, but it's still not a bad movie. It's good for when A) you've seen everything else, B) you have a few hours to waste, C) you plan on chatting with your friends during the movie, and D) you never ever want to see THE PRINCESS BRIDE again.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

AMADEUS -- by Jacobus Scriptor

What's not to like in a movie with a laughing, pink-haired rather than stoic and dignified Mozart, awesome music, girls in tight dresses that make their boobies poke out, the biggest hair you've seen in your life, insane jealousy, dilemmas regarding the character of God, death by composition, and last but not least Mozart's cute little wife constantly calling him "Wolfie?"

This movie has a pleasant mix of tragedy, irony, humor, and bacchanalia. Narrated as a confession given by the antagonist we get the in-depth look at the Court Composer of some Austrian emperor or other. We observe as he deals with adoring the rock star-ish and yet inadequately appreciated Mozart, and resenting him completely for having superior talent and inferior piety. Eventually Court Composer (I don't remember his name) of course turns to the dark side and begins meticulously working to destroy Mozart and his career while shamefully attending every concert because he is unable to resist the "voice of God." I love the interactions between Mozart and his wife, their intense affection. His total preoccupation with his work draws the constant reminder from her to "get the money first." It is a reminder I frequently get in reference to my career as a crack-whore. This movie deals with conflicts of class, extreme piety vs. joyful life, Cambellian reconciliation with the father, and a hero who wins by losing. 'Tis truly a great flick

Monday, August 01, 2005

MISS CONGENIALITY II -- by naudy


The problem with sequels is no one knows what to do with them. MISS C --II, just like LEGALLY BLONDE 2:RED, WHITE, AND BLONDE takes the interesting character established in the first movie and promptly ignores, disregards, and ridicules her. What's worse is Regina King (pictured here in a Tina Turner dress) is in both of these movies -- as the same character!!! I mean, sure she has a different name and different clothes, but somehow she's been cast twice in two different sequels as the extremist-black-woman-who-ends-up-being-wrong-and-bonding-with-a-ditzy-white-woman. It's sad. 'Cause in the case of MISS C- II it's completely unjustified. Sandra Bullock in this movie plays a helpless stupid ditz who quotes fashion designers. Regina King is WAY cooler than Miss Bullock's character. It would have been a much better movie if Miss Bullock had sustained and maintained her moral/emotional/personal development from the first movie and served as a mentor to Miss King's character in this movie. But, as that's not an accepted Hollywood formula, it just wasn't to be.

Anyway, this film is yet another betrayal of a good idea. Don't waste your time.