Archive for April, 2010

h1

notes from the back row. Kick-Ass!!!

April 16, 2010

Zoe Saldana is not in Kick Ass, she's in the other movie.

Notes from the back row- april 13, 2010

You’ve been waiting for this Friday, even if you didn’t know it. Kick-Ass opens at the good old Village 8. The old superhero adage, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility,” can also be figured to mean that with no power comes no responsibility, which is why regular people never seem willing to help each other out. This bothers the hell out of comic book geek Dave Lizeski (Aaron Johnson) so he buys a fancy green outfit online and takes to the streets to fight crime as Kick-Ass.

And he gets his ass kicked. But he sticks with it and when a YouTube video goes viral he’s suddenly caught up with a real father-daughter superhero team hellbent on destroying a local crime syndicate. And then shit gets ultra violent.

Kick Ass is based on the comic by Scotland’s Mark Millar (he wrote the Wanted comic) and the idea is slightly autobiographical. “As a child, I wanted to be a superhero,” Millar recently told CBC radio. “My brother was a scientist and I used to follow him to work and put my fingers in the cages of test animals hoping to get bit.” Millar never did get radioactive powers and instead turned his dreams into a hit comic that Mattew Vaughn (Layer Cake) snatched up, funding the production himself.  “I thought the screenplay was brilliant,” Millar explains, “But no big studio would touch it.”

A self-admitted fan of taboo, shocking people, and the language and violence of Quentin Tarantion, Millar’s comic has been very faithfully adapted into an R-rated body-count picture where most of the death and carnage comes at the hands of Hit-Girl, an 11-year-old with the vocab of a pissed-off, dyke truck driver. Chloe Moretz (500 Days of Summer) plays the little girl who will do anything, even kill, to please her deranged father, a Batman-looking nutcase played awesomely by Nic Cage. McLovin also stars as the Red Mist, another hero with no powers but lots of ulterior motives.

The violence and language is drawing a lot of criticism (nothing like a little kid spitting out the c-word) but if you can get past that Millar and Vaughn have delivered a hilarious, action-packed film set in a cool comic book world. At two hours it may be a tad long (romantic subplots almost always drag) but even so Kick-Ass is a satire and celebration of comics, movies and violence with points to make about instant celebrity culture and society’s overall apathy towards each other. If you can stomach it, Kick-Ass does indeed kick ass.

Also opening this Friday is Neil LaBute’s Death at a Funeral. It’s a remake of an English flick with the same name that came out three years ago, and was pretty good. So why remake it? Hollywood is utterly out of ideas is why, and they’re afraid to take risks. Without comics and remakes they’d have nothing.

LaBute (In the Company of Men) Americanizes Death at a Funeral with some of the funniest black actors of the past ten years – Chris Rock, Tracey Morgan, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, and Zoe Saldana all star. It looks okay.

For fresh ideas, the big movie ticket of the week is the WSSF 72-Hour Filmmaker showdown that goes down on Tuesday April 20. The biggest night of the year for local DIY filmmakers the prize is up over $10 Grand now and this year there will be a $1000 Audience Choice award. Yee haw! Tickets have been sold out for weeks but there are usually scalpers at the front door. See ya there.

h1

K-Stew, Date Night and Eva Mendes

April 8, 2010

Notes from the back row- april 6

Eva Mendes stars in the new Bad Lieutenant flick, now on DVD

The Runaways finally makes it up to Whistler this week and it is awesome. People who actually remember the all-girl rock band from the 70’s might find the flick a bite montage-y and loose with it’s facts (it focuses almost entirely on the Joan Jett/ Cherie Currie relationship and ignores the other members of the band, including the kick-ass Lita Ford) but all in all The Runaways is a rockin’ good time. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning kill it in the lead roles while newcomer director Floria Sigismondi delivers a highly watchable account of journey of some really young girls (Currie was 15 when the band formed) in the messy 1970’s who embrace the hypersexual side of teenage pop culture and roll with it until they self destruct. Fathers lock up your daughters because Rock and Roll will get ‘em every time and supporting actor Michael Shannon knocks one out of the park as the girls’ slick manager Kim Fowley. Shannon should get an Oscar nod for his performance here and next up he stars in the Megan Fox, Horror-Western Jonah Hex, set to hit theatres in June.

The nifty lesbo romantic undercurrent to The Runaways also includes a tiny bit of on-screen girl-on-girl action followed by an artsy montage. It’s nowhere near as awesome as Angelina in Gia but Kristen Stewart, thanks to Twilight, is one of the biggest stars in the world so any scene where her and Fanning swap some spit is at least a bit culturally relevant.

Kristen Stewart first appeared in 2002’s Panic Room, the least-known piece of work by David Fincher (Fight Club), but she caught my eye as a gypsy musician love interest in Sean Penn’s epic Into the Wild. She also ruled in last year’s theme park love-comedy Adventureland. Real film freaks might have caught her in the recent Indie drama The Yellow Handkerchief but the rest of us “K-Stew” fans will just have to wait until autumn when the next Twilight drops. Those movies have shitty acting and dialogue but I enjoy them anyhow. Vampires are so hot right now.

Also hot, in a much more intelligent way, is Tina Fey. She’s hugely popular for her TV show (and her Sarah Palin impersonation) but it was Fey’s script for Mean Girls that brought her big-screen cred. This week she’s teamed with equally funny Steve Carrell in Date Night, a mistaken-identity romantic comedy about a married couple looking to have a nice dinner together who end up in an Adventures in Babysitting-style night of mayhem being pursued by gangsters, crooked cops and all sorts of bad times.

Steve Carrell (also a huge TV star with The Office but also a big time movie star thanks to The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Tina Fey are outstanding comedians but unfortunately Date Night doesn’t succeed as much as you’d expect. Blame director Shawn Levy, whose best work up to now was either Night at the Museum 2 or Cheaper by the Dozen 2, not much of a pedigree. Levy goes too big and ridiculous with his plot and the story overshadows the talent, despite a supporting cast of Mark Walberg, James Franco and the getting-hotter-every-time-you-see-her Mila Kunis.

Date Night isn’t total crap, you might as well drop by the good old Village 8 and see it, but watch the outtakes during the credits to get a hint of what could have been a much funnier movie if the stars were given more room to “use their acting.”

The DVD of the week is Bad Lieutenant-Port of Call New Orleans, the Werner Herzog flick about a strung out cop played by Nic Cage.  Hot-ass Eva Mendes also stars.

h1

Notes from the Back row- Clash of the Titans

April 3, 2010

Notes from the Back Row- mar 30

the remake will not be as cool as this picture

I, for one, was kind of hoping Whistler would have found a way to work a digital 3-D projector in amongst our Olympic legacies. (Especially since anyone with a credit card can go pick up a new 3-D TV for just a few grand.) The good news is that this Friday’s Clash of the Titans remake is the one flick you really don’t need to see in 3-D because it was shot in 2-D and the third dimension was added afterwards as a cash grab. For this one, Whistler’s old-school 2-D will be just fine.

Speaking of old school, the original Clash of the Titans came out in 1981 and is memorable for the wicked-awesome stop-motion beasts created by effects legend Ray Harryhausen. This version, directed by Louis Letrrier (Transporter 2, The Incredible Hulk) is all motion capture and CGI and, while being far less memorable, it’s a decent swords & sandals escapist popcorn flick for a slow week when nothing else is opening.

As far as the plot goes- Sam Worthington (Avatar) stars as Perseus, a demi-god raised by humans who must save mankind and a hot chick by killing a crapload of monsters the gods send when Zeus (Liam Neeson, soft-lit like something from a Bette Midler musical flick) is persuaded by his snaky brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes re-doing Lord Voldemort) that humankind has gotten too cocky about their importance and it’s time to lay down some hurt and destruction. Even sacrificing the hottest maidens might not deter the wrath.

Ah, Greek Mythology, that convoluted mess of gossip and incest. I learned all those stories in highschool but, honestly, I have a better recollection of what colour pants Rebecca Walker wore on any given day than four months worth of Western Civ 12. This Clash of the Titans is similarly forgettable so don’t go in expecting much more than a few good monsters (and some shitty ones– Medusa) some stilted acting and a whole lot of flash-cut action and off-axis cinematography. It’s rated PG-13 because little boys will like it the most.

R-Rated comedy fans can still hit up Hot Tub Time Machine which is good for a few laughs if you like your humour stupid. Chock full of “I screwed your sister/mom” jokes, 80’s hair metal and recurring severed arm gags Hot Tub Time Machine recounts a pivotal 1986 ski vacation that set the tone for a group of friends’ futures and lives. The obligatory ski sequence is a good time though. Daffys and spread eagles rule.

Coming down the pipe in two weeks is Kick Ass a comic adaptation about what happens when normal people become superheroes. Defendor, starring Woody Harrelson, relies on the same premise and is now on DVD but where that flick goes for dark and moody, Kick Ass takes the comedic route and also serves up super-stylish, well-made fight sequences. Starring Nic Cage, McLovin, and Chloe Moretz (500 Days of Summer) as a foul mouthed little girl, the Kick Ass hype has been building for over a year and the good news is it’s 2-D so Whistler movie lovers can watch it up here.

Perhaps the Municipality should give the Village 8 one of those tax-breaks or just buy them a 3-D projector. As a resort, we will never be truly “world class” without one. I’m not even kidding either, it’s kind of embarrassing. Even shitholes like Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Quesnel have had 3-D projectors since last summer. Good to know the “Cultural Capital of Canada” is positioned well below Nanaimo when it comes to the art of cinema. The shame.

h1

New Salt Trailer

April 1, 2010

Angelina Jolie is fantastic. And I’m all about the mother-of-six, the saving of the children, the helping those who so often get forgotten or ignored, but this is my favourite Angie- the hot, ass-kicking Angie that takes no prisoners (or shit.) Salt is set to drop this July, summer blockbuster season, and so a new trailer has just been released ad here it is. Oh Angelina.