Archive for July, 2010

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Fort Knox Five SHIFT video

July 29, 2010

this music video is my kinda crazy spaced out shit. fantastic work by all involved. too bad i couldn’t get the embed to work. hit the link instead.

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Movie alert- Sucker Punch!!

July 28, 2010

Sucker Punch is the next non-animated film from Zack Snyder, the flashy yound director of 300 and The Watchmen. check the trailer below and notice how Zack brings a much more youthful energy to his trailers than most hollywood shit. This flick is about chicks locked up in a mental institute who use alternate realites to fight their way out the lobotomy room. Should be awesome because there really aren’t enough movies out there about chicks fighting dragons and robots and world war two shit.

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Notes from the back row – Schmucks, stupid shit, and Zac Efron

July 28, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World opens in 2 weeks. This girl, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is in it and she is hot.

Notes from the back row

The past two weeks have been stellar at the Village 8 with Chris Nolan’s mind-bending dream-heist Inception and Angelina’s ass-kickery -laced Salt (which could have been called Run Angelina Run.) This week Hollywood goes after your funny bone with Dinner For Schmucks a remake of a 1998 French flick Le Diner de Cons.

The Americanized Dinner for Schmucks lacks much of the biting social commentary of the original (which basically equates rich people with an unflushed dump in a public washroom) but this softer version is still pretty funny thanks mainly to the casting.

Paul Rudd stars as a really nice guy working his way up the corporate ladder who ends up having to attend this dinner where all the bigwigs each invite one idiot (or mentally disabled person) an then everyone makes fun of them while enjoying a meal. (Incidentally I’m quite sure I’ve have seen the real life version of this when I worked as a waiter during previous years’ Crankworx festivals.)

Steve Carrell plays Rudd’s “schmuck” and for the most part this is a standard odd couple scenario where Carrell’s idiot stalks Rudd and basically ruins his life before everyone realizes that making fun of people is wrong and the idiot is never really as idiotic as you thought he was.

Director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers) doesn’t put a lot of personal style on the screen and at 114 minutes Schmucks is way too long but Rudd and Carrell are two of the best comedians going these days and they bring a good improv feel to things. The strong supporting cast includes Zack “The Hangover” Galifianakis and Bruce Greenwood, although the women’s roles are undeveloped and unfunny– Hollywood remains an old boys’ club.

The old boys are slipping though, as proven by Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore wherein talking CGI dogs and cats fly around in jetpacks and paragliders and rehash (but never expand on) all the old spy action clichés while spouting gems of dialogue like, “I’m getting too old for this poop.” And so am I. Piss on this shit.

The last flick opening this week is Charlie St Cloud, a sappy-ass film drenched in sunsets and Zac Efron’s piercing gaze. Efron stars as a going-somewhere small-town sailor who gives up on his future when a drunk driver kills his little brother. Oh yeah, and he can see dead people. Poor Zac works in the cemetery and plays catch with his dead brother every night until a girl comes along and Charlie has to choose to follow his brotherly promise or his loins. In the end he, you guessed it, follows his heart and we get 109 minutes of teenage melodrama that, thankfully, is not about vampires.

To be fair, Efron and the girl (Amanda Crew, a BC girl best known for that garbage Whistler show a few years back) pull off some convincing scenes together but the God-has-a–plan schmaltz gets old pretty fast. (If God has a plan it means the little bro was destined to die, a throwaway life, which means God is also a bit of an asshole isn’t he?)

Efron is a good actor but he deserves better material and needs to step out of the teeny-bopper heartstring genre if he ever wants to taken seriously.

The DVD of week is The Wackness because it takes place in the summer of 1994 and is about slangin’ bags, roaming aimlessly, falling in love and growing up with a hip hop soundtrack that represents the golden years of the genre. Plus it stars Sir Ben Kingsley in a role most knighted actors would have turned down. Giv’r Ben.

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notes from the back row- Salt aka Run Angelina Run.

July 28, 2010

Angelina ponders new ways to be even hotter.

Notes from the back row- July 19, 2010

My fishing buddy Mark thinks it’s weird that I know the names of Angelina Jolie’s children, and it probably is, but Angelina is some kind of amazing. She’s like the Chuck Norris of chicks – so wise she can speak Braille, so nimble she can pull wheelies on a unicycle. And Angelina will never suffer a heart attack because her heart would never be foolish enough to attack her.

She’s a mattress-lipped, tattooed badass yet the world’s most recognizable woman also has six kids under the age of ten and still manages to bang off a pretty decent espionage thriller in Salt, which opens this Friday.

Word is that Salt was supposed to star Tom Cruise but the script was ‘rewritten’ for a female lead. That has the militant feminist community divided over whether a strong female role is good or bad for their cause when all the writers did was go through the script with a sharpie putting an ‘s’ in front of every ‘he’.

The good news is the rest of us don’t need to give a hoot about any of that because Angelina kills it as Evelyn Salt, a no-nonsense CIA operative who gets fingered, I guess ‘accused’ is a better word, who gets accused of being a deeply rooted sleeper spy for the Russians.

To prove her innocence, Salt oddly decides to go on the run and while we ponder her motives she battles through a Bourne-esque flurry of old-school fight sequences, slo-mo glamour, and pretty gnarly torture. Although director Philip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence, Patriot Games) doesn’t break any new ground he still churns out a solid effort with great attention to detail right down to the costumes. There are costars who are decent but Salt is all Angelina and she delivers as always, turning in a performance with just enough understatement while still playing along with the action genre style. She did a lot of her own stunts and takes a few punches to the face as well.

Angelina is an ass-kicker, no doubt, but she’s also a real actress, the best America has right now. And while she doesn’t win the Oscar so much anymore (but she won in 1999 for best-supporting in Girl Interupted) her flicks are a hell of a lot more fun to watch than well-acted snooze fests like Kate Winslet’s The Reader or Meryl Streep’s boring-ass Doubt.

Salt is not an Oscar contender but Angelina is playing in a much higher league anyhow. She might be the female Chuck Norris on film but she’s more like Mother Theresa in real life. She helps people, refugees torn from their homes, landmine kids with missing limbs, people who have really been screwed over by life. Angelina appears and listens and smiles and helps and gives a shit and leaves the world a better place. Her and Brad Pitt donated a million bucks to earthquake relief in Haiti. She’s a UN ambassador, she has the Jolie-Pitt foundation in Cambodia, she’s been all over the world sleeping in dirt-floored huts and connecting with people. The woman is basically an angel– the word ‘angel’ is right there in her name for Christ’s sake– and Angelina will be getting a well-deserved Nobel Peace prize one day. And look damn fine doing it.

And yet the woman whose last name means ‘pretty’ in French remains one of the most bankable action stars working today, male or female, because it’s all about hot chicks with guns isn’t it? Movies are supposed to be fantasy, fun and entertaining. Angelina movies are all that and bottle of cream soda.

The kids’ names, by the way, are Knox and Vivienne, Shilo, Pax, Zahara, and Maddox and their mother is a goddamn saint. Go see Salt.

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Notes from the Back Row – Inception, Sorcerers Apprentice

July 28, 2010

Ellen Page is canadian. Our chicks are hot up here.

Notes from the back row- July 13, 2010

The Village 8 is opening Inception this week and word on the street (or at least the internet) is that it’s the best film of the summer, if not the year.

Christopher Nolan directs– if that name sounds familiar it’s because he’s the guy who saved Hollywood a couple years back with The Dark Night, crafting a serious Oscar-contender out of a comic book film.

With Inception, Nolan’s distinct style has evolved to a point where much of the film takes place in the world of the human mind. It’s a basic heist-movie structure set in a reality where people can enter each other’s dreams and steal secrets from them, or implant them.

Leo DiCaprio stars as a brooding master of intellectual espionage with some serious issues of his own who gets hired to implant an idea into the dreams of some young industrialist billionaire. Implanting ideas in the dream world, which has multiple layers –you can dream within your dreams– is far more tricky than just jumping in and jacking some secrets so Leo has to assemble a crack-pot team of dream warriors the help him make the implanted idea seem original and organic to the dreamer. And of course there’s always the danger of getting stuck in there.

If it sounds cerebral that’s because it is– Nolan’s films, even his blockbusters, have never been simple eye candy and explosions and the English-American director is notorious for using disoriented, non-linear chronology to build, and deconstruct, puzzles for his viewers. This time is no different.

Boasting a knock-out cast of A-list actors, DiCaprio’s “dream team” includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer) as his point man,  British actor Tom Hardy as the master of disguise, Ellen Page (Juno) as the newbie who gets a lot of shit explained to her (thankfully), Dileep Rao (Avatar) as the sedative master (to keep people dreaming) and French stunner Marion Collitard as the dead wife who keeps popping, and wreaking havoc, in the dreams DiCaprio is sneaking around in.

Of the lot, Ellen Page seems the most out of place but even so Nolan allows his secondary characters to be much more than their job descriptions. Collitard is especially haunting and DiCaprio carries the picture like the star he is.

Certainly, Inception is not perfect. The 148 minute running time is a little long and some viewers will have trouble with all the Kubrickian multi-layered psychological hoo-haa going on but this is a flick that will only be better on the second viewing and in any case it’s refreshing to see a picture like this come out of the Hollywood system. Is Inception the best of the year? I don’t know– Salt opens next week and it’s hard to beat any film with Angelina Jolie, especially one where she’s kicking the hell out of people.

But let’s not get ahead of things. The Village 8 is also opening The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, a Disney-made kiddy-flick from the team responsible for the National Treasure movies.

Say what you want about Nic Cage but he’s never boring and this time he gets laughs (intentional and unintentional) playing a wizard who has to school a dorky Jay Baruchel in the magical arts just in time to save the world from a bunch of mustache twirling bad guys.  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is not a great movie but it is based on the same old poem as that Mickey Mouse wizard scene in Fantasia and at least it will introduce a new generation of ten-year-olds to the wackiness that is Nic Cage. Now you can go rent your kid Bad Lieutenant- New Orleans or Leaving Las Vegas and win a parent-of-the-year award.

Marion Cottillard is French, their chicks are arguably hotter over there, but not as nice and cordial.

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notes from the back row- Twilight, M Knight, and fucking shit, goddamn WInnebago Man

July 2, 2010

I think Kristen Stewart is pretty awesome. so is this look.

Notes from the back row

That line-up out the theatre door can only mean one thing– Twilight: Eclipse.

It’s easy to see the Twilight movies as cheaply made cheese-ass melodrama for the bra-stuffing age set but the truth is Twilight is bigger than God.  With a rabid fan base built of everything from horny housewives, dizzy tweens, successful businesswomen and even my own supermodel girlfriend, Twilight: Eclipse is almost guaranteed to be the biggest movie of the summer, if not the year. But is it any good?

No, but it’s better than the last two installments. Eclipse finds hot-ass Kristen Stewart donning a budget-wig and doing a lot of lip-biting while she strings two dudes along with the old “decisions, decisions” play. The fate of the ancient vampire/werewolf truce hangs in the balance as vampiric Edward and wolfy Jacob overcome their grievances and band together to protect Bella from an even greater threat, an army of shit disturber vamps known as the “new borns.” And all this with graduation just around the corner.

Director David Slade (30 Days of Night) brings better action scenes this time around, and the CGI wolves are pretty good, but Eclipse still spends too much time in the kiddie pool melodrama and fondles messily at what I guess passes for sexual tension these days. Pretty tame.

From tame to lame, M Knight Shayamalan has never been a favourite of mine. Post-Sixth Sense, I’ve found his payoffs to cheap and the journey getting there too long and stupid (and his name too hard to spell, it’s worse than Gyllenhaal.) Shamalayan’s latest attempt, The Last Airbender opens this week at the Village 8 (but not in 3D.) There were no pre-screenings on this one, usually a bad omen, but it’s based on a Nickelodeon animated series about a world of nations divided into the four elements of air-earth-water-fire but now totally under the domination of the Fire Nation. One young hero has the power to manipulate all four elements and he teams with a foxy chick for a bunch of post-matrix stylized action scenes and a chance to restore balance to their war-torn world. In a PG rated flick, it’s a safe bet to say they succeed and fall in love as well.

The Last Airbender looks pretty slick though, the action I’ve seen online is not bad and the other visuals ranged from well-made-but-familiar to weird-and-kinda-cool. The Sci-fi genre might also help Shamalayan, who also wrote the film, avoid sliding into his usual dumb-shit-that-would-never-happen scripting habits. Looks interesting but buyer beware.

The DVD of the week is Hot Tub Time Machine because it takes place in a ski town and is a great example of how a stupid movie can succeed with great actors and a decent script. Plus Jessica Pare has a killer hot tub scene.

Next week- keep your eyes peeled for the release of Winnebago Man, a documentary about the infamous foul-mouthed motorhome salesman Jack Rebney.

More than just the obscenity-laced sales outtakes famous on YouTube, Winnebago Man is actually an 87-minute character and media study. Filmmaker Ben Stienbauer must first track Rebney down, then attempt to learn how he feels about being in one the most popular clips on the Internet. Covering ideas like privacy and accidental celebrity, frustration and growth, Steinbauer’s Winnebago Man examines the story behind the Internet joke and why traditional storytelling and filmmaking is even more important in a post YouTube environment.

Winnebago Man opens in Vancouver next week but expect theatres to still be busy as Twilight-ers return for their fifth or sixth viewings.  They’re crazy, I know a grown woman who will only watch the Twilight shows at home, for privacy reasons. Yikes.