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THE CRYING GAME (1992) (****)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 8:56pm

I remember the reaction to this shocking film when it first came out. It became a lightning rod for debate. The big secret has become common knowledge, however I will still avoid revealing it in this review. After 15 years since its release, there are younger viewers who may still be innocent in their film history to not know the twist. Having not seen the film until after learning the secret, the impact of the film wasn't ruined, however I can only imagine the shock for those lucky enough to go into the film unaware. I wouldn't want to ruin that for anyone, because the twist is amazingly handled and can only add to the freshness of the first experience if unknown.

The story begins as British soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND) is lured into a kidnapping trap by IRA member Jude (Miranda Richardson, SPIDER). The IRA wants to trade Jody for one of their members who is under interrogation. Fergus (Stephen Rea, MICHAEL COLLINS), a humane IRA soldier, is assigned to watch Jody and over a few days the two men develop a friendship. Jody asks Fergus to visit his girl Dil (Jaye Davidson, STARGATE) in London if he is eventually killed. This opening sequence concludes in a very unexpected and ironic way. Following this, Fergus ends up in London going by the name Jimmy. He finds Dil, who works as a hairdresser by day and a singer in a pub at night. Fergus/Jimmy protects her from an abusive boyfriend, soon developing a romantic relationship with her. His secret of kidnapping Jody weighs on his soul, but he will find out that Dil has her own secrets as well. Fergus/Jimmy wants to protect Dil, but his violent past will come back to haunt him.


INTO THE WILD (2007) (****)

Including this film, I have only seen two of the four full-feature films that actor Sean Penn has directed. While the thriller THE PLEDGE left no real lasting impression on me, INTO THE WILD has stuck in my mind for days after seeing it. Penn adapted Jon Krakauer's bestselling non-fiction tome with great depth and passion. It's a project that come Oscar time could be shined upon brightly. It deserves it; it's one of the best films of the year.

Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch, LORDS OF DOGTOWN) was an idealistic, determined and selfish young man, who gave away all his savings to Oxfam, burned his ID and hit the open road. Changing his name to Alexander Supertramp, Chris partly abandoned a chance to go to Harvard Law as a form of rebellion against the lies of his conservative, warring parents Walt and Billie (William Hurt, ACCIDENTAL TOURIST & Marcia Gay Harden, POLLOCK). We get a perspective on his troubled home life from the voice over of his younger sister Carine (Jena Malone, SAVED!). Chris's goal is to venture out into the complete wilderness of Alaska, following the inspiration of his literary heroes Jack London, Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy. His first significant encounter is with the hippie travelers Rainey and Jan (Brian Dierker & Catherine Keener, THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN), but leaves them when he begins to feel like a third wheel. Along the way he will work on a farm for Wayne Westerberg (Vince Vaughn, SWINGERS). There is a hint of romance when he meets a teenager named Tracy (Kristen Stewart, ZATHURA) at a hippie commune. Later, he develops a friendship with the kind old man Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook, 1980's THE FOG), who teaches him leatherwork.



This Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or winner looks at the activities of the Irish Republican Army during the 1920s. Titling the film after a 19th century song that became a symbol of the Irish Republican movement, British director Ken Loach brings his longtime writing collaborator Paul Laverty's ironic screenplay to intriguing life as he balances between the characters and the intellectual underpinnings of the story.

After returning from a game of hurling, Damien (Cillian Murphy, BREAKFAST ON PLUTO) and some of his friends are accosted by British soldiers. It is the law that the Irish cannot congregate in groups even for sport. The incident turns violent and afterward Damien's older brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney, TV's THE TUDORS) urges the young doctor to join the Irish Republican Army. We watch as he trains and engages in the IRA's guerilla-style war against the British forces. Once a treaty is signed, the brother's find themselves on opposite sides — Damien on the anti-treaty IRA and Teddy on the pro-treaty Irish Free State. During the course of the story, Damien will have his morality tested in the face of the cause.



Following the lackluster box office performance of GRINDHOUSE, The Weinstein Co. flirted with several ways to make extra cash off the project. In several European countries, PLANET TERROR and DEATH PROOF were released separately. Now on DVD in the U.S., we get the extended cut of DEATH PROOF, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Unencumbered from the spoofier PLANET TERROR, the opening of DEATH PROOF plays scarier than the theatrical release. The slower set-up doesn't feel like a crawl coming after the lightning speed of Robert Rodriguez's film. Director Quentin Tarantino sets up his characters well, taking his time to build tension as the villain Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell, EASCAPE FROM NEW YORK) stalks his prey.



By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 12:59pm

Based on the award-winning THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN comic book series, this animated direct-to-DVD feature earns its PG-13 rating. It was produced and co-written by Bruce Timm, who brought BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES to TV. Like that superior series, this movie has a mature quality, but that's not to pigeonhole it into the "adult" animation category, which so often includes forced "edgy" content. The maturity of the material comes from its more emotional character driven side, as well as its violence. This quality is what made BATMAN a series that could attract children, who could grow up and return to the series not wondering what their younger selves were thinking.

The story begins with Superman (Adam Baldwin, SERENITY) in a relationship with Lois Lane (Anne Heche, 1998's PSYCHO) as Clark Kent is heading off to Afghanistan on assignment. Lex Luthor (James Marsters, TV's BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) is running his LexCorp as corruptly as ever. During an illegal mining operation, his men dig up an alien spacecraft and inadvertently unleash Doomsday, a virtually indestructible killing machine. Superman races to confront the beast and, as a result of his unprecedented beating, dies.


A SIMPLE PLAN (1998) (****)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 9:00am

Sam Raimi broke out as a director with his cult horror flick EVIL DEAD and went on to bring the SPIDER-MAN franchise successfully to the big screen. However, his most mature and accomplished film came with this simple thriller that turns out to be anything but simple. With two Oscar nominations for Scott B. Smith's screenplay and Billy Bob Thornton's supporting performance, A SIMPLE PLAN is not only one of the premiere films of 1998, but the 1990s as well.

Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton, ALIENS) is a happily married man whose wife Sarah (Bridget Fonda, POINT OF NO RETURN) is expecting their first child. He works at a farm feed shop and still has to look after of his unemployed older brother Jacob (Thornton, SLING BLADE). One night on the way home with Jacob and his brother's best friend Lou Chambers (Brent Briscoe, MULHOLLAND DR.), they find a crashed plane in the woods. Inside they discover a bag with more than $4 million. After some hesitation, Hank agrees to hold onto the money until they feel that no one will come looking for it, then split it up and move out of town. In contrary to the title, the money will create great problems within the threesome, as well as from outside forces.


This Weekend's Film Festival Celebrates The Open Road

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 5:46pm

With the extended edition of Quentin Tarantino's half of GRINDHOUSE racing onto DVD this week, I felt I'd turn This Weekend's Film Festival over to him. His DEATH PROOF is a badass car chase flick. Within it, he has his characters gush over three films that fall into that same category, which are all featured in this week's lineup. I've also included a road movie that doesn't feature cars, but motorcycles. If it weren't for this film, the anti-establishment road movie wouldn't even exist. So gas up your tanks for This Weekend's Film Festival — it's an adrenaline ride for all the cinematic grease monkeys out there.

With the lackluster box office performance of GRINDHOUSE, Miramax has elected to initially release both halves as separate films on DVD. Therefore, Friday night feature is only DEATH PROOF, but don't let that scare you off. Tarantino's slasher/car chase opus puts the grrr is girl power. Almost working as two films of its own, the story sets up its killer than sics him on another group of victims. The tale is full of Tarantino's signature dialogue, which slyly sets up the characters and building sympathy by focusing his camera on key moments. The final car chase filmed without visual effects has a real old school visceral feel to it. Anchored by really believable performances, Tarantino doesn't spoof B-movies, like Robert Rodriguez did with GRINDHOUSE's first half PLANET TERROR; he makes a good one. To find out more about the entire GRINDHOUSE experience, read my original review and be on the lookout for my forthcoming look at the extended cut of DEATH PROOF.


EASTERN PROMISES (2007) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 1:54pm

Following the recent successes, SPIDER and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, director David Cronenberg has quickly turned into a filmmaker whose next film is a cause for excitement. Not quite on the same level as his past two productions, EASTERN PROMISES is still a compelling thriller that peers into the underworld of the Russian mob in London. Cronenberg's HISTORY OF VIOLENCE star Viggo Mortensen deserves an Oscar nomination as the lead in a cast full of excellent performances.

A 14-year-old prostitute dies during childbirth. Midwife Anna (Naomi Watts, KING KONG) finds the girl's diary, which is written in Russian, and makes an effort to get it translated, so that she can find the girl's family. She eventually follows a business card found in the girl's journal for a private Russian restaurant, where she meets the owner Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl, SHINE), who claims he does not know the girl, but offers to translate the diary for her. In meeting Semyon, she meets his drunk and leering son Kirill (Vincent Cassel, IRREVERSIBLE) and the stoic driver Nikolai (Mortensen), who we soon learn are involved in the bloody murder that starts off the picture.


THE BRAVE ONE (2007) (***)

Director Neil Jordon (THE CRYING GAME), along with top-notched performances from Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard, takes many of the conventions of the revenge thriller and weaves them into a sad reflection on lose and violence. The emotional honesty for 99% of the running time moves the viewer over the contrivances. When the build up began for the final revenge shootout, I wasn't rooting for the vigilante; I was scared for her, because her anger had now clouded her good judgment.

Erica Bain (Foster) is a radio talk show host, who tries to capture the sounds and sense of New York City. She is about to marry doctor David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews, TV's LOST) until they are attacked viciously by three men during a walk in Central Park one night, leaving her in a coma and her fiancé dead. After her recovery, Erica has a hard time adjusting to her old life. After a long period isolated in her house, she wills herself to leave, buying a gun for protection. Then late one night, Erica gets in the middle of an act of violence, leading to her shooting a man. From this point forward, she unconsciously then consciously goes looking for violent confrontations. Detective Mercer (Howard, HUSTLE & FLOW) is a lonely cop, who is frustrated with a system that lets criminals go free. He is assigned to catch the new vigilante killer plaguing the streets of NYC. A twist of fate brings Erica and Detective Mercer together. They form a friendship, but will it last once he begins to suspect her?


The Legend of the Archive

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 10:08pm

Wow the last time I had a chance to post new items into the archive was April. With the addition of This Weekend's Film Festival, new old reviews from past editions of my old e-mail newsletter have been slowing getting online. Part of the delay in catching up with the older reviews is that I'm fleshing out some of the shorter items. With some it's easy, especially for films I really liked. For the middle ground films, it's tough to remember what I actually thought, because the film has slipped from my mind. Anyway, here's an eclectic mix of the remaining films from the September 16, 2004 edition of my newsletter. Hey, even if you were one of the lucky few to have read them the first time around, they've been upgraded. Consider them the director's cut.


BLADES OF GLORY (2007) (**1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 12:26pm

Though it may be more developed than TALLEDEGA NIGHTS, BLADES OF GLORY starts out like a mid-level speed skater, but ultimately limps across the finish line by embracing clichés instead of cutting them down. There are laughs to be had and far less awkwardly unfunny moments as star Will Ferrell's previous sports spoof, but it never takes its premise further than some PG-13 potty humor.

Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) are the premiere male figure skaters in the world. However, their personalities are like fire and ice. Michaels is a sex-addicted bad boy loner while MacElroy is an effeminate lyrical performer. After tying at a championship event, the rivals get into a brawl on the medals stand, which leads to their lifetime ban from their division. However, after their lives have fallen apart, they discover a loophole — they can skate in the pairs division. MacElroy's former coach (Craig T. Nelson, TV's COACH) convinces the former rivals to team up, forming the first male figure skating partnership. This infuriates brother-sister champs Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenburg (Will Arnett, TV's ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT & Amy Poehler, MEAN GIRLS). After MacElroy develops a crush on their younger sister Katie (Jenna Fischer, TV's THE OFFICE), the Van Waldenburgs plot to rip Jimmy and Chazz's partnership apart.


The Importance of PLAY

This week has been dedicated to painting...and some real progress has been made with two paintings finished this far.
With that said, I have been receiving a bunch emails about character design and construction.

With character design one of the most important elements is PLAY.

Ward Kimball once told me he did about 300 designs to get Jimminy Cricket...The character began very much as an insect and worked it's way to the little dude with the tophat.

Here are few fun sketches I found as I was going through some drawings...these are play sketches with no particular purpose in mind except to just play with some character ideas.


12 AND HOLDING (2006) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 3:12pm

This sad inspection of how death affects children and adults alike is painful, humorous and, at times, melodramatic, but always insightful when looking at how profoundly the actions of parents change their children. Director Michael Cuesta and writer Anthony Cipriano have crafted a look at how tragedy at a young age can sometimes cause arrested development, while never falling into the common pitfalls of films that deal with children by surrounding them with cookie cutter adults. In covering the lives of three friends, the filmmakers understand that there are more influences in their lives than just each other.

Jacob and Rudy Carges (both played by Conor Donovon, THE DEPARTED) are twin brothers, however Jacob was born with a large pink birthmark over one side of his face. When we first meet the brothers, Jacob is hiding behind his new hockey mask as the duo fends off their treehouse from bullies. Their best friends are the bold Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA) and the overweight Leonard (Jesse Camacho, TV's RUDY: THE RUDY GIULIANI STORY). When a tragic accident leads to the death of Ruby, each of the three children handles it differently, confronting their fears in various ways.


This Weekend's Film Festival Contemplates 9/11

With the sixth anniversary of 9/11 this week, like many others, I felt it's a fitting time to contemplate the many issues and feelings that surround that terrible day. In choosing films for This Weekend's Film Festival's lineup, I specifically stayed away from films that have politicized the attacks. I truly believe in the age-old words of wisdom that if we do not learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it. It's equally true that one needs to know their enemy in order to defeat them. The films I have collected deal with various aspects of topics that connect directly with September 11th, including the Taliban, terrorism and the lives lost as well as those who survived. In only five films, there is no way to cover the many aspects of what 9/11 means to everyone. So I've decided to use a collection of films that deal with terrorism and then the events of 9/11 as captured on film.


THE LIVES OF OTHERS (2007) (****)

As PAN'S LABYRINTH was picking by Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Cinematography and Makeup, it surprised some when Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's first feature film walked away with the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. More traditional Oscar fare than Guillermo del Toro's breathtaking fantasy, THE LIVES OF OTHERS has the intelligence and emotion of great drama, but the urgency of a top-notched political thriller. Set a few years before the Berlin Wall fell, the film investigates the overreaching practice of the East German government to spy on its citizens.

Top spy Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe, FUNNY GAMES) tells his superior Anton Grubitz (Ulrich Tukur, AMEN) that he suspects famed playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch, BLAKC BOOK) of subversive actions. Corrupt minister Bruno Hempf (Thomas Thieme, DOWNFALL) has a vendetta against outspoken artists and desperately wants to find anything that can bring Dreyman down. So Wiesler is called on to lead a day-and-night spy operation on the devoted socialist Dreyman and his girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck, THE GOOD SHEPHERD), a highly admired stage actress. Dreyman's friend Paul Hauser (Hans-Uwe Bauer, GOOD BYE LENIN!) is quite outspoken against the practices of the Ministry of State Security, known as the Stasi, especially in light of the blacklisting of their friend Albert Jerska (Volkmar Kleinert), a once famed stage director who hasn't been allowed to work in nearly 10 years. A tragedy finally motivates Dreyman to speak out against the lies of the Stasi in an expose article to be smuggled into West Germany and printed in a magazine there.



Mega-producer Brian Grazer, who is best known for being Ron Howard's producer, made some ripples in Hollywood when he announced that he was producing a NC-17 documentary on the influences of the porno flick, DEEP THROAT. Instead of being a truly provocative expose of the history of porn, the film from directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ends up being something that would be a good extra for the next anniversary DVD edition of the infamous porn film. So to answer the question that everyone will want to know going in — yes, there is pornographic content in this film. For the most part it's nothing more gratuitous than anything on late night Cinemax. What earns the film the NC-17 is a clip of the act that earned the film it's name and made its star Linda Lovelace a porn legend.


SHUT UP & SING (2006) (****)

In 2003, the Dixie Chicks were country music princesses. They were at the top of the charts and their concerts were selling out arenas around the globe. Then, when the U.S. was on the brink of invading Iraq, lead singer Natalie Maines made the statement that they were ashamed that President George W. Bush was from Texas. This began a fervor, which this great documentary intricately documents, making it one the best rock docs ever made.

Part of the backlash from the statement started with country music stations banning their songs, spurred by calls from irate fans. Some stations even sponsored promotions for former fans to bring in their Dixie Chicks CDs to have them run over by a steam shovel. Alienated from their Red State base, the threesome, which also includes sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maquire, had to work on reaching out to new fans. We watch as they prepare for the U.S. leg of their world tour post incident, record their next two albums and strategize on how to handle the predicament and how it has changed their image.


ROMPER STOMPER (1992) (***1/2)

Named by THE TIMES OF LONDON as one of the most controversial films of all time, ROMPER STOMPER is everything AMERICAN HISTORY X wished it were. In not making a movie "about" skinheads, director/writer Geoffrey Wright makes the best movie about skinheads. We are put directly inside an Australian white supremacist gang and the film only gives us a troubled outsider as our in-route into the story. It's unflinching about the violent lifestyle of skinhead gangs and never forces characters to have epiphanies where they learn that racism is bad.

Hando (Russell Crowe, 3:10 TO YUMA), leader of the skinhead gang, is enraged by the growing number of Vietnamese immigrants buying property around his neighborhood. Along with his quiet right hand man, Davey (Daniel Pollock), and the rest of the thugs, he brutalizes a trio of Vietnamese skateboarders, which includes Tiger (Tony Lee), a young man who vows revenge. At the local bar one night, Hondo sets his eyes on Gabe (Jacqueline McKenzie, TV's THE 4400), a trouble epileptic girl, who has some serious daddy issues. The gang's violent attacks on the Vietnamese will have their repercussions, leading to more and more desperate actions.


3:10 TO YUMA (2007) (***1/2)

WALK THE LINE director James Mangold does with 3:10 TO YUMA what all good remakes do — use the original's strengths as a basis while fleshing out the weak moments. The 1957 original is a minor Western classic. However, while not perfect, the remake is a superior film. This is done by giving more depth and sublty to the characters and pumping up the excitement level in good ways. The addition of two of today's premiere actors — Russell Crowe and Christian Bale — as well as a star making performance by Ben Foster, does not hurt either.

Dan Evans (Bale, BATMAN BEGINS) lost a leg in the Civil War. Now he's struggling to keep food on the table and pay off his debts. His son William (Logan Lerman, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT) resents the fact that his father doesn't charge after the men sent to burn down their barn. One day while tending the cows, they witness ruthless outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe, CINDERELLA MAN), along with his bloodthirsty sidekick Charlie Prince (Ben Foster, BANG, BANG, YOU'RE DEAD), use their cattle as a blockade in a robbery of the stagecoach. After Wade and his gang leave Evans and his sons without horses, they help the injured stagecoach driver Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda, EASY RIDER) and end up finding their horses on the road to town where Wade promised they would be. Desperate for money, Evans helps capture Wade and joins railroad manager Grayson Butterfield (Dallas Roberts, A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD), Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk, I, ROBOT) and hired thug Tucker (Kevin Durand, WILD HOGS) on a mission to deliver Wade to the 3:10 train to Yuma.


This Weekend's Film Festival Celebrates The Western Code of Justice

In general I love Westerns. They often work as simple morality tales, but the more ambitious ones serve as metaphors for the era in America in which they were made. With the excellent remake of 3:10 TO YUMA coming to theaters this Friday, this seems like a great week to dedicate This Weekend's Film Festival to the Western.

Often referred to as the "dead" genre, Westerns were once the most popular form of film in the U.S. Many were just escapist fun, but the truly great ones took on a grander scale. The good and the bad in the genre did often have one thing in common — characters who live by a strict code of honor. Or in some cases found one. In the new YUMA, Christian Bale's character has a strong sense of duty to what is right… and so does Russell Crowe's killer in a way. So I've chosen a selection of five great Westerns that feature characters with a unique sense of justice. So saddle up for a lineup worth your weight in gold.


3:10 TO YUMA (1957) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 9:30pm

This minor Western classic has a similar vibe to another famed Western, HIGH NOON. One man stands against the urging of everyone to do what is right. The chief difference between this film and the Gary Cooper classic is the presence of the charming killer played by Glenn Ford.

Dan Evans (Van Heflin, SHANE) is a rancher whose farm is suffering under a two-year draught. His wife Alice (Leora Dana, POLLYANNA) worries that they won't survive the year in the desert. One day with his two sons, Dan finds outlaw Ben Wade (Ford, THE BIG HEAT) using his cattle as a blockade in a stagecoach robbery. Later Dan reluctantly lures Wade into capture and aids the stage line owner Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt, KID GALAHAD) in taking the bandit to Contention City to put him on the 3:10 train to Yuma.


THE HEART OF THE GAME (2006) (***1/2)

It is hard to review or even watch this film without the memory of HOOP DREAMS coming to mind. Where that groundbreaking documentary blazed trails in uncovering the inner city push for children to strive for NBA stardom as the way out of poverty, this film has shades of that larger social issue, but mainly serves as a look at one coach and one great player and what happens along the way as they strive to win a state championship. My memories of HOOP DREAMS always fall back to the people and their struggles while HEART OF THE GAME just plays out like a great sports flick.

Bill Resler takes over the girls' team at Roosevelt High School with the plan to run the full court press the whole game. He trains the players to be in better shape than their opponents. In his first season, he wins coach of the year, leading the girls to an undefeated season. At this time, Darnellia Russell was making waves across town playing ball in junior high. With pressure from her family, the tough-minded and confident African-American girl decides to travel across Seattle to attend the majority white Roosevelt in an effort to receive a better education.


NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947) (***1/2)

I have a fascination with carnivals and circuses. Many filmmakers have as well Fellini, Bergman both made films set in the circus. So when I first read about this long forgotten film noir gem, I was hooked by the combination of a dark seedy crime story set in the carnival world. Surprisingly what I got was more than that — a thoughtful drama on the psychic con game.

Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power, THE MARK OF ZORRO) is a streetwise hustler who finds a home working as the talker at a carnival. He warms the crowd for low rent psychic Zeena Krumbein (Joan Blondell, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN), who use to be in the big time until her partner/husband Pete (Ian Keith, QUEEN CHRISTINA) became lost in the bottle. Zeena and Pete's legendary act was based on an intricate code, which allowed one person in the crowd to hold up objects obtained from the spectators and relate covertly what they were to the blindfolded "psychic" on stage. The code is worth a fortune and Stanton works his charms on Zeena to learn it. Now with the code, Stanton teams with the beautiful carnie girl Molly (Coleen Gray, RED RIVER) to go legit on the nightclub scene. But as his career skyrockets, Stanton gets greedy and hooks up with the cool and beautiful psychiatrist Lilith Ritter (Helen Walker, CALL NORTHSIDE 777) to turn his mentalist act into a medium.



By Joe Strike | Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 5:52am

Just saw a teaser trailer for the upcoming live-action/cgi Chipmunks feature. Excuse me while I blow my brains out in car...

Is there some way we can get the Geneva Convention to outlaw these god-awful, gag-(not the funny kind)-inducing grotesqueries? Garfield, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed...

They were all Oscar contenders (for Best Pic period, not just Best Animated) compared to this, this - eugggghhhhh, is the best I can describe it. It's not just that the sole gag in the trailer (an homage to Pink Flamingos?) revolves around Alvin eating one of Theodore's turds to convince Dave Seville (Jason 'uh-oh I picked a stinker this time' Lee) it was only a raisin; (I guess kid movie farts were just a gateway drug to flat-out coprophilia) it's not just that the 'munks are life-size in the sense of REAL LIFE-sized chipmunks, thus losing the characters' kid/adult size relationships and turning them into pettable pets; no, it's that....


This Weekend's Film Festival Celebrates Horror That Was Good the First Time Around

With Rob Zombie's remake of HALLOWEEN hitting theaters this weekend, I felt a proper theme for This Weekend's Film Festival, in light of the many horror remakes in the past few years, would be to look at the originals that we good the first time around. In doing so, I'm not making a judgment on Mr. Zombie's film, because I have not seen it. However, it's hard for me to see how you can improve on John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, which is one of the all time best horror films. I tried to pick films that cover a wide breath of what kinds of horror is being remade and address how it's being remade. I thought about doing a compare and contrast lineup, but rethought that idea wanting to save viewers from wanting to gouge their eyes out or wanting to gouge my eyes out for recommending them watch such gruesome and horribly remade films. Here is a weekend of chills for you that for some may require three days of watching the TV through the spaces between fingers.