Sunday, February 19, 2012


Can you see Cage? No? Perfect!

This movie, directed by the dudes who brought us CRANK, and JONAH HEX, is a perfectly serviceable Romanian/Turkish film about the Devil's gypsy baby mama, tattooed monks, wine, and a demon-possessed motorcycle-riding leather-clad Nicholas Cage who can look in your eyes and suck out your soul.  But enough about him.  His character in this film looks like a burning skeleton and can pee fire.

I know none of you will be surprised when I tell you that Mr Cage's performance was self-indulgent.  But, just in case you aren't sure what I mean, let me show you this still from the movie:

This is not the horrifying part of this movie.  The scene BEFORE this one is the worst.
Yeah.  That is Cage completely out of control as he pretends to be "fighting the demon" by acting like a crack head coming down off of some really bad drugs while recklessly riding his motorcycle through some random part of eastern Europe.  It is completely appalling.

However, the movie isn't a total disaster.  First of all, there is this man:
"I am so awesome even I have to squint when in the presence of me!"
This is Idrissa Akuna "Idris" Elba, aka "That man with the rainbow eyes" from THOR.  He is the best part of the movie.  Also entertaining was Ciaran Hinds as a very much damaged Satan.  He pretty much sagged at folks and wore nice clothing.

"Where am I? Who are you people? Am I drunk? Yes? Well, that's alright then..."
There was some plot stuff revolving around a kid and his mom, blah blah blah, but then the Highlander shows up.
"This movie wouldn't quite be bad ENOUGH without me."
So that happens.  And, honestly, I laughed a lot during this movie.  I enjoyed parts of it and I really appreciated the loving and exhaustive attention to detail demonstrated by the computer animators.  The 300 hours which must have gone into making sure that Cage's black leather jacket constantly bubbled like hot tar were totally worth it.  Beautiful work by all the crew and costumers, makeup and tech.  This would have been a fantastic movie had it featured an actor who is actually A) cool, B) hot, or C) capable of moving even moderately quickly.  Cage is starting to look and move like my grandpa.  He lurches around like John Wayne in his late years and has the skin texture of a dead chicken.  I think Sylvester Stallone would actually have been a better choice in this role. That's pretty sad because Sly is eighteen years OLDER than Cage and he still looks better/is cooler than Nick ever was.

"And I always will be... "

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ONE FOR THE MONEY -- as reviewed by Nat Hall

Catherine Heigl, squatting next to a dumpster

I have very little in common with my dad.  I am a hairdresser, he has no hair.  I love to talk movies and fashion, he likes to talk basketball and Big Foot. (Not that he believes in it just that he has been seeing a lot of it on his History Channel.  I know this because it was brought up randomly in a recent conversation, and my mom  bitched about it.  He has been doing a lot of big foot viewing.)  THEREFORE, knowing that, it did come up one day that I was currently reading a chick book that I was embarrassed to talk about.  He mentioned he too was in the middle of a chick book. He found it at the break room table at work and was tired of reading the news so he picked it up...and read and read...he liked it, and thought it was pretty funny.  I told him about the same book I was currently reading and enjoying.  We both agreed it was worth the free read (I picked mine up and the library) and we both realized it was One For the Money.   

My AUNT Lorie on the other hand LOVES these books. LOVES THEM SO MUCH that she talks about the main character Stephanie Plum, as a real person. KNOWING that background I realized a few things when I saw the movie; 1) My aunt is going to get her wish, (though only the part about Stephanie Plum being a real person, not that they would be BFF's), and 2) although this book is amusing, it should never be made into a movie.  

Katherine Heigl is so very Jersey you know. I know this because she wears animal print, smokey eye shadow, fake nails a mile long, uses bronzer to touch-up her fake tan, and her Snooky-like bumpit riding in that fro...oh wait. That is far from the truth.  That is Jersey- AND THIS IS NOT.   Calling girls cupcake is not a term of endearment, its something your creepy ex-boyfriend calls you who won't realize that you are o-v-e-r.  If you ran into a bad ass who shot a lot of guns hunting bastards for living, he would NOT be patient with a girl who knew zippity do dah about guns...he wouldn't help her, he would shoot her.  

Couldn't they have SOME sort of mystery to throw us of the scent of who the killer was?  I mean make SOME effort so that we think it COULD be Morelli.  I mean the cops are pretty sure, so maybe we should be pretty sure instead of sitting in the audience thinking,  "Seriously? There is no way this douche bag did it.  I know it, because he isn't that smart. NOW why Why WHY can nobody figure it out?"  You know who figured it out? The STONER figured it out...only because he saw it go down, but he was HIGH at the time.   

"SIGH."  That wasn't even me sighing, that was what the woman next to me said loudly 35 mins into the movie. Clearly she realized the same things we all did...that this was truly money wasted.  

And what of my dad?  When I told him of the movie based on the same book that we enjoyed, and read for free, he shook his head sadly and said "I knew nothing good would come of the movie".

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Your gun is HUGE

I read a lot of junk.  I always have.  When things go sideways the way I deal with it is to read a murder mystery.  They're good things, mysteries.  Everyone has problems which are far worse than mine AND everything gets solved at the end.   So, when I read a mystery, I am not in it for the florid prose, the in-depth character development, or for any other marker of literary merit.  I am reading it because I don't want to think about anything for a few hours.

I bring it up so you know that I have read One For The Money by Janet Evanovich.  And when I finished reading that book I didn't think about it again.  I just put it down and moved on.  Seeing this book made into a film, though, gave me two long, long hours to think about exactly the sort of trash I read.

That said, I liked the costuming.  I liked how the clothing made visible Stephanie Plum's (Catherine Heigle) slow transition from underwear merchant at Macy's

It's what all the girls are wearing while dumpster-diving this season

 to more-in-touch-with-the-neighborhood-than-the-cops investigator
Looking like a television journalist is the best way to get hookers to trust you

to improbably-tough-as-nails bounty hunter after just four days on the job.

This is what you wear when shooting John Leguizamo in the chest five times.  You know, like people do.

Did I mention the movie was shot in New Jersey?  Apparently, everyone knows everyone else in New Jersey so you can't talk about anyone anywhere without random strangers chiming in with more information which is critical to your investigation.

Other things of interest in this film are:

 - Debbie Reynolds is a "crazy grandma" type who shoots a turkey at the dinner table

Honestly, if you don't brine the turkey, shooting it is the only solution
 - Only unattractive men die

Though, in this movie, "unattractive" means everyone but the two men she's totally into

- It's normal to run someone over with a car when you are 17 years old.  That way, when you are twenty-seven and you hunt him down, steal his car, and handcuff him to a truck full of dead bodies, and collect $50,000 in bounty money on him, no one is surprised.

But make sure you act really nice and let him see you mostly naked first.  THEN get the money!
- It's also totally normal to learn how to pick locks, fire a gun well under pressure, and have your new friends answer phone calls while doing this --

He's a bounty hunter, not a male prostitute.  I know, easy mistake..

So, it's escapist trash which presents as possible the improbable option of a woman's ability to sucessfully transition from psycho girlfriend to psycho bounty hunter.  Which, now that I think about it, isn't much of a stretch.  I mean the stalking/investigating skill sets are the same.  Bounty hunting just has the added benefit of providing paychecks and lets you do exciting things like hauling naked old men into jail.

Best career move I ever made!

Saturday, February 04, 2012


I am not a disinterested observer most of the time.   The most notorious example of this is when I went to the dollar theater to see DRUMLINE with my friends.  I was so involved with the movie I shushed the friends who were openly mocking the movie beside me.  They, in turn, began to mock me as well, which is only natural since we were A) at the dollar show B) watching DRUMLINE.

I bring it up to say that REAL STEEL has some good action sequences which I totally got into in spite of the logical inconsistencies.  This movie is a Steven Spielberg-produced joint about crappy absentee dads (a standard Uncle Morty theme) in a world where boxing robots are easier to hack than Ipods and perfectly useful robots are thrown into junkyards with amazingly poor security.  You know, because no one would ever use a giant robot to do anything bad with.   Naw, in this world, it's much more satisfying to physically punch people in the face with your own fists, 11-year-old boys can walk un-accosted into terrifying underworld locations without fear, and if you just ask your robot to stand up, he will.  Also, a good boxer will beat a computer program every time, even if he can't win a street fight.

So either Texas in the future is a really nice crime-free, sunshine-filled place, or the Texas Rangers have the deadliest robots on the planet which they use to control a militarized Utopian society, providing professional boxing matches to the repressed population as entertainment by providing a cathartic release of the terror they live with on a daily basis.

Since we are talking about Texas, I think the most likely answer is "Both."  ;)