Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

SIFF: Vern is cooler than all of us, he’s seen AMERICAN SPLENDOR!

Tuesday, June 10th, 2003

Hey folks, Harry here… Underground Comix are one of the great joys on this planet, one that unfortunately… many in the world have not experienced. Most folks that know of Harvey Pekar, probably know of him via either his Letterman appearances long ago or his radio show. However, they are missing the glory that is AMERICAN SPLENDOR. A comic with his brilliant narrative and the illustrative talents of gods like Robert Crumb (you know him), Paul Mavrides (co-artist with Gilbert Shelton on some of the genius that is THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROS.) and Frank Stack (those wonderful NEW ADVENTURES OF JESUS!) While I’m dying to see this film, having been a reader of AMERICAN SPLENDOR – pretty much all my life… at least since STAR WARS entered the world, I have one thing that I’m dying to see more than this flick… Next year’s edition of AMERICAN SPLENDOR – which will deal with Pekar’s experiences at Sundance, Cannes and whatnot. Could be AMAZING stuff. His Blog at http://www.harveypekar.com has been pretty great through all of this. Here’s the trailers and VERN’s take on the film which has won awards at both Sundance and Cannes.

Howdy boys,

Vern here still at the Seattle International Film Festival which is a very good film festival to go to in my opinion, because you just have to take the bus to get there. If you live in Seattle.

Anyway here’s the deal, I know you guys are still arguing about “is the Incredible Hulk phoney looking or not” and etc. but I got another comic book movie that is gonna blow you fuckers through the back of the theater. You thought Huge Ackman was born to play Wolverine, you thought Wesley Snipes redefined comic book acting with his performance in Blade, well what about Paul Giamatti playing Harvey Pekar in AMERICAN SPLENDOR? His super powers involve that he writes a comic book, he is a file clerk at a hospital, etc. This is a great performance and a good movie and why are you looking at me so blankly. It won sundance man come on. Did spider-man ever win sundance? Did snoopy ever win sundance? Not even once, in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern eyeballs Norrington’s THE LAST MINUTE…

Monday, June 2nd, 2003

Hey folks, Harry here… With reports beginning to leak online that Sean Connery is now the man overseeing the editing of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN and a bizarre belittling of Norrington in the Post process on that film, it just sounds like a nightmare. I’m still pulling for a fun movie, but I recognize that there has been quite a bit of chaos behind the scenes on this film, and frankly… I’m saddened about it because I saw THE LAST MINUTE last year at Sitges and the film was quite wonderful. Norrington’s most complete film so far, stylistically unique as well as being emotionally satisfying and challenging. This was sent to Moriarty, but right now, Moriarty is recovering from a tragic fatal computer malfunction that seems to be putting into danger the fate of about 5 years worth of writing. He’ll be working to recover this information and will be offline for a bit while doing this. Let’s all wish him the best of luck. Meanwhile, here’s Vern with a look at Norrington’s THE LAST MINUTE…

Moriarty,

How’s it goin bud I know you’re busy playing Mortal Kombat… er, I mean, “doing research”… but I wanted to send this one to you and not harry. Don’t tell harry about this man, he thinks I’m reviewing SIFF movies for him right now. but I decided to take today off and watch this dvd I got a hold of.

This is the story of Stephen Norrington’s third film, and his first really personal one. I forgot he was even working on it until I found the dvd in some bushes. (I don’t know how to come up†with these fanciful pretend adventures you guys do so I’m just saying I found it in the bushes. Is that okay?) You guys reported on it a couple times before it was finished but even though it apparently premiered a year ago at Cannes you haven’t reviewed it yet. UNTIL NOW. (read the rest of this shit…)

SIFF: Vern on SINCE THE END OF THE WORLD!

Friday, May 30th, 2003

Hey folks, Harry here – Actually, while Vern kinda rags a bit on this, I’m curious to see this for the exact same reasons stated in his opening paragraph… I’ve seen 28 DAYS LATER, CABIN FEVER, DADDY DAY CARE – but I haven’t seen CITY OF SARS (I hear that’s shooting in Toronto currently) or SINCE THE END OF THE WORLD and thus far… the best one is CABIN FEVER, and I’m sure it’ll remain, though I still think the best virus/end of the world flick is NO BLADE OF GRASS, but since 10 people have seen that… I’m probably in the minority there. Here’s Vern at the Seattle International Film Festival…

Vern sees SINCE THE END OF THE WORLD at SIFF

Harry I don’t know if you’ve heard of this one but apparently it’s been playing the festivals for a couple years. Otherwise I’d think it was part of a slew of disease/virus movies like 28 DAYS LATER, CABIN FEVER, CITY OF SARS and DADDY DAY CARE. There seems to be a general panic across the world about diseases and poisons like SARS, West Nile, the flesh eating virus, mad cow disease, anthrax attacks, etc. Oh come on, let’s not be a bunch of sissies people, it’s only your FLESH being EATEN by a VIRUS. Really not a big deal. Anyway the concept of SINCE THE END OF THE WORLD is that a mysterious disease has killed off most of the world. Now it’s 12 years later, there are 168 survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area and some dudes decide to make a documentary about it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Streetwise and American Heart

Wednesday, May 14th, 2003

both directed by Martin Bell

Well this is an incredible, classic documentary and a pretty good narrative type companion piece, and both were filmed in Seattle and now that I saw them I wonder why in fuck’s name I took so long getting to them. The real winner of the two is STREETWISE, academy award nominated documentary about runaway kids on the streets of Seattle in 1984. The story behind this is that the photographer Mary Ellen Mark (web site) was doing a photo essay for LIFE magazine. At the time Seattle was considered one of the country’s “most livable cities” (imagine that) so she thought it would be the perfect place to photograph homeless kids. If it can happen in seattle then shit, it can happen anywhere. Well the photo essay turned out good so she decided to get her husband Martin Bell to direct a documentary about the same kids she took pictures of. (read the rest of this shit…)

Y tu mamá también

Tuesday, April 15th, 2003

You probaly heard of this cute little Mexican sex movie that was nominated for some oscars. It’s really a sentimental story about two young friends on a road trip but it’s also about their sexual experimentation and it’s got alot of the NC-17 sex that’s so hot there were urban legends going around that the sex was all real. So naturally they hired the director to do the next henry porter movie.

The title translates to AND YOUR MOTHER TOO or, in other words, I FUCKED YOUR MOTHER. I FUCKED YOUR MOTHER is directed by Alfonso Cuaron who also directed A LITTLE PRINCESS, an extremely well made fable that’s probaly the real reason they hired him to do Henry Porter. That movie is about a little girl who defies her harsh boarding school by escaping into an imaginative story world. There’s ten headed monsters and all kinds of shit. Everything you want in a henry porter adventure. Shit I admit it I loved that movie, I just never reviewed it because I’m still embarassed by that time I reviewed FLY AWAY HOME. (read the rest of this shit…)

Paid in Full

Monday, February 24th, 2003

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Vern rules. Here’s why:

Fellas –

As you know, last week I reviewed CUBE PART 2 and DRACULA PART 2. You know what that means: I’m right in the middle of a straight to video binge. The economy is gettin real bad, in my opinion, and it’s gonna get a whole lot worse when the bombs start dropping. It’s hard to justify paying 8 clams to go see some asshole in a red leather coat pretending he’s blind and can fly. I love you boys, I’d trust you with my life, I’d let my kids sleep over at your ranch, whatever. But for now I’m gonna have to hold off on trusting your recommendation of a movie that looks that silly. Maybe next week.

Anyway I think that’s a pretty good excuse for my quirky habit of digging through piles of video screeners hoping to find gold or at least some kind of shiny aluminum. Usually the best stuff I find is ridiculous straight to video sequels, but occasionally I find a GINGER SNAPS or an ED GEIN or a DOG SOLDIERS. A good low budget movie that for whatever reason didn’t get much of a release here in the unleaded states of america. (read the rest of this shit…)

All the Real Girls

Saturday, February 15th, 2003

You probaly haven’t heard of it but ALL THE REAL GIRLS is the new one from the young man who made GEORGE WASHINGTON. Maybe you never saw that one either, it was kinda weird because it wasn’t about President George Washington or peanut innovator George Washington Carver, it was about some kid. Maybe he grows up to be George Washington, I don’t know, I don’t get it. But it’s a unique and effective movie made by a young dude nobody ever heard of and somehow it got its own Criterion Collection dvd and many nominations for Independent Spirit Awards. Now the kid got the job of directing a movie of the book CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, which people have wanted to do for years and years. We’ll see how that turns out, I think the kid can pull it off but who knows I only read half of the book. (read the rest of this shit…)

Igby Goes Down and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

Wednesday, February 5th, 2003

Somehow this week I ended up seeing two independent movies starring Kieran Culkin as a troubled rebel kid in a private school uniform. That’s just the way life is sometimes, I guess.

You know my theory about Culkins. They squirt ‘em out on a conveyor belt somewhere and sell ‘em cheap to filmatists. I’m not sure they even have separate identities, they probaly just call them “Rory” when they’re young and “Kieran” when they’re a teen and “Macaulay” when they quit acting and start going to clubs. If you buy the media hype about them being actual kids, then Kieran must be the most successful of the group because he’s doing legitmate acting roles and he must be 16 or so. (read the rest of this shit…)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Saturday, January 25th, 2003

Well geez, it’s not too often you get this with a movie writer, but apparently this Charlie Kaufman guy can do no wrong. Between the brilliant BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION and the underrated HUMAN NATURE and now this… I mean really, what more could you ask for from a writer? There is no other non-director writer working who has been so consistently inventive and surprising and at the same time so personal. In fact there are few who have ever worked who could be in this same category. These are all movies made by skilled directors but it is always the writer’s voice that comes through.

You hear that, motherfuckers, the WRITER.

This is Kaufman’s most straight forward and normal picture so far, but that’s not saying all that much. It’s adapted from Chuck Barris’ autobiographical novel, and the gimmick of course is that in the novel he claims to have been a CIA hitman while he was hosting the Gong Show, which seems pretty dubious. Also he talks about the genesis of The Gong Show, the Dating Game, the Newlywed Game, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mr. Majestyk

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

I think it was my colleague in Badass Studies, Mr. Jeff McCloud, who first recommended MR. MAJESTYK to me a year or two ago. When he said that Charles Bronson played a watermelon farmer in it, I knew it was my type of movie. What better way to fulfill the criteria of the THEORY OF BADASS JUXTAPOSITION than to grow a field of watermelons? I mean I guess maybe if they were flowers it would seem more sensitive, but this business of a dude growing watermelons is definitely not the obvious choice for a Badass. Which is why it’s such a good choice.

So I was an idiot to put off watching the movie as long as I did. What really did it was I was lookin through a used book store (seriously, I read books) when I saw the book MR. MAJESTYK by none other than Elmore Leonard. I pulled it out. The dude on the front was definitely not Charlse Bronson. But I read the back, and sure enough, it was about a badass watermelon farmer. (read the rest of this shit…)