Posts Tagged ‘hot’

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Sept 1/11- Cultural Mysteries Revealed!

September 7, 2011

MIla

Notes from the Back row- Aug30

It’s officially been one of the shittiest summers in recent memory— cinematically speaking— so let’s salvage what we can and examine Mila Kunis, specifically how she is the next generation’s Angelina Jolie and we can therefore chart her career to learn more about the “kids these days.”
The awesome thing is that Mila played “Young Gia” in 1998’s Gia, which is one of Angelina’s standout films, noteworthy for Angie’s commitment to a risky role as well as the nudity and lesbianism. Only 23, Ms Jolie got an Emmy nomination for Gia but she’d already hit big with movie lovers (and lovers of lips) by stealing the show in the young-love, computer-crime thriller Hackers (which easily predicted an era when renegade computer nerds would ANONYMOUSLY hack into governments, banks and big businesses to steal and peruse data. )
Mila Kunis didn’t hit her naked-lesbian-movie phase until age 27 with last years Oscar-winning Black Swan. The kids these days are less rambunctious, 27 is the new 23, but our culture is pushing them into showbiz earlier— Mila started TV’s That 70’s Show when she was just 15. Angelina was modeling at that age but didn’t start seriously in film for another two years.
Angie followed Gia by winning an Oscar (Girl, Interupted) then doing a bunch of flicks with great nudity and sex scenes. 2001’s Original Sin saw her in various compromising positions with sex-symbol du jour Antonio Banderas– Angie was 26. Mila just completed the new version of celebrity sexy, a flick with Justin Timberlake called Friends with Benefits – she’s 28.
The funny thing about Friends with Benefits (other than the supporting cast) is that while it doesn’t show any real true nudity, it is chock full of Mila pulling on or off her pants and all the sex jokes are about things like cunnilingus, genital grooming and anal sex. Images are not taboo to a generation raised on easy-access Google nude pics. Actions are taboo now— “weird” sex acts and voyeuristic undressing whereas in the old days a good look at some bouncing titties or heavy thrusting would suffice. No longer, the kids have evolved.angelina
Angie, of course, moved away from the sex (not counting Taking Lives) after she became a mega-star with Lara Croft and shifted into overdrive- becoming a UN Ambassador, adopting/having kids, doing voice-over work for cartoons (Shark Tale, Kung Fu Pandas) still getting Oscar Nominations (The Changeling, A Mighty Heart) and marrying (essentially) Brad Pitt.
Also no stranger to voice work (Meg in The Family Guy) we’ll see what Mila has up her sleeve for her post-lesbo phase. You can bet her career/life path will be less full-on than Angelina (the kids are less motivated nowadays- rather than find this generation’s Brad Pitt Mila had apparently been dating Macaulay Culkin.) There is, however, no denying Mila’s talent, beauty or drive (two cunnilingus movies in two years) so she’ll do just fine, banking on her comedy chops for a few films before finding that action picture that spirals her into the big time.

Jolie


Speaking of the future, there’s a historical spaceman movie opening. Apollo 18 is a PG-13 horror-sci-fi about back-in-the-day American astronauts re-visiting the moon for a secret mission. And then they find giant Transformers— just kidding. Actually there were no previews (not usually a good sign but for a horror it’s actually better this way) so all I know is Apollo 18 looks to be shot entirely on in-narrative security cameras and has a real Paranormal Activity vibe going. Also, even though the flick drops Friday there’s already an Apollo 18 video game/puzzle that you can download and play on Facebook. Kids these days…

Kunis

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give me the benfits.

July 24, 2011

Notes from the back row- July 17

with friends like this....

It’s mid-July and the leaves across the street from my place are starting to turn yellow. I’m not even kidding— this Summer has been so lugubrious the trees think it’s Fall. Weather this dismal is really only good for two things— going out to the movies, or staying in and screwing. Or you can get a bit of both in Friends with Benefits, opening Friday at Whistler’s Village 8 and the Garibaldi 5 in Squamish.
Justin Timberlake stars as a California design whiz who gets recruited by the hottest NYC corporate headhunter ever Mila Kunis. JT moves to the East Coast and takes a dream job but in order to get her commission, Mila has to keep him there for at least a year so they quickly decide to give the old “just friends humping” scenario a go.
In real life that rarely works, in the movies—never. But despite the predictability of its premise (and the fact that Natalie Portman’s No Strings Attached offered the same premise six months ago) Friends With Benefits works better than expected. Sure, it falls prey to way too many of the standard Rom-Com clichés it tries so desperately to poke fun at, and some of the dialogue is a bit pukey, but a funny thing happens right off the start— Kunis and Timberlake display real chemistry. Kunis worked comedy for years on TV’s That 70’s Show and as the voice of Meg on The Family Guy and here proves she can act the pants off anything. Watch out Angelina there’s a new star in town.
JT holds his own and the all-time supporting cast includes the always-incredible Richard Jenkins (Say it Isn’t So), Patricia Clarkson (Easy A), Woody Harrelson, Andy Samberg, Emma Stone and more.
Director Will Gluck (Easy A) goes a little heavy on the old-style snappy banter and there are two (too many?) flash mob scenes but in a summer where the weekly movie quality mirrors the weather Friends With Benefits is worth checking out, if only to learn what not to do when your stumble upon your own golden chance at being someone’s “F*ck buddy”.
Also opening, Captian America the last Marvel Comics prequel-flick we’ll have to endure before next summer’s Avengers movie (but who cares? They were never as cool or gritty as the X-Men, kind of pansy actually, more like The Fantastic Four.)
This one is about a skinny Yankee Doodle in the Second World War who’s told he’s not fit for duty. He persists, shows a bit of gumption and gets signed up to be injected with a super-soldier serum that transforms him into something that looks like the Ultimate Warrior crossed with a Ken doll. Captain America then goes on the propaganda tour (which is what the comic character was originally created for back in the 1940s) before finally seeing some shield-tossing action and then ramping up into full-on superhero and saving the day.
If it sounds flat it’s because it is. There is no digging into the real conflict or ideologies between the Nazi splinter cell Hydra and the forces of good. There is only action and unexplained mythical laser beam weapons. It feels like a cheap set-up to get your money but i guess i am probably expecting too much from a movie based on a c-rate comic hero. No one can deny Marvel films is pretty hit and miss with adult audiences.
Speaking of super soldiers, the Download of the Week is Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan as a teenage girl/super assassin raised in isolation and then unleashed on the world. It’s the best coming of age movie in a long time and also has that vibrant, Euro, Run Lola Run awesome energy to it that just makes Hollywood’s latest flicks seem all the more tired, soggy, damp and stupid.

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Horrible Bosses and Kevin James next horrible movie

July 8, 2011

If she is the boss i like the company's dress code.


Notes from the back row- July 5th/2011

For years I’ve been pretty hard on the Whistler Village 8 for not having a 3D projector but it turns out Whistler’s lack of 3D might also mean we are seeing our films in better quality than other places.
There’s been a bit of controversy– apparently theatre owners and projectionists have been cutting corners and projecting on the cheap, lowering the luminance to extend the lives of their bulbs. (The 3D bulbs apparently cost twice as much as regular ones, and burn out twice as fast.)
Many people have complained that the 3D films look “too dark” and apparently Michael Bay recently sent a note to all 3D theatres imploring them to screen Transformers 3 with the projection specifications he included.
But the story doesn’t end there. Apparently some theatres are also running their 2D movies through the 3D projectors because swapping out a 3D projector is a lot of work and usually requires an expensive technician but 3D projectors distort the image on 2D flicks. So we can all thank the Village 8 for at least projecting our films properly and at the best quality possible.
(Here’s a tip – if you are watching a 2D movie somewhere else and it looks like crap, turn around. If you see two beams of light coming from the projection booth it means they are using the 3D system and screwing with the way the film should look. Ask for your money back plus a free pass.)
Of course, film projection is a real art form. Both Hitler and Joesph Stalin were huge movie buffs with private theaters and personal projectionists sweating bullets to make sure they didn’t screw up. The Inside Circle is a 1991 Russian film about a bright young projectionist who gets the gig working for Stalin only to realize that any mistake, even one botched reel swap-over, would mean certain death. Stalin, it seems, was a horrible boss.
And so, apparently, is Jennifer Anniston, who plays a sexed-up dentist continually harassing her sissy male hygienist in Horrible Bosses, opening (in beautiful 2D) this week at the Village 8.
Three losers (Charlie Day, Jason Sudekis, Jason Bateman) decide that in these tough economic times the only way to further their careers is to kill their bosses (Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey.) Of course, things go horribly awry.
Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon made King Of Kong, one of the best documentaries of recent years, but he’s also responsible for the Reese Witherspoon/Vince Vaughn crapheap Four Christmases so this one could go either way. It goes kinda bad.
Unlike Office Space, a classic comedy about the emasculation of the working man, Horrible Bosses gives us characters who are such pussies it defeats the premise. We don’t care for these guys and don’t feel they deserve success. The film is mostly montages and rape jokes but other than a few bits of humour and good-girl Jen Aniston talking slutty Horrible Bosses is a misfire, a squandered chance at doing something funny with a better-than-decent cast. Stupid R-rated humour can be awesome, so long as it isn’t too stupid.
Zookeeper also opens this Friday and to call it stupid would be high praise. Kevin James, who sucks yet continues to get work, stars as a zookeeper who has a hard time with the ladies. To help him out all the zoo animals suddenly reveal their secret (they can talk!) and vow to help him get a lady using their animal-style mating advice. It’s a PG rated kids movie with talking animals trying to help a loser get some pussy. So beyond stupid you could say this movie sucks asinine.

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Happy Panda, Hungover Hangover

May 28, 2011

Angelina's voice is back in Kung Fu Panda 2. The rest of her is still in our dreams.


Notes from the back row-

Return of the Sequel
With the Canucks pushing for the Cup it’s a wonder that anyone is out at the movies these days but if you are heading out for a flick this weekend get ready for some sequels.
Kung Fu Panda 2 opens this week and it’s one of those rare sequels that lives up to its predecessor. Jack Black returns as the voice of Po, a chunky Panda who learned to kick ass last time around and now has to save China, his own inner peace, and Kung Fu itself from a maniac peacock (Gary Oldman.) Said peacock also once murdered Po’s parents and if we learned anything from Tarantino it’s that Kung Fu and Revenge are a match made in heaven. The Furious Five supporting cast gets to do a lot more too this time around at only 91 minutes long things move quickly and are easy to like.
One of the biggest pit-traps of sequels is that they usually just recycle jokes from the first installment. Kung Fu Panda 2 avoids this (mostly) by going heavier on the action while still letting Jack Black do his thing. It’s worth checking out with the kids although Whistler is still without a 3D projector so make sure you warn the little ones beforehand to avoid disappointment. Also, Angelina Jolie is back voicing Tigress, so it’s good for adults too.
Speaking of adults, The Hangover Part 2, now playing, is this summer’s first R-rated comedy. To some extent this one does fall prey to the classic sequel recycling issues. Bear in mind that the bar was set pretty high– the first Hangover was the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time and relied on a unique one-off situation and virtually unknown, big talent stars in Zach Galifinakis and Bradley Cooper.
Now director Todd Phillips’ actors are A-listers but that comes with high expectations. The plot is essentially the same –the worst morning after ever– but Phillips changes the setting– to Bangkok this time, land of Ladyboys and drug dealing monkeys.
This time around the guys lose the bride’s younger brother but otherwise it’s more of the same – dudes yelling at each other, Tyson, Ken Jeong as the brunt of some Asian jokes, male full frontal, a decent car chase, and, in one of the worst calls ever, Paul Giamatti as a supposed tough-guy villain. I can barely stand Giamatti when he delivers award-winning performances. And this is far from that.
Despite the faults there is some decent juvenile humour to be had in The Hangover Part 2 (the title is a nod to The Godfather Part 2) will still appeal to high-fivin’ white kids stoked that university is over. For the rest of us however, this sequel feels kind of tired, kicked-in, nauseous and hungover.
Not much happening on the DVD/download front this week except Black Swan gets a release and is worth watching if you like dancing, psychological horror, Mila Kunis, or hallucinated lesbian cunnilingus scenes (or all the above.)
Also worth checking out– Inside Job, the documentary about how Wall Street swindled America and knowingly caused the last recession. This one is an Academy Award Winner and Goldman Sachs is all over the news lately because they are getting called out by everyone from the US government to Rolling Stone magazine for purposely screwing people over. The moral of it all – Banks suck ass and we should start keeping our movie admission money in coffee cans buried in the yard.
X-Men: First Class comes to town next week and until then, Go Nucks!

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Paul, Limitless, and The Lincoln Lawyer

March 20, 2011

Abbie Cornish is not as well known as perhaps she ought to be.

Notes from the back row march 15, 2011

Another alien hits the silver screen this week but at least this one, named Paul, has the decency to be rated R.
Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) Paul is a funny little bug-eyed extra-terrestrial who escapes from 60 years of government lockdown and ends up hitching a ride in a motorhome with two English comic book geeks (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, of Sean of the Dead fame) and a fundamentalist Christian trailer park supervisor (Kristen Wiig, stealing the show.)
Trying to keep Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) on the down low while evading government baddies (Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Trugilo) the slacker-hero-geek squad end up in a series of mishaps followed by chase scenes that climax in the ultimate Sigourney Weaver cameo.
Paul is full of anal probe jokes, bromance tender moments and enough laughs to keep things chugging for 103 minutes but considering the talent involved its only good where it should have been great. The main problem is that Paul panders to its target market of film buffs and sci-fi geeks so much that witty references and in-jokes threaten to overwhelm things like story, dialogue and creative vision. Sure, it’s funny, a geek wish-fullfillment flick that melds ET and Road Trip, but Paul never quite makes it to the comedic outer limits.
The inner limits of human potential, however, get reached, breached and broken in Limitless, the latest suspense thriller from Neil Burger (The Illusionist.) Bradley Cooper stars as Eddie, a bum writer who takes a little tab of some new drug and gains access to that other 80 percent of his potential, the part we supposedly never use. It’s like Viagra for the brain and with it, Eddie finishes his book in four days then inexplicably turns $12 grand into $10 million via the stock market, and somehow gets mixed up with some (stock) shady characters including the Russian mob and Robert De Niro (taking an acting paycheck.)
Everything is fine as wine until the drugs run out – apparently the highest highs spawn the lowest lows and soon Eddie is living a paranoid nightmare existence while his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) remains less than impressed.
Limitless is shot in true drug-tripping glory with dazzling colours and flashy camera work throughout yet problems lie in a few plot holes (he’s too smart to be acting that stupid) and Neil Burger’s refusal to slide some deeper thematic meaning into things–he misses ample opportunities to comment on addiction, narcissism and better living through chemistry. Still though, as a tense thrill ride with a really high guy, Limitless is pretty fun.
The Lincoln Lawyer also opens this week at the Village 8 and stars Matthew McConaughey as a street-savvy criminal defense lawyer who works from the back seat of his Lincoln. Except he gets tied up in some bad shit when he takes the case of a Beverly Hills playboy (Ryan Phillipe) accused of rape and attempted murder. It’s a street-meets-glamour story and of course nothing is as it seems but director Brad Furman (The Take) goes light on the grit and heavy on the overly simple moral drumbanging. The all-star cast includes Bryan Cranston, William H Macy, John Leguizamo and Marisa Tomei, playing a single mom who ain’t afraid to show a little skin. Good thing too because the plot fizzles the further into the movie you get. McConaughey is solid as usual.
Speaking of Fizzle, lets hope the cloud of radiation driftingover the Pacific dissipates before it reaches our quiet mountain town. But in case it doesn’t the download/dvd of the week is Blood of Heroes, proof that a post-nuclear society can be all fun and games.

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Beibs and Boobs

February 11, 2011

Notes from the Back Row is a weekly movie column published in Pique Newsmagazine, Whistler BC

Every time i see the trailer i ask, "Who is that girl?"

Her name is Brooklyn Decker. The girl in the bikini in the trailer for Adam Sandler’s new movie Just Go With Ither name is Brooklyn Decker.

Brooklyn Decker is the reason anyone is going to see that movie this weekend. She’s also a Victoria’s Secret model and she recently graced the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Her acting experience is limited to music videos and TV cameos (Chuck, Ugly Betty) but Esquire Magazine recently crowned her the “Sexiest Woman Alive.” No shit.

But can Brooklyn Decker save Just Go With It? Probably not. For anyone distracted by Decker’s personali-tits during the trailer, the gist of the film is this– Sandler wears a fake wedding ring to help him score chicks but when the girl he really likes (Decker) finds the ring he has to invent a fake soon-to-be-over marriage with his assistant (Jennifer Aniston) and her kids. Of course, Sandler’s one little lie snowballs and soon everyone is riding the PG-13 RomCom express on their way to reunited bliss.

There were no pre-screenings available for this one, that’s always a bad sign. So is the involvement of Jennifer Aniston, whose best film appearance was 1999’s Office Space. To Jen’s credit, she seems to suit this role and it will most likely be director Dennis Dugan who ultimately drops the ball. Dugan has a few hits to his credit (Happy Gilmore, Saving Silverman) but for the most part he’s been the director behind Sandler’s dwindling career, helming flicks like Grown Ups, Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and Big Daddy. The saving grace might be a script by Timothy Dowling (Role Models, Thank You for Smoking) but don’t hold your breath. Of course, Brooklyn Decker’s bikini scenes are worth admission but the PG-13 keeps things from ever getting epic.

Also opening this week, and also decidedly un-epic, is Justin Bieber – Never Say Never. To me, Bieber’s music is a lot like a pap smear in that I’m pretty unfamiliar with what it actually is, but I don’t think I would enjoy it.

Of course a billion little girls (and probably some of their moms) disagree, at least about the music, and this concert video/origin story traces the Biebs’ rise from a small-town Canadian kid following his dream into an Internet sensation and eventually a worldwide Brand.

Most interesting is the old home video footage of the Biebs banging away on the pots and pans (to his credit, at least he plays instruments.) Least interesting is the kid himself, although I guess at age 16, you can’t blame a guy for coming across as vague and aloof. Overall, this “documentary,” made by John Chu (Step Up 2 & 3), reeks of publicists, handlers and Brand Managers.   Local youngsters might be upset that Whistler can’t screen Never Say Never in 3-D but from what I hear the 3D on this one is a sham cash grab and the movie is no better for it.

Finally, in keeping with my “all speculation, no facts” theme of last week, the next Oscar I’m gonna predict is Natalie Portman in Black Swan for Best Actress. I haven’t seen three of the other flicks nominated but Portman’s incredible ballet skills bring a new physicality to the craft that Oscar voters should dig. Speaking of physicality, both Portman and fellow nominee Michelle Williams had cunnilingus scenes in their nominated movies but advantage goes to Portman because hers was lesbo.

And finally, since we are talking best actress, I’ve already picked out the Oscar winner for 2012. Her name is Brooklyn Decker.

Brooklyn was in the running for 2011 cover as well

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Notes from the Back Row- oct 19

November 11, 2010

 

loyal readers (all 26 of ya) – sorry for the lack of anything resembling a post or update for the past while. Halloween is 5-week committment for me due to the Heavy Hitting B-Grade HorrorFest that we throw in whistler every year. It’s the best night of my calendar but it takes a lot of time and love to throw, so the blog sits int he backseat for a while. here’s one of my fave angelina pictures to make it up to you.

the title of this picture is"holy fuck"

Notes from the back row- Oct 19

 

Hippies are always going on about the four elements, and Earth Wind and Fire did have a few decent tracks but my favourite element is the element of surprise. Unfortunately, in this day and age, movie fans are inundated with information, spoilers, and full clips about a film before long it’s released. (And I suppose I’m part of the problem.)

To make things worse, when studios refuse to release preview screenings it’s usually because they don’t want the critics to see how shitty their product is. Horror movies, though, are the exceptions that prove the rule. Obviously the less you know going in to a horror film, the better, and while this autumn’s crop of fright flicks hasn’t been strong so far Paranormal Activity 2, opening this Friday at the Village 8, is banking on the surprise factor– no press screenings, not many internet clips.

The first Paranormal Activity was that cleverly marketed homemade ghost story shot in the docu-Blair Witch style that generated a lot of noise last year. I thought it was pretty shitty and anticlimactic although I watched it at home and that was a film that build of the audience energy.

The sequel looks better though and while it milks the same security-cam aesthetic, it appears to have more scares, scarier scares and an at-risk toddler (never a bad call –kids are creepy by nature and parents have intrinsic urges to protect them.)

More budget can only help the Paranormal Activity franchise but I still get the feeling this one will drag in the not-scary parts, just like the last. Of course, we’ll never know until we go, and that’s rare.

Matt Damon has a local cult following and he’s back this week at the Village 8 starring in the Clint Eastwood directed Hereafter. Eastwood (Play Misty for Me, Unforgiven) is a master of American cinema but he’s also old as a Stegosauraus hipbone and by all accounts this non-thriller, about a ho-hum psychic and three people desperate to know about the afterlife, is as flat as day-old cream soda.

The tidal wave scene looks pretty sick though, Eastwood knows his way around a camera and Damon and the co-stars do their best, but the plot is a stretch, the music is total crap and the afterlife is nothing new. Soft focus white death might look cool when you’re only a few years away but the rest of us have seen that shit a million times on screen. C’mon Clint, surprise us with some grit and grime and fresh idea about the sweet hereafter.

Also opening this week, again with no previews or advance screenings, is Score-A Hockey Musical. The title alone makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Musicals suck far more often than not, and there is no dancing in hockey (despite that stupid CBC Battle of the Blades show that everyone’s mom loves.) All I can tell you is that it’s Canadian-made, directed by the guy who made the cross-Canada road trip One Week and that it stars Olivia Newton-John. I have that record form the 70’s where she’s on the cover rocking the jogging suit and all sweaty but Olivia is 62 this year so I guess we’re all in for a surprise.

B-Grade Horrorfest is set for Oct 30. Guaranteed to be some onscreen surprises that night as local thesbians, lesbians, naked dudes and savages all vie for the first annual “Manimal Award for most fearless performance” dedicated to the memory of Erin Solowey-Wanamaker, a fearless actor if ever there was one.

 

Notes from the Back Row is a weekly movie column appearing in Whistler’s Pique Newsmagazine