Saturday, August 27, 2011

In the Fall

When your life flashes before your eyes, you may welcome death.

In The Fall from Steve Cutts on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Brief Questionnaire

via Jaquandor

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

My civil ceremony with Becca. She says she didn't cry, but she did, and it was very sweet.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Can I do better in high school?

What movie/TV char­acter do you most resemble in per­son­ality?

Bernard Black from Black Books, maybe. I'm very lazy and kind of disgusting and horribly selfish, so... yeah, that fits.

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

Karl Rove.

Name one habit you want to change in your­self.

My laziness.

Describe your­self in one word.


Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Well, I got it from Jaquandor, so: impeccable.

Why do you blog? (In one sen­tence)

I am superhumanly bored and have an intense need for distraction in my inconsequential existence.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Touching and involving documentary about the journey of a loggerhead sea turtle, from birth to laying eggs. The narration can be a tad bit flowery at times, but it's beautifully shot and has more than a few things to say about the unfortunate state of the Atlantic Ocean. **** stars.

RIO (2011)
Like many modern animated films, this one has a beautiful opening that pulls you in with color, emotion, and stylized design... and then the animals start talking. As soon as Jesse Eisenberg's voice came out of that parrot, I ceased giving a shit about anything that happened to him or anyone else. Fuck the majesty of nature: let's make it all silly and small, uninvolving and unchallenging, by reducing the natural world to the same collection of civilized neuroses and agoraphobia. Who cares? * star.

BEASTLY (2011)
A modern version of Beauty and the Beast, about a vain kid who becomes monstrous until someone can love him. I thought it would be braver to end this tale differently, but what do I know? Something like 86 minutes long, but it feels like the year of being beastlike passes by in real time. Could've been something cute, but as usual, concision is beyond American filmmakers. You can tell it's super-serious because Vanessa Hudgens is using her deeper vocal register. * star.

BURKE & HARE (2010)
Why hasn't this been released over here? It's a funny flick--directed by John Landis, of all people--about the Burke & Hare murders, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis in the title roles. After having endured the terrible The Doctor and the Devils years ago, I was pleased with the approach here, playing it as a quirky comedy with a terrific cast. Jessica Hynes is especially funny as Hare's wife, and Isla Fisher is cute as can be. Always nice to see Tim Curry, too. And Ronnie Corbett! ***1/2 stars.

I didn't realize this was written by Gene Stupnisky & Lee Eisenberg, the Office duo who wrote the underwhelming (but sort of okay-ish) Year One. Every film they write makes me pretty glad that their Ghostbusters III script has yet to be produced. And I actually liked this one, but I think it's because director Jake Kasdan doesn't approach it as a hysterical comedy but as a movie about quirky characters. It's more amusing with occasional big laughs than it is a successful comedy. But it's not bad, even involving, and I liked Cameron Diaz in it--I checked, first movie I've liked her in since 2000. *** stars. Oh, and I adore Lucy Punch. I say that every time I see her in something, but it hasn't stopped being true since... well, since 2000.

SCREAM 4 (2011)
Surprisingly enjoyable flick--better than Scream 2 and Scream 3 combined--that basically reboots the franchise by updating the original with a fresh group of bodies. I especially dug my darling Hayden Panettiere, with her New Wave hair and her jacket, like an 80s dream. I don't understand the hate thrown at this film, honestly, as it's the first of the Scream sequels to actually justify its existence in a clever way. They missed the title, though; the movie itself suggests the much better meta-title Screamake. Still, fun movie. *** stars.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Song of the Week: "Memo from Turner"

Mick Jagger and Ry Cooder off of the Performance soundtrack. I've never seen the movie, but I first heard this on an ABKCO collection of Rolling Stones singles. It was a boxed set; I used to check it out from the library and I made a tape of my favorite London-era Stones songs, and this was definitely one of them. Great stuff that never gets old for me.

80s Revisited: Critters

Critters (1986)
Directed by Stephen Herek; screenplay by Domonic Muir, Stephen Herek and Don Keith Opper; produced by Robert Shaye

When I was 11, this movie scared the hell out of me. Now, at 35, I want to smack 11 year-old me upside the head.

This movie has a very simple premise: alien criminals steal a spaceship, land on Earth, and menace a farm family while being pursued by bounty hunters. No more, no less. It does it on a low budget and, if you don't demand much out of it, it's a very enjoyable little B-flick remnant of New Line Cinema's early days.

I really wish I had more to say about the movie itself, but it's pretty much exactly what that premise promises (though it is interesting now seeing how the opening scenes have the same set-up as Lilo and Stitch). It's got a decent cast (including the lovely Dee Wallace, always a favorite of mine), and it doesn't wear out its welcome, running just 82 minutes. That's pretty refreshing today, when even the most inconsequential of films seem to run about two and a half hours.

The only thing that really gets me about this movie is the Critters themselves (or Crites, as their race is known in the galaxy). They're just too cute. They're adorable. I want six stuffed ones right now. I know I'm supposed to be scared of them and find them menacing, but they're more funny and precious than anything else. I think it's nice that they try not to play up the humor too much--the bounty hunters, one of them Terence Mann, are very serious indeed--but there's just something inherently funny about the Crites.

Either way, I enjoyed this as a sort of off-brand version of Gremlins mixed with a bit of Terminator wannabe. It was director Stephen Herek's first film; then he made the wonderful Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and then some of the worst movies in history for the next 20 years.

You could probably go your whole life without seeing Critters, but it's a fun bit of silliness with adorable space monster puppets.