Just putting this out there

First of all, thank you all for reading and participating here, you are the best and this has been a really great year.

Second, this is a polite nudge to remind everybody that IF you participate in capitalism AND you use the “Amazon” type electronical service to do some of it, then you could really help me out by using my links. You pay the same amount you were going to anyway but those slick suckers slice off a little tiny piece of the pie and send it my way. So let’s say you are doing some Christmas shopping, or ordering a TV, or pants, or hundreds of dollars worth of office supplies for your work. Might as well give me a cut, right?

If you refuse to do it I will still like you but come on man help a guy out.

Anyway, thanks again everybody. Hope everybody got some sweet potatoes.

For some reason the Amazon UK search engines are not working on my page anymore. But until I figure that out if you click on one of these titles and then search for your item hopefully it works.

Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold

tn_yellowhairI loved that female barbarian movie HUNDRA, and unfortunately there was never a sequel (let alone a James-Bond-style decades-long series like it deserved), but at least star Laurene Landon and director Matt Cimber reunited for this western adventure serial type deal. Landon plays the first-part-of-the-title character, daughter of Grey Cloud (Claudia Gravi) and “half breed” like Billy Jack, but living among the tribe. Unlike Hundra she’s surrounded by men, but like Hundra she doesn’t think they’re worthy of her (rejecting one suitor by defeating him in a wrestling match).

We begin mid-story with Yellow Hair’s buddy The Pecos Kid (Ken Roberson) in jail and with Colonel Torres (Luis Lorenzo) in possession of the fabled deer-horn-carved-into-a-wind-instrument that could help him find the legendary Aztec City of Gold. When the troops come after her tribe in their search for the gold she has personal reasons to find it for herself. (read the rest of this shit…)

Population 436

tn_pop436Yesterday it was officially announced that director Michelle MacLaren will be directing a Wonder Woman movie. She’d been Blogger’s Choice since it got around that Warner Brothers was hoping to get a woman for the job.

It’s a good idea to get some female perspective in some of these super hero pictures, and an interesting challenge. There unfortunately isn’t a very big pool of established female directors to choose from, and zero who’ve been allowed experience in big budget effects or super hero movies. One who came close was Patty Jenkins (MONSTER), who was supposed to do THOR 2, but was fired before filming allegedly for “a lack of overall clarity in her choices.” Women who’ve done medium-sized or small studio genre movies include Karyn Kusama, who did ÆON FLUX; Catherine Hardwicke, who did the first TWILIGHT (then got dumped); Kimberly Peirce, who did the CARRIE remake; and Lexi Alexander, who did the b-movie THE PUNISHER’S WAR ZONE.

To date the biggest budget live action movie directed by a woman is Kathryn Bigelow’s K19 THE WIDOWMAKER. She also happens to be a great action director, but after THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY it’s hard to picture her going super hero. I assume they offered to greenlight six serious contemporary issue dramas if she’d do this, but if so she must not’ve been interested.

So they’re digging into the TV directors. MacLaren got the internet’s eye by directing episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Obviously they’ve talked to her about what she wants to do, so they have more to go on than the we do. Personally I’m skeptical of counting on the cinematic vision of TV directors. From what I understand TV is usually a totally different gig than movies. They come in and try to follow an established approach, directing a cast and crew already working together as a team who know how it’s supposed to go. It’s the producers and show runners who have the vision. That’s why it’s rare to see one episode of a TV show that stands out filmatistically. (read the rest of this shit…)

The news today

I feel like I can’t just post more of my usual dumb movie reviews without first acknowledging the huge cloud of bummer hanging over the country today. But also I have no words, and I don’t even really want to discuss it. We all know it sucks, and if you don’t know it sucks please don’t come here and tell me about it because nobody deserves to hear from your dumb ass today. Show some respect.

I want to say something like “Let’s all just pledge to do what we can to make things better,” but I have no idea how we would do that. I think back to 20 years ago and the Rodney King verdict. Seems like the only thing that’s changed is that it happens so often that we saw this one coming. And also those guys didn’t kill him and at least had to go on trial.

But I’m not going to get into it. Instead I will turn, as I often do, to Stevie. He knows how to turn anger into something beautiful.

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins

tn_remobtisl“Computer said you were a smartass.”

You know what’s great about movies? Any of us who are reading this who are currently alive were born some time after they were invented. They got a head start on us, and no matter how hard we try we’ll never catch up with all the good ones that already exist. It’s just a beautiful thing to realize that even now there are movies out there as perfectly tuned for me as REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS that I haven’t gotten around to yet. Thank you, Lord. Good work on that one.

One reason it’s great: it’s an action vehicle for Fred Ward. He’s been a great utility player in SOUTHERN COMFORT, UNCOMMON VALOR, TREMORS, etc. but even playing the lead in the great MIAMI BLUES he has to compete with scene-stealing villain Alec Baldwin. Here he’s the main attraction from beginning to end. It glorifies him as a fit badass in his 40s, and it shares his dry sense of humor.

We first meet him as a tough but lazy cop (with mustache) sitting in his patrol car eating a burger and drinking coffee, being hassled over the radio about gambling money he owes. When some dude gets chased right past him he doesn’t react at first. It doesn’t seem like he’s even gonna bother to intervene. (read the rest of this shit…)

Some nerd shit for you here

starwarshereticWarning: I’m about to dive deep into the Nerd Shit. It could be upsetting to nerdiness sensitive readers. This is to be read by serious Star Wars people only. Unfortunately they aren’t gonna like what I have to say either. Sorry everyone.

Sometimes you get together with some friends, one thing leads to another, you end up watching THE PHANTOM MENACE on blu-ray again… you know how it is. All the sudden you get a late night notion about the Star Warses that you decide needs to be said because you know for god damn sure nobody else is gonna say it. And that’s what I’ve decided to do here.

I’m afraid this is not me playing devil’s advocate. This is my sincere opinion. And I swear it, friends, I’m not trying to be a contrarian, I’m not trying to get attention. I’m just being honest. To prove it I didn’t give this post the “wh-wh-WHUT!?” spit take click bait headline it could have: Why Hayden Christensen Should Be In Episode VII, But They Don’t Have the Balls To Do It. Don’t go spreading it around, but that is my thesis.

Hear me out, fellas. I’m gonna lay out my argument below, and you can do as thou wilt.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Interstellar

tn_interstellarYou guys heard of this INTERSTELLAR? Came out recently. It’s Chris Nolan’s take on the wide-eyed space exploration epic. The type of sci-fi movie that keeps its feet partly on earth, has no lasers or star wars in it whatsoever and tries to seem relatively semi-quasi-plausible by modern scientifical-esque theories. It’s definitely supposed to be a spectacle, but not in the complicated-cgi-creations-loudly-smashing-things-into-a-million-cgi-particles way we generally get now, or even the how-did-they-even-do-that style of the INCEPTION hallway scene. More in the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA sense of gigantic landscapes. It’s the type of movie made by and for people who get awe struck staring up at the stars and weepy at the thought of specific astronauts. People whose imaginations get boners from the idea of a manned mission to Mars more than they would from a monster biting the head off a robot.

So the truth is I’m not the audience for this movie. I was better in monster biting head off a robot class than in science. When a guy sitting by me in the theater said he read that the black hole created for the movie was so “mathematically accurate” that scientists were now making discoveries based on it, I literally had no idea what that meant. Still don’t. On several different levels. So keep that in mind when I tell you I liked, didn’t love INTERSTELLAR. But I’m still gonna write about it, ’cause this is America. (read the rest of this shit…)

Locke

tn_lockeYou guys want to see a Tom Hardy acting showcase that doesn’t involve muscle gain? Then LOCKE is the KEYE! This is the movie where the entire thing is Hardy driving in his car and making phone calls. I honestly thought that meant a Larry Cohen type high concept thriller, but it’s not that at all. Just a drama, a character study. But that’s cool.

Hardy’s character Ivan Locke has a 90 minute drive to a hospital. While he’s driving he’s also trying to:

1. Convince the brass at his construction company that it’s okay that he decided to ditch work on the big day they’ve been working toward forever when he is supposed to oversee the largest concrete pour in English history.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Jersey Boys

tn_jerseyboys“Frankie’s okay. He’s no Neil Sedaka.”

Here it is again, the ol’ New Movie Directed By Clint Eastwood But Without Him Acting In It rigmarole. It goes like this: New Clint movie comes out. It doesn’t seem like my kind of thing. It gets bad reviews (at least if it came out in recent years). I genuinely intend to see it in theaters, but I keep putting it off. There’s always something I’m more excited for that’s playing. Like, uh, I believe I might’ve seen some robot/dinosaur related picture around the time JERSEY BOYS came out. So I end up missing the movie in theaters. Months later it comes out on video. I’m not excited. I feel like I’m doing my homework. I watch it.

And then the Hey, this is pretty good!

I wouldn’t say this surprised me as much as J. EDGAR (which I still believe is totally underrated, and got 10% worse reviews even than JERSEY BOYS, according to Rotten Tomatoes) but I’m happy to say I enjoyed it. It’s a solid, entertaining biopic of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons based on a Broadway show of some kind. Vincent Piazza of Boardwalk Empire plays guitarist Tommy DeVito and then the guys from the stage version play the other three: John Lloyd Young as lead singer Frankie Valli, Erich Bergen as songwriter/keyboardist Bob Gaudio and Michael Lomenda as bassist Nick Massi.

I thought it was gonna be a musical, but thankfully it’s not. It’s just a story about musical performers doing musical performances, recorded by the actors. I don’t know about the show, but the movie version only has one actual musical number and it’s during the end credits. In my opinion it is more of a blooper reel than an official part of the movie, because why would they be dancing around on a soundstage street singing songs, I mean it just doesn’t make sense.

The rest of the time it’s them singing “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and stuff, and these are good songs. So it’s not a problem. (read the rest of this shit…)

Whiplash

tn_whiplashWHIPLASH is one of those movies that you hear about playing at Sundance and what not and going over like gangbusters. But you have to take that praise with a grain of salt. You know those festival-goers, they can get excited about seeing something first, something brand new without a bunch of pre-release expectations, with a big audience, usually with the directors and actors there. Sometimes it’s a great movie and they get to call it first, other times nobody really cares as much when the movie comes to the civilian world. Sometimes it’s good but you feel a little let down from all the build up. Sometimes you don’t really know what anybody saw in it at all.

I had none of those problems with WHIPLASH. It would actually be hard to exaggerate how strong its effect was on me. You know how a hyperbolic critic would say they had to catch their breath after a movie? That was literally true for me. When the credits rolled I felt my skin tingling and then I realized I was breathing fast. Honest to God exhilaration from this movie.

The set up and the execution are very simple. Nerdy loner Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller, who I have liked since the remake of FOOTLOOSE) is a student drummer at an elite music conservatory in New York. He idolizes old timey jazz drummers like Buddy Rich and wants to get into the top band at the school, the one conducted by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, THE JACKAL). Fletcher is maybe some kind of genius teacher, but for sure a total fucking asshole. I’m not talking a strict teacher, a grouchy curmudgeon, a Joe Clark type guy that’s gonna turn out to have a heart of gold. I’m talking just… you want to punch this fucking guy in the face in the opening scene and I’m pretty sure you’re not gonna love him by the end. One of the most abusive, hateful non-murderers ever put on screen, and not in an endearing Billy Bob Thornton type of way. He doesn’t even give you the usual cinematic satisfaction of going too far and becoming a psycho in the criminal sense. It doesn’t turn into THE STEPFATHER or something. He’s just… a Total Fucking Asshole (TFA). (read the rest of this shit…)