Saturday, October 29, 2005

MEAN GIRLS -- by naudy (5)

Less nauseating than most Disney flixs, which makes sense since it's NOT a Disney show. It's like HEATHERS w/out death, SKY HIGH w/out super-powers, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT w/out Seth Green, THE BREAKFAST CLUB w/out the angst, ROCK'N'ROLL HIGH SCHOOL w/out the Ramones, and CLUELESS w/out dating your step-brother.

So, what does it have? It's got Lindsay Lohan w/ enough weight on her to look like Brittany Spears. It's got a whole new catogorization of the cliques in a California (cool Asians and geek Asians). It's got a lot of short skirts, high heels, terrifying mothers, fancy cars, rude comments, and an outrageous amount of pink. It's also got our protagonist Cady actually paying the penalty for behaving badly, which is a refreshing change in the high-school-trauma-drama genre.

MUST LOVE DOGS -- by naudy (gets a 3)

SEEKING: SWF, DWF willing to give up unreasonable expectations for intelligent, clever, well-performed film & settle for something that looks okay & brings home a decent paycheck.

ABOUT ME: I am every Lifetime-watcher's dream. Not only do I have cute men, cute animals, a loving family, close sisters, and obscure values, but I explain very clearly exactly the sort of woman you should be. Women who aren't 1) perfectly built, 2) passive, 3) day-care teachers, 4) nice to small animals, 5) willing to compromise, and 6) Catholic need not apply.

Friday, October 28, 2005

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO ("Tonari no Totoro") -- by naudy (a good 8)

This movie was loaned to me by a friend who insisted it be put on my "Required Movies" list. It is a required movie. Hayao Miyazaki, creator of other very popular films like PRINCESS MONONOKE and the Oscar Award-winning SPIRITED AWAY made this delightful film about a family who has moved to the Japanese countryside. It's beautifully realistic while having elements of playfulness and magic. Totoro, after all, is the spirit king of the forest. Only kids who aren't jaded can see him which means our two little girls can see him.

TOTORO is what I would consider a beginning-level Japanese animae movie. Miyazaki often uses the same character archetypes and this movie is a good introduction to them. SPIRITED AWAY is a really great movie, but it's awfully confusing to an American audience unfamiliar with Japanese mythology. My little nephew loves NAUSICA but mainly because he can't quite figure it out. TOTORO is accessable, sweet and, unlike everything by Disney, has no bad guys and nothing scary. It's definately going on my Required Viewing list and on my "Things To Buy My Sister's Children" list, too!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Big!Lots Special: HONKY TONK FREEWAY and HARUM SCARUM -- by naudy

HONKY TONK FREEWAY: a 6 for having a real rinocerous
HARUM SCARUM: a 4 for poor spelling

I don't know what you have in your town but where I live, we have stores called Big!Lots. Big!Lots sells all the strange, unappetising, and ugly things other stores couldn't manage to get rid of any other way.

I know you won't be surprised to hear that I shop at this store. Weird things appeal to me and cheap stuff is even better. I could happily eat for a year on food exclusively from Big!Lots, but I'm probably the only person who enjoys Fish Steak (in Chili Oil) on Light Rye Crackers.

Anyway, yesterday I was wandering around the local Big!Lots and found the cheap/discounted/bad movies. After snickering at the 60+ copies of BATTLEFIELD EARTH (Still Available!! Only $2.99!!) (and I already own a copy of BATTLEFEILD EARTH. Yes, it is that bad.) I started to browse and found some things. HONKY TONK FREEWAY is about a lot of random people and a small town in Florida. It has every '70's actor in the world in it and I thought it was funny. I found it to be a satisfying $2.99 purchase. In fact, I'll probably force others to watch it.

As for HARUM SCARUM, it's probably the worst Elvis movie ever made. Which means I had to have it. There's no way to describe the fleshy flesh-toned glory that is The King at the end of his film career, but that dosn't mean you shouldn't see it.

Admittly, you should probably watch this with a voicerifous pack of people who are strung out on sugar but that still dosn't mean it's not worth the price I paid for it.

Kinsey (7.5)

Overall I enjoyed this movie. It is basically a biography of the revered and loathed Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) whose famous reports did something of an apocalyptic stir-fry on the common assumptions about human sexuality of the time.

Although Kinsey is obviously the hero of the story and there’s a desire on part of the movie to push the agenda of free love and special sauce for everyone, some of the less happy bits about his research are not shied away from. Nor is his character given to be squeaky pristine even from the “if it feels good it’s alright” perspective.

I was definitely interested in his change from humored if unappreciated entomologist to rock-star sexologist and how the one precipitated the other. It was also interesting to see the impact that his almost purely clinical empirical view of the universe had on things like his family life and relationships with his assisting researchers.

The movie is rated R for blatant sex stuff going on. However, as I've read in another review, it is all very clinical, empirical, and detatched. If you're looking for porn don't bother unless you're a physicist or something.

At the end of the day, I appreciated the work he did and was frustrated by the many costs. And when I order a burger, I still ask them to hold the free love and special sauce.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962 version) -- by naudy [gets an 8]

Since I don't have to go to work tomorrow until noon (my hairdresser is coming to my house to cut my hair at 9:30am. You heard me: she's coming to my house. MY HAIRDRESSER LOVES ME!! It's wonderful to have someone when I've been alone with my hair for so long...) the best thing to do after a long day was to read reviews of bad movies on (warning: they use bad words) until midnight and then start a MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE double header while filling gelcaps with ground tumeric (I'll explain later) and eating large marshmallows. (Number of marshmallows naudy can eat before getting sick: 15)

As I can't remember a lot of the movie (I'll never eat marshmallows again! Someone get me away from the sugar!! It's like an episode of 'Home Movies'!!!) I made sure to take notes. And, since my copy of the Denzel Washington 2004 re-make of the movie arrived cracked in the mail, I was not forced to watch the newer movie. I am glad of this. This is a movie that should not be remade. The original is already what 1962 aspired to be. So, in honor of The Wee Small

Hours of the Morning (an excellent Sinatra album which I'm listening to right now in honor of Frank actually being in the film I just watched) I now present my notes on this film:

Korea 1952? Frank Sinatra?? We're 45 seconds into this movie and I'm already seeing Korean hookers???

Nice film noir/Kurasawa rip-off shot

Traitorous Korean! I should have known I couldn't trust him!

Is that a black man? They had those in 1962?

Nice music! Go David Amram!

Ah! The major! He's hot in that "Wonder Woman would really dig him" sort of way. However, he's got a British accent.... what's up w/ that?

Angela Landsbury! She must be evil!

He calls his mother "Mother" and he's angry with her 'cause she's throwing him a parade. He's got issues.

Note to self: Get private plane and have twinkle lights installed over the mini-bar area.

Angela Landsbury just called someone a Communist!!!

Sweaty fleshy mumbling Sinatra lying in a bed. Sad prophesy of the future....

At last! After a really long lecture about hydrangeas, we see it's all a brainwashing scam by the Russians and Chinese!! What a surprise!! Good thing they didn't make me wait the whole movie to figure that one out!

Another black man! Cool!

8 marshmallows = faintly sick

Nat King Cole look-alike wakes up from nightmare screaming!

Is it bad to like the evil Chinese doctor? He's just so cheerful!

Sinatra plays against type as the insomniac chain-smoking alcoholic bookworm who hangs around in a MacArthur army jacket. Seriously? You know Frank wasn't that into books....

Why would you ask a blond bombshell of a woman who just lit a cigarette for you 'cause you've got the shakes if she's Arabic? Is that some sort of kinky 1962 code?


Weirdest pick-up I've ever seen.

Frank Sinatra -- Action Hero!

Number of loud pointless telephone conversations in Spanish: 1

Blond shows up at police station to bail out Frank and tells him, (while licking a handkerchief and cleaning the blood off his face and after having lit his cigarette,) that she dumped her fiance because she wants to be with our boy Sinatra. They then kiss. Frighteningly, I think this is cool. Too much sugar...

Total marshmallow count: 14. Officially sick.

Quote: "Of course I'm interested! [in listening to the Congressional Medal of Honor winner talk about why he hates his mother.] It's like listening to Orestes gripe about Clytemnestra!" Best. And. Most. Improbable. Sinatra. Line. EVER!!!

Cigarette count at 1 hr 4 min: 19

Man in 1950's bathing trunks! Snake bite! Girl is babbling on in a charming way and then takes off her shirt! She's wearing hot pants and then rides her bike home!!! What kind of movie is this!!!!

Nice! An ACLU reference. These guys are hip.

There have already been more African-Americans in this film than any 10 non-Wayans-brothers films this year.

+38 points to Angela Landsbury for Most Terrifying Cold War Speech EVER!!!

Loose lips sink ships and guys in Army Intelligence shouldn't be telling their non-Arab(?) girlfriends about state secrets.


Number of cigarettes at 1hr 40 min: 27



Madison Square Garden in 1962 -- still dumpy


Total swear words in this film: 4 [all of them are the word "hell" and Frank says two of them in the last 30 seconds when he's supposed to be acting ]

The best way to end a movie? With a lightning bolt and a roll of thunder. Good way to distract from Franks limitations.

One more marshmallow brings the total to 15. You'll need to excuse me as I think my pancreas just went into shock.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brooklyn's Instant Movie Review of DEAR FRANKIE

"Really hot Scottish guy!"

Rating: 9 -- there were times when they needed to act

Brooklyn's Instant Movie Review of MUST LOVE DOGS

"My roomate made me see it. John Cusack can do no wrong, however...
it still sucked.
A sad waste of talent."

Rating: 4 because John's in it

DUDE, WHERE'S THE PARTY? -- by naudy (gets a 6)

I wish I could tell everyone to see this movie but I can't. I laughed myself sick but a lot of the jokes aren't funny unless you've seen more Hindi films than are really good for you. The movie is about a guy named Hari (see picture) who leaves India to live with family in Houston, TX. One of the best moments is when Hari and his cousin are leaving to go to school in the morning. His aunt comes up and puts American flag stickers on them and tucks little flags in their bookbags. His cousin tells his mom that people aren't that stuipd and will know that they aren't terrorists. His mom just tells Hari to tell everyone he was born in the U.S.

I laughed so hard I had to rewind it and make my roomate watch it. What was better was Hari and his cousin had little flags and flag pins on them for the rest of the movie. Constant source of amusement, particullarly when the Indian guys who ran the local conveniance store had flags everywhere, too.

Of course there's a moral dilemma, what with all the Desi kids (Desi= Western Asian born/raised in the U.S.) wanting to ignore/be rude to the "F.O.B." (Fresh Off the Boat) kids. And, of course it's solved properly but not before our boy Hari learns to use deodorant ("It makes me feel fresh and clean like I'v never felt before! Plus, the ladies love it!") and gets the mandatory hot-Indian-guy makeover (black shirt w/ open collar, white suit.)

Anyway, I loved it. You might not. [see "Beginning Bollywood"] If you liked/could stand HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM you'll laugh at this movie.

Brooklyn's Instant Movie Review of RED EYE

"A Wes Craven movie that dosn't suck! Props to Cillian Murphy and Rachel Mac-Whats-Her-Face for actually acting!!!!"

Rating: 8

THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI -- by BadNat (gets a 9 'cause it's pretty)

Everyone has to see this movie. Really. i have not seen any of the 27-ish other Zatoichi movies, i didn't even know there WERE 27 otherZatoichi movies. i just went to it cause i don't get many chances to see a samurai movie in an actual theater and i thought it might be cool. And it was $1.50 -- that always helps. so there was the usual sort of plot i was expecting for this kind of movie, and it had the requisite flashbacks, but there was more. much more. any movie that has: (spoileralert!)
  1. a masseuse (who is old and our titular hero and makes sly sexual innuendos at a older lady he meets!)
  2. a drag-queen geisha(who looks like Michael Jackson. really.)
  3. a drag-queen geisha sharing a bath with a bumbling compulsive gamblerwho then
  4. wants to be "pretty" and dresses up and
  5. scares the local gang of kids, and
  6. the greatest, longest, weirdest, stomp/kabuki/tap/Broadway musicalnumber where they tap dance in geta sandals (no lie!) and has to be like 5 minutes long,all in sub-titled letterbox, just makes this my kind of movie.

I'm going to buy it. if you ask nicely, you can borrow it.

THE 40 YR OLD VIRGIN -- by BadNat (a 7 'cause I 'bout hyperventilated)

I totally loved this movie. Yes, its "R". Yes, it has lots of graphic language. But it also has characters that behave like real people (and by that i mean real guys). Even the language is real- its all guys trying to out-gross each other. I loved it because during all the stupid things they do to/with each other you can feel the normal (unspoken) guyfriend sort of affection these people have for each other. Sure, there were a couple of times the premise and the jokes were a little thin, (i thought the whole scene with the drunk driver girl was pretty lame and really didn't do much to forward the plot) but even in these thin moments, Steve Carell does Andy with such a guileless blank stare that you don't seem to mind.

My favorite parts were:

  1. when EVERYONE at work finds out Andy is a virgin they give him hell and then he runs away like a 5yr old.
  2. when Andy and a pal hang out playing video games they swap "i knowyour gay 'cause.." lines.
  3. when one pal smacks and pokes and bugs another one into going over and talking to a girl.

And for everyone who is worried, there is not any sex in this movie at all until the very end- and its not very graphic and only lasts for aprox. 1 minute (joke!) - and then there is a big musical number with the whole cast.

So basically, if dirty language is alright with you, see this movie.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Utah Opera's "Romeo and Juliet" -- by naudy (it gets a 6)

OCTOBER 15 -23, 2005

It's in French so don't expect it to be a) exciting, b) overdramatic, or c) in English. My buddies in the chorus complain that all the applause at the end of the performace is best described as "polite." They get polite applause because it's a polite piece of theater. There are lovely chorus pieces, some sweet arias, and lucious lighting and set design. Costumes are a bit messy (Juliette being immersed in wads and bundles of white gauze while the menfolk all have flower-print tunics on) but I always have a problem with their costuming (and the unfortunate penchant for crushed velvet.) I will make a definitative statement and say, though it may surprise you, that not all men are shown to their advantage while wearing tights and a codpiece. I know. It's shocking. I, as a red-blooded American woman, should be all about the wanton display of male near-nudity, but I really just find it unsettling, particullarly when we're talking about opera singers. A lot of those guys are doing good to maintain a consistent panda-bear-like shape. Tights don't help. Codpieces, at the best of times are troubling. At the Utah Opera they're downright off-putting.

What is interesting (i.e. different) about this production of R&J is the advertising campaign. They dropped the ticket prices ($10!), and have created all these "youthful" (aka "silly") radio and televison spots to promote this production. They let me know that Juliette is on the "blogsphere" [] I even got a letter from the opera telling me The top five reasons why this is a must-see production. Are you curious? "What could be the top five!" you ask? "How could they narrow it down to just five reasons!" you blurt? "When they wrote this list did they have me (someone under 70 yrs old) in mind" you ponder? "Hurry up and tell me so we can get this over with!" you demand?? Well, here you go:

  1. It's Shakespear, dummy, and you know that's good for you.
  2. Charles Gounod (composer) is good at pretty love duets and it's the best version of this play in opera form that we've got. So, this sucks less than a lot of other things, therefore, it's good for you.
  4. It's a really big chorus! (meaning: We've got contracts to fufill people, so get your butts in the seats! It's good for you!)
  5. Romeo and Juliette are married in real life!! They roll around in bed together all the time so it's okay that they're doing it on stage!! And if you know what's good for you, you'll come!!!!
Yeah, I thought it was a fairly pathetic list of things as well. I still went, though, but only 'cause I wanted to see if I could pick out my buddy Angie on stage simply by knowing that she was exhibiting a minimum of 4" of cleavage at all times.
I'm pleased to say that I could. And, if you go to the opera, you can see her cleavage, too.

SPIDER BABY -- by naudy (-23 but +54 for style)

It's hard to get over this movie. My buddy V invited some kids over for the annual Halloween viewing of this classic bit of 1964 drive-in-movie horror. And horrible it is, though it's also really funny. I talked through the entire thing 'cause if I hadn't I might have gotten scared.

"What's it about", you ask? Don't ask. You don't really want to know 'cause then it won't be as funny.. or as terrible. Suffice to say, no one is a giant arachnid, no one wears shoes, and the negative effects of cousin-luvin' are made plainly evident. I also learned that if I happen to end up with some mutant aunts and uncles suffering from a "regressive" disease, it's best to keep them mewling pitifully in a pit dug into the basement floor.

For more story information see
To purchase a copy of this DVD see

You're welcome!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

ROBOTS -- by naudy (it gets a 7)

I love this movie. They created the coolest world --EVER!-- and we get to see it! If you ask someone who knew anything about the making of this film, there will be some disgruntlement 'cause apparently it was a musical at first. According to the one industry source I have, the distributing company "ripped out all the good stuff, tarted it up with a bunch of pop-culture trash and messed it up good."

I still liked it. I like that Rodney Copperbottom's design (the protagonist voiced by Ewan McGregor) was based on a VW Minibus and an Evenrude outboard motor. I like the way everything isn't shiny and I like the music (percussion provided by the Blue Man Group.)

So, even though this film recieved short shrift in the theaters, it's worth looking at. Get the DVD and enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2005

HITCH -- by naudy (rates a 4 and I'm being generous)

First of all, let me go off subject for a moment and suggest 36 Hour Vacations for everyone. I'v discovered that taking off one day in the middle of the week is just enough time to do all thing things you like to do when you're on vacation but not enough time for it to be detrimental to your health. My normal list of vacation pleasures includes staying up too late, eating too much, sleeping poorly in a strange uncomfortable bed, and steadfastly refusing to brush my hair. Fortunately my sister's house includes all of these delights and after 36 hours I return home only slightly exhausted, sick, and in dire need of a strong detangler.

Anyway, after a dinner of bacon-wrapped steak, green beans, and watching my niece Jamie eat only half of a baked potato with indolent vicissitude (she was sulking because she didn't get her own steak knife. In her few seven years of life she's managed to turn non-verbal whining into an art form) the family remembered that I had yet to see HITCH. [see 50 FIRST DATES] So we turned it on and I discovered that the name HITCH is the Readers Digest version of the name. In reality this movie is titled "ALEX HITCHENS: A LOVE POEM TO THE SENSITIVE NEW AGE METROSEXUAL MAN AS TOLD BY LIFETIME TELEVISION". (see "Bones") The alternate working title probably was MAN FOOLISHLY RUNNING FROM FATE or perhaps IMPROBABLE SPEECHES IN A CHARMING ENVIRONMENT. It dosn't really matter since it's a cute movie with cute people which made approximately $150 million. It's also not THOMAS AND THE MAGIC RAILROAD which mercifully I managed to avoid seeing. My point being, this is a movie my sister dosn't mind her kids seeing. My oldest neice even has perfected her Kevin James dance, from that supremely lame/cute moment made famous from the preview. Mr. James is pretty great. I liked him a lot. Will Smith reaffirms his place as This Generation's Bill Cosby and there's some decent music and pretty clothing.

So, with all this cuteness and charm, why am I likening it to a made-for-television Lifetime special? It could be that I very much doubt that the lead columnist of a gossip tabloid's editor boss cares about everyone's mental and emotional well being. It could be the way everything suddenly ended up happy for no reason at all. It could be all the speechmaking or the way everyone assumed men are pigs and women are unwilling unwitting victims of bad relationships. Or it could just have been that everyone had these huge goregous apartments in NYC which would have cost at least half a million and I'm bitterly jealous. Also, I had a problem with everyone getting upset about this coaching Hitch did. I personally have "coached" at least two friends during their courtship processes. Guys do a lot better if they've got someone around to back them up and help figure stuff out. Actually, everyone functions better with backup but guys somehow tend to avoid asking their buddies for help since it's not manly or whatever. What's interesting (and sad) is how believeable it is that some guys would be willing to pay for such coaching. It's also interesting that the whole movie is based on the premise that you can't just walk up to someone and say "I like you. Let's go out" because no one can deal with that kind of honesty.

Oh well. It's a cute movie anyway. Just ignore some of the sillier speeches, enjoy the sight of Mr. Smith sipping Benadryl out of the bottle with a straw, and look into finding the Speed Dating group in your area.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

VALIANT -- by naudy (it gets a 2)

It failed to hold the attention of my 5 year old nephew. It also failed to hold my attention. What does this mean? Do I only have a 45 second attention span? Would I rather be outside playing or teaching my stuffed monkey to play basketball?

Well, obviously the answer is "yes" to all of those questions but that dosn't mean this movie is any good. Go see WALLACE & GROMMIT instead.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005



Visually, it was dark.

Not the brooding, troubled hero darkness of BATMAN: THE BEGINING dark, not Film Noir dark, not the evil "I gotta go to church now" dark, not the delightful yet crazy and twisted Tim Burton dark, or even a touch of the classic Mafia movie "can’t rise above my station-my life sucks-let’s kill everyone in retaliation because I’m going to Hell anyway" dark; but dark as in the really annoying gray, grainy, "is this a bootleg copy-or did I just get cataracts?" dark.
At first, I thought it was the projector bulb, but the previews were really bright (and for a $9.50 movie, they better have a new bulb in the projector!), so it had to be just this copy of the movie. I thought maybe the director was doing the creative ‘rising out of darkness and obscurity and going into the light" symbolism parallel to the storyline, the whole ‘let’s tell the story with the lighting’ thing, but Nope to that too.

Now for the actual movie, the first ¾’s of the movie was very cliché. The actors did the best they could with the script. I’ve seen better mobsters on the Disney Channel. But after the main character has his predictable change of heart, it’s actually a pretty funny movie. I especially liked the scene where they strong arm a little kid, and the tribute to the Godfather’s "Leave the gun, take the Cannolli." If you happen to just walk in and catch the last little bit, you wouldn’t miss a thing. Overall, if you have to see this, wait to see this at a ward function, or the $2 theater.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT -- by naudy (earns a solid 8)

This film was made in four weeks, had a budget which went mainly to Miss Colbert's salary, was expected to do very poorly in the box office. It ended up winning five Oscars, including Best Picture and the only Academy Award Clark Gable ever won.

Which is to say, it's good. It's entertaining, witty, and shows us the startling differences between the rich and the poor in 1930's America. Colbert and Gable argue pretty much the whole movie which makes it fun. Probably my favorite scene is when they pretend to be an unhappily married couple to evade discovery by the men looking for them. Between Claudette's outrageously loud crying and Clark's roaring abuse it's surprisingly entertaining.

Also in this film -- a song sung by all the bus passengers (look for the sailor as he's my favorite), an early helicopter prototype, baby carrots, and the popularity of wollen sports jackets for men. Claudette is Betty Boop, complete with tiny feet, and when she's being nasty she's just being herself. Clark Gable is having a ridiculously good time and sings a lot when he's not acting like he's drunk.

Odds are you'll have a good time, too.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

MR. AND MRS. SMITH -- by naudy (a 7 'cause i actually laughed)

Dang it's good, and that's not just 'cause I like to see things blow up. Brad Pitt is really just playing himself (surprised?) but Angelina carries her load and it end up being a well-written quality film. Definately fun to watch. I recommend it for when you're in the "I-like-guns-and-cool-spy-stuff-mixed-with-violence-and-marital-discord" mood. But if you're not in that mood, don't let it keep you from seeing it. WAR OF THE ROSES it isn't. It also isn't DANGEROUS LIASONS. It's nowhere that horrifying and traumatic. It's an action movie with a Cary Grant feel.

Basically, see it. You'll enjoy yourself.

FANTASTIC FOUR -- by naudy (ugh. 2)


To be fair I'v always hated the Fantastic Four. As a small child I was disgusted that the one girl on the team was always kissing "Mr. Fantastic's" backside and telling her cool brother to cool it. As a teenager I found Mr. Fantastic to be an annoying martinet, and his behaviour intolerant and demeaning. As an adult comic-book reader I discovered that I wasn't wrong. Mr. Fantastic really is selfish and annoying, Susan ("Invisible Girl") does kiss a lot of backside when she's not trying to manipulate her brother into doing what the boss man says, the Human Torch (the brother), while being a bit irresponsible, is the best thing about the team, and The Thing, bless his heart, is the only one who does any work and is constantly mocked for it.

Really, what are the Fantastic Four if not a 1950's morality tale, complete with a grey-templed squarejaw version of "The Man"? A world where the woman is either hot or unseen and who's only battle powers include protecting folks from unpleasantness and shooting dirty looks. The rebel against society has cool flame powers and flight but he's constantly being forced to conform and is held hostage to the team by his love for his sister. The Thing represents "persons of color" and is consistantly regarded as a second-class person. The whole premise is horrible and shouldn't have been made into a movie in 2005. There's nothing there to make into a good film. Even the villian is uninteresting, being nothing more than an envious evil reflection of Mr. Fantastic himself.

FANTASTIC FOUR is a film which has a lot of flash and motion (and some great graphic design) but dosn't mean anything at all. The society this super team supported was destroyed by that little cultural revolution we had in the '60's and '70's. Trying to make a feature-length film about a system no one really cares about ends up being a hollow waste of everyone's time and money. So basically I still hate the Fantastic Four. This movie just confirmed it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

"Stargate SG1" -- by Brooklyn


As a avid scifi lover I have come to a terrible and too real idea: for every good-makes-me-want-to-pee-my-pants-from-its-brilliance-show, there are five oh-gawd-make-it-stop-so-I-can-sleep-with-my-eyes-closed shows. After the loss of Farscape and Angel and the subsequent crying and knashing of teeth, I was trying oh so desperately to find something to fill in the void. I decided to try out Stargate SG1. It had been on for several seasons so it couldn't all be bad, right? I had caught a couple of episodes in syndication late at night (never drink a liter of Pepsi and expect there to be no side effects, though on a good note the voices do eventually stop). I had not been particularly impressed, until one particular episode. As in all things it only took one basic element for me to get caught in the show - hot guy where nakedness was involved. So now I have seen just about every episode (Netflix is awesome!)

So I started to watch. Overall it's an adequate show. The writing is not amazing, but there are spurts of interesting dialogue. The plots tend to be Star Trekish, but its enough to keep me watching. Well, ok, I'll be honest its all about Dr. Daniel Jackson .............................................................

Sorry I was reliving that naked Dr. Jackson on the ground episode again. Let me list why he is my ideal man (its not a review from me unless there is a list):

  • - He is breathtakingly gorgous
  • - He starts talking and unlike the other characters on the show, keeps me wanting more or panting like a dog ....or both.....on a good day
  • - He is brilliant and there be nuttin' better than dem smarty pants
  • - He has a dry witty sense of humor - just how I like 'em
  • - He was married once, but she died and still he loves the memory of her (yes I have a romantic side, feel the shock and awe)

I know that the main star 'till this recent season was all about MacGyver and I really did enjoy his character, except he was a little too ronin and too irreverent for me to believe that he was a high ranking military officer. The girl on the show is just cute as a button!!! She is a scientist, a military officer and a former host for an alien life form. Is there anything she can't do?! And to complete our ensemble, we must have an alien. So why not get a former college football player who has little to no acting experience, and to cover this lack, we make his character a mix between a warrior and a Vulcan. Brilliant! Honestly, he has gotten better in his acting as the show has progressed, but I think he is a better writer than actor because the episodes he has written I have always enjoyed, while his acting is give or take.

And now the big question: Would I recommend Stargate SG1 for viewing? To the average ho-hum scifi watcher sure. It doesn't require much of its viewer and the special effects tend to be pretty good. For the hardcore I'm-to-cinical-to-appreciate-anything-that's-not-star trek-or-star wars scifi person absolutely (see recommendation for ho-hum watchers). If you do not fall under those two catagories, just go and stick your head back in the hole it came out of and remember the good ole' days that only exsist in the memories of Conservative Repulicans (thanks Ned Flanders!)

MIRRORMASK -- by naudy (5 'cause it's pretty)


It should have been better. I can't figure out why it wasn't. Was it indifferent acting? Poor directing? Were the visuals -- stunning though they were, too unreal to be believed? For all that it's Jim Henson there aren't nearly enough puppets and way too much CGI. I'd hate to think it was the story or screenplay since it was written by Neil Gaiman and I love all of his books and graphic novels. Was it perhaps too Independant Film, too European, too Circ Du Solei for my uncultured tastes to appreciate? Or is the problem to be found in Carrie's statement, "Just because you can do something dosn't mean you should." [See DARK CRYSTAL]

::Sigh:: I have been looking forward to this movie for a while so I'm sad that I can't demand that everyone see it. It was supposed to be the next LABRYNTH. It isn't, but not just because David Bowie isn't there wearing ridiculously tight pants. The heart of this film is missing. When potentially tragic things happen to the characters, I simply observed them, experiencing no answering emotional response. I felt more anguish of soul over the alternate ending of DODGEBALL, and that was just an alternate ending. I should have been more involved in MIRRORMASK as it's about dying parents, controlling mothers, things being consumed by the dark, and the wanton destruction of a really useful book to save yourself from being eaten by a pack of man-faced rainbow-winged cat monsters. I think. I could be totally wrong. It might be about falling in like with a profoundly un-funny masked guy but I hope it's not since he was really painful to watch. I don't know. It's just upsetting that watching nine giant CGI puppets dressing a girl in a spooky/cool outfit while eerily singing "Close To You" by the Carpenters didn't blow my mind or even make my day. It somehow wasn't real enough, or unreal enough, or something. I'm really wanting to blame the actors but I don't know if I can do that. I tried to run an experiment on it. If one repeats any of the lines later, they're actually pretty funny, but those same lines weren't funny while one is actually watching the film. Is that poor acting, thoughtless directing, or weak writing? If anyone figures it out let me know.

So who should see this film? Anyone who is interested in 3D animation, graphic design, foley editing, or mask-making. Costumers won't really care, lighting designers will be mildly curious, fantasy-novel-readers will angry about having to work far too hard to get their story fix, novelists might observe that what looks good on paper doesn't quite work on screen, and all actors and directors will gnash their teeth wishing to get in there and do something -- anything -- with the all resources so richly squandered in this film.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Beginning Bollywood! -- by naudy

Did you see BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM and mostly like it? Have you heard about Bollywood and are curious about what it's all about? Are you sick of not getting the Abu jokes you hear on 'The Simpsons'? Then use this handy dandy flow chart to plot your course through the crowded waters of Indian cinema!

2a. If NO: See it.
2b. If YES: Did you like it?
---2b-1. If YOU LIKED IT: Good. (If you hated Keira Knightly that's okay. It's the rest of the movie I'm asking about.) Go rent BRIDE AND PREJUDICE
---2b-2. If YOU DID NOT LIKE IT: Stop. Your journey is just about complete. Watch GHANDI so you can be a better human being and you're done!

3. After having seen BRIDE AND PREJUDICE, did you like it?
4a. If NO: Stop. It gets a lot sillier from here so it's probably good to quit now. Go watch DOOM and wash that pleasant wholesome clean movie tase out of your mouth.
4b. If YES: Great! What did you like about it?
---4b-1. The music and dancing were good but I liked the rump-shaking party scene the best!! GO TO #5.
---4b-2. Ashwari Rai is the most beautiful woman in the world. Period. GO TO #6
---4b-3. I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what India is like and hearing Miss Rai talk about her country. GO TO #7
---4b-4. I was most comfortable with it's Novella-like elements. Univison rocks! GO TO #8
---4b-5. I was happy it didn't have subtitles as I don't like to read that much. GO TO #2b-2.

5. You are the proud supporter of westernized Indian music. Look up the movie CHOCOLATE. ( Enjoy!*
6. Yes she is. Start with the movie HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM. It's got amazing production values, beautiful cinematography, catchy songs, naked man-chest, kissing (!!very risque!!), information about how Indians (or at least the makers of this movie) really feel about arranged marriage and folks not from India, and lots and lots of Ashwari Rai. If you like this, you'll like everything she's ever done.*
7. Rent LAAGAN. It's about Indian peasants playing cricket with their British overlords. It's a much more 'manly' movie than the film suggested in #6 because it deals with male posturing, sports, and selling out your buddy 'cause you want his woman. For the ladies there still is plenty of naked man-chest so that's nice. PLEASE NOTE: Were you to request simliar fare from someone else they'd probably recommend several Very Important Films. Giving them to a first-timer is a lot like forcing a six-year-old to watch CITIZEN KANE. They are long, dull, apparently pointless and they pretty much make you want to never see another Indian movie ever again. LAAGAN is better.*
8. Pick up just any old thing starring a man with the last name of "Khan". You'll love it. *

*Please remember with this film, as well as most other Bollywood movies, that it will take a long time to watch. If you rode your bicycle ten miles and paid $12 to see a movie you'd want your money's worth, too. Expect three hours with one intermission.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

SERENITY -- by naudy (10!! SEE IT NOW!!)

I saw this movie last night and then turned around and saw it again. I was glad I could because otherwise I wouldn't have slept. I would have ended up lying awake and thinking about the film all night.

For those of you who don't know, SERENITY is a movie that continues the story of the characters of the now-cancelled television show 'Firefly'. I have two coworkers who are voracious 'Firefly' fans and have heard a lot about the opening of this film. However, I had managed to avoid learning anything about it. 'Firefly' was advertized as a space western, which immediately turned me off to it. I wanted nothing to do with the cheesy self-congradulatory potential of a western in space. I thought it would be shallow and poorly made. I went to the movie with Brooklyn (who has been talking about it for months) with a Episode III mentality. As long as it didn't suck I would be content.

I was not content. This movie had so much depth and humanity that I wasn't prepared for it. Walking into the middle of a completely new world and nine complex human beings was startling and engaging and confusing. It was also facinating. I strongly recommend this movie. And, in the interest of helping all those who aren't converted to the way of 'Firefly', I'm going to offer you a few bits of information so you won't have to watch it twice in a row.

  • If you can't understand what the people are saying, it's because they aren't speaking English. There is a strong Asian influence to the culture of this universe. Which, if one assumes mankind left Earth because we were too crowded, makes sense. Apparently the premise is, by the time we're that crowded, the only Superpower nation still in existance is China. So all the slang and bad words are in Chinese. If you don't know what they're saying, it's okay. Assume they're talking trash or telling someone to be quiet and move on.
  • If all the beautiful planets have beautiful cities and are in the center of the system, all the outer planets have primitive settlements and aren't pretty at all. Folks from the outer rim are, in essence, frontiersmen and as such use a lot of double negatives. They aren't rich, they aren't educated, and they aren't hung up on respecting authority.
  • There are a lot of interpersonal things going on that you don't know about. Don't worry about it. You'll figure it out.
  • Because this show was originally on television, the costuming is intended to communicate status and preferences using traditional symbols. What I mean to say is all the clothing is a whole lot like ours. Most sci-fi things have elaborate and different clothing to reinforce the 'alien' or 'different' bits of the future. Not SERENITY. Men here still wear neckties. (Which, were I a man, I'd get rid of almost instantly. Why wear a noose if you don't have to?) Basically, when you look at someone and you think you know who and what they are based on their clothing, you're right. And, while you're looking, notice the blend of Western, Chinese, and Japanese clothing styles. It's interesting.
  • This movie is like life. There are no easy answers and no easy solutions so don't expect them. This is what makes it good.
Go see SERENITY. You'll be glad you did.