K-19: The Widowmaker

tn_k-19Well, I was stupid to write off K-19 all these years. I don’t know why I did. I didn’t even know what it’s about. I think I knew K-19 wasn’t a mountain, it’s a submarine. I knew it had kind of an audacious name but was directed by this year’s #1 Oscar snub, Kathryn Bigelow. That should’ve been enough, but I never heard anything too good about it and didn’t feel the need to see it.

Maybe it’s the submarine thing. I know this is blasphemy to alot of people, but I never even got into that one submarine movie that everybody loves that’s by the director of DIE HARD and PREDATOR. I’ve tried and it’s fine and everything but I just can’t get myself excited about it like everybody else. Maybe I’m subconsciously rebelling against my old man, who worked on subs. I never went that way. I’m a proud surface dweller. Strictly a land man. Vote no on Atlantis.
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The Miserables

tn_themiserablesAs you may have noticed, this week I’m doing some leading-up-to-the-Oscars-on-Sunday reviews. This one here completes my best-picture-nominees checklist, and then I’m gonna do a few less acclaimed previous movies from some of the nominees or people involved with the nominated films.

I know, I know. The Oscars don’t mean anything, blah blah blah. You know, the Super Bowl doesn’t prove who the best football player is either, but I don’t begrudge football fans for enjoying watching it. I like watching the Oscars every year and rooting for movies I like and against ones that I don’t like. I have no illusions about it being real important or an accurate scientific measurement of artistic worth or anything stupid like that, so skip the condescending lecture this year. I’ll just re-read the ones I got last year and the year before and the year before and repeat if desired.

The fact is I have fun watching the Oscars and I like to see all of the best picture nominees beforehand. As a non-professional critic and with the up-to-10-nominees they have now this is somewhat of an achievement, I think, and it forces me to watch some things I normally wouldn’t get around to. Before the nominations came out I was hoping the not-great buzz on LES MISERABLES would spare me having to sit through it, but no dice. So a couple weekends ago I saw AMOUR and the next weekend I capped it off with a Miserable Sunday.

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Amour

tn_amourHollywood is always trying to shove these movies down our throats that are just about a bunch of Hollywood bullshit, like a kid and his talking horse use teleportation to win the Super Bowl, or there’s a serial killer holding a fighting tournament in the sewers to prove his love for a girl, or whatever all these popular movies are now, I would never watch them so I wouldn’t know. But it’s all super heroes and comics books and nothing for the rest of us. What about the grown ups who don’t want to see IRON SPIDER RISES PART 32 or STAR WARS IN THE DARKNESS, we just want to see a nice movie about a French couple in their 80s being miserable in their apartment as the wife becomes increasingly mentally and physically debilitated and the husband has to feed and bathe her and they’re both completely tormented by pain and boredom and we watch in long, static shots as they cry and look off into the distance and agonizingly wait for the sweet comfort of death? No wonder there’s all this piracy and video games, if Hollywood won’t deliver what the people really want. For what we want we gotta go to Michael Haneke.
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Flight

tn_flightI wish FLIGHT was called BAD PILOT and marketed as an outrageous comedy. It kinda follows the BAD SANTA and BAD TEACHER model by showing this guy (Denzel Washington, RICOCHET) who is in this occupation (commercial airline pilot) and ruffles alot of feathers with his irresponsible drinking and drugs and being an asshole. In fact, he ingests almost a BAD LIEUTENANT worthy amount of intoxicants. And like Bad Santa, who liked to buttfuck plus-sized ladies in the dressing rooms, or Bad Teacher, who seduced Justin Timberlake into a wild dry-sex romp, this guy is fuckin around, but just with a super hot flight attendant (Nadine Velazquez, BLAST) who gets listed first in “in order of appearance” credits because one of her breasts is the first thing we see in the movie.
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Color of Night

tn_colorofnightBruceI know Valentine’s Day is a made-up greeting card company holiday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate by watching the notoriously bad Bruce Willis sex movie that you guys voted #1 in the outlawvern.com “Review Suggestions” feature. If my movie watching happens to match up with the agendas of Hershey’s Chocolate and the local florists then so be it. It seemed right anyway.

I never saw this before. Of course I knew its reputation. It won “Worst Picture” from those Razzies assholes but also Best Sex Scenes of All Time from those Maxim assholes. So I was surprised when I watched the opening scene. A woman is getting dressed and putting on makeup. She’s very manic and keeps freaking out and having a fit. She messily smears lipstick all over her mouth. She gets her purse and starts to put a handgun in it, for protection I assume. But then she hesitates, thinks about it, puts it in her mouth instead. Real suddenly, as if on a whim.

But then she decides not to blow her brains out. She decides to give the gun a blowjob. And that’s where director Richard Rush (THE STUNT MAN) decided to put his director’s credit. If I had known it was gonna be nuts like this I would’ve watched this a long time ago. (read the rest of this shit…)

A Good Day To Die Hard

tn_diehard5BruceA GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is directed by John Moore. His previous films are BEHIND ENEMY LINES, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, THE OMEN REMAKE, and MAX PAYNE. Not great. The screenplay is solely credited to Skip Woods. His entire previous filmography is THURSDAY, SWORDFISH, HITMAN, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and THE A-TEAM. So… this is what happens.

I love DIE HARD like I love air, and nothing is as good as it. But I’m easier on the sequels than most people. I feel like we made an agreement as soon as we were okay with The Same Shit Happening To the Same Guy Twice that we would accept increasing levels of absurdity in order to continue our relationship with John McClane. I kinda hold the sequels separate from the original in my mind. They’re not untouchable, but I enjoy watching them.

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Eye See You

tn_eyeseeyouaka D-TOX

Here’s a movie that brings a new angle to my Badass Auteur Theory. If this starred Ben Affleck or Ewan McGregor or somebody it would just be a mediocre stalker thriller from the director of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. But since it stars Sylvester Stallone we can only see it in the context of his body of work. It forces us to look at it as a Sylvester Stallone vehicle and compare it to CLIFFHANGER and stuff. So it has the advantage of being an interesting tangent in his filmography.

Stallone plays Jake Malloy, former city cop turned FBI agent. The wikipedia entry makes me think he was supposed to be a Seattle cop, but I didn’t pick up on that from the movie and it wasn’t filmed here. Anyway, he’s on the trail of a serial killer who targets cops. He’s been chasing this guy for 6 months but he’s not in so deep he doesn’t have a personal life. He buys an expensive ring so he can propose to his girl (Dina Meyer), so I think you know what that means. He better own a black suit. (read the rest of this shit…)

The 6th Day

tn_sixthdayI guess when THE 6TH DAY came out I was less loyal to Schwarzenegger than I am now. I thought it looked shitty, so I skipped it. And I kinda forgot I never watched it. But now I feel bad that nobody’s going to see the new Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies in theaters so I wanted to show my appreciation for their works by watching a movie from each of them that I skipped before.

With these low expectations THE 6TH DAY worked out well. It’s enjoyable lesser Arnold, clearly better than COLLATERAL DAMAGE and arguably more consistent than ERASER or END OF DAYS. It takes place in “the near future – sooner than you think,” when cloning is a thing. Cloning humans is illegal, but Re-Pets (clones of your dead pets that you can buy) are popular and Dr. Griffin Weir (Robert Duvall) has made strides in cloning human organs for transplants, though not without protest. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Aristocats

tn_aristocatsFor some reason I am reviewing THE ARISTOCATS. You gotta fuck around and try out different shit sometimes, as my dear grandmother used to say.

THE ARISTOCATS is not one of the better Walt Disney pictures in my opinion. It was the first one they made after Disney’s death, although he’d approved it before he died. It seems to rehash parts of LADY AND THE TRAMP and 101 DALMATIONS without being as good as either. At the beginning a nice old rich lady in Paris is drawing up her will and since she has no living relatives she wants to leave it all to her cat Duchess (Eva Gabor, the same voice as Miss Bianca in THE RESCUERS) and her three kittens. This is upsetting to her human butler, who responds by giving the cats date rape drugs and abandoning them out in the country.

For a second I was thinking I’d already seen this, it was so familiar, but then I realized I was thinking of GARFIELD: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES, which had almost the same plot. But great minds think alike, you know. (read the rest of this shit…)

Seven Psychopaths

tn_sevenpsychopathsNow that I’ve seen SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS I understand why the ads made it look so dumb: it’s too hard to explain. They made it look like some corny post-Tarantino “isn’t it funny, they’re hardened criminals but they’re arguing over a Shih Tzu!” type bullshit. And that’s in there – writer/director Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES) is about the only guy whose style can remind me of Tarantino in a good way – but overall it’s weirder and more distinct than that.

In IN BRUGES the protagonists were hit men, and there was a subplot about a movie being filmed near where they’re staying. In this one the movie business is more central. Colin Farrell plays a clearly idiotic screenwriter trying to write something called SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, but he doesn’t have much more than a title. He doesn’t even have seven psychopaths, so he just spends his time trying to think of concepts for different psychopaths, sometimes based on stories he’s heard or seen in the news. So we see these stories in his head, or going on around him, and fictional reality begins to blend with fiction-within-fiction. (read the rest of this shit…)