Archive for August, 2011

Beanie and Cecil

Used to love Beanie and Cecil, a cartoon about a puppet (in a cartoon, he could actually be a dinosaur, no need for him to be on someone’s arm.)  Dishonest John’s laugh at 1:31.  I still do that laugh anytime I’m being dishonest.  Betrays me every time.

Twinkle twinkle, little Beatnik

The Postman, not Il Postino (The Postman)

I started watching Kevin Costner’s The Postman this evening.  Did you know it’s 3 hours long?  (U do now)  Well, it is, which is way too much KC for me to watch in one sitting.  That said, I watched the first hour and here are some of my observations.

General Bethlehem is played by Will Patton, who also plays Captain Weaver in Falling Skies.  It’s very nearly the same character.  Similar back stories, though GB is quite a bit more ruthless.  It’s maybe a parallel to Avatar and Terra Nova.  You know what I’m talking about, yes you do.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you may want to look here, also (in my best Jeff Foxworthy voice) you may live under a rock.

Television Tropes and Idioms is a great website, but they don’t pick up on a lot of more subtle tropes.  One that they don’t have for The Postman is that the post apocalyptic people watch a movie on a big screen.  This happens in lots of post apocalyptic movies, well, at least three others I can think of, A Boy and His Dog, Zombieland, and Sullivan’s Travels, which, while technically not a post apocalyptic movie, it does take place in the throes of the Great Depression and should count.  There’s also a scene in the novel, Julian Comstock, where they watch a movie.  I’m sure there are others.  Please submit examples.  Five examples seems pretty close to a trope or idiom to me.

The production of this picture is insanely ambitious.  The acting is for crap.  If I were famous, I would hire someone full time to call me out on my bullshit.  It’s really a shame that no one told Kevin Costner that it would be much more effective if he, playing an actor (seriously, he goes around to small villages and performs Shakespeare for the kids), for Chrissakes, actually came across as a smooth talker when he cons the town into believing America was the (re)United States. IMDB says it had the largest movie set, evah.  General Bethlehem’s quarters look like the captain’s quarters on the black pearl.  It’s big and beautiful, and then it opens it’s mouth and it sounds like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

I’m sure there will be more to say about this as I watch the second and third hours.

Here‘s the Tom Petty song that inspired him to be in this movie.  (The goatduckers at youtube disabled imbedding.  “By request,” my a$$.)  I didn’t know it by name, but knew it from the first 4 notes.  Watch it.  You’ve got nothing else to do.

Also, just because, “Everything I do, I do it for you,” a duet by LeAnn Rimes, the adultress, and Kenny G, just to make your ears bleed.  (This milk is sour, taste how sour it is.  Also, the goat shuckers at youtube disabled, by request, the original

Sex Robot is different from the Android Sexbot

JT still sings it all the time. He’s a big fan of The Whitest Kids U Know.

OMG, you guys, Android is totally awesome

I had been aware that Android was available on Netflix streaming, but didn’t start to get interested until I saw this headline on io9: “In Android, Klaus Kinski wants to Build a Sexbot in Space.”  Then I became interested, interested, very interested, verrryyy interested, then suddenly I lost interest.  Then I actually watched the movie and realized that it’s slightly less about a sexbot (I would have built my sexbot with significantly larger, um, shoulders?  I mean boobs.  Yes, larger boobs.  The movie rips off just about everything you could rip off.  Max, the titular android (I wrote “tit”), walks like C3PO, there’s a space garden like in Black Hole, there are escaped convicts like in Superman II, the androids want to go to earth like in Blade Runner, the mad doctor makes a sexbot like in Android (oh wait), the android goes a little bit crazy “don’t mind if I do!) and kills some people just like in 2001, and the android is obsessed with old music, dresses and dances like in old movies he watches just like in WALL-E.  Wait, WALL-E came out well after Android.  Maybe it was as influential as it was derivative.  That would be awesome.  Seriously, though, Max 404 (android not found) reminded me quite a bit of WALL-E.

Do yourself a big ole favor and go watch this on Netflix.  As an extra added bonus, the transfer of the tape to Netflix skips several times so it feels like you’re watching an old VHS tape.  Pure joy.  (I remember when Innerspace came out on a letter box VHS. I thought that was genius.)

I almost forgot about the puppets at the beginning of Being John Malkovich:

I actually agreed with the critics on Super.

Super is a promising movie for about an hour.  After that point, it’s a sick joke about the sanctity of life.  As at least one reviewer noted about Rainn Wilson’s character Frank’s descent, “as it ends, we’re pretty sure he’s an insane ruthless killer.”  I’m as apt to get parody as anyone, but it’s hard to see the ending of this movie as a parody of pat happy endings because there’s no wink, no nudge, just the calm rationalizations of a mentally ill vigilante who caused the deaths of a dozen or so people, Ellen Page’s Boltie included, to save the life of the drug addled woman who left the madman for her dealer.  I could abide it, possibly, if he were shown in a mental institution or prison, but there’s no such qualifier.

Rainn Wilson plays a loser who, upon his wife leaving him, has a “vision” from God and fashions himself a superhero.  His “justice” is arbitrary and sadistic, and doesn’t really help anyone.  Along the way, he picks up Ellen Page, whose sadism surpasses even that of her mentor, dipping briefly into sexual perversions.

The pair stage an assault on the compound where Kevin Bacon (he can now be connected to Jason Bateman by one degree of Kevin Bacon) allows Liv Tyler, the wife, to be raped by the fellow on the other side of a massive drug deal.  It’s a mission from God that leaves an enormous body count.  That the movie does not disabuse the audience of this notion but allows his character to explain it all away without consequence is akin to Humbert Humbert’s narration of Lolita. I almost turned it off when Wilson started making pipe bombs.

Stay away. This is garbage.

Fright Night 2.0

I reviewed the original Fright Night a while back.  I didn’t opine on the advisability of remaking Fright Night, but, going back and reading my earlier post, my memories of the first film are still pretty close to how I thought of it then.  (Two additions from IMDB: Charley is now the milquetoasty new husband on Justified, and Evil Ed is both from Cincinnati and has made a fair number of gay porno movies)  Anyhoo, I think remaking FN was a pretty safe bet.  The original is fondly remembered, but really wasn’t that funny and, despite the gloriously smarmy performance of Chris Sarandon as Jerry the Vampire, the casting of the future Marcy Darcy from Married with Children retroactively makes me not really care about the love interest.  There was lots of room for improvement.

The remake delivers very capably fills in the weak spots from the original.  McLovin is mcmemorable and mchilarious as Evil Ed, though I don’t foresee Christopher Mintz-Plasse making gay porn.  However, I should also say his appearance in this movie is somewhat unexpected also, as he’s a pretty big star in a pretty small role, and too young for the original Evil Ed to have any special resonance (unless McLovin mcloves him some gay porn).  Colin Farrell is suitably smarmy in a turn that parodies much of what he’s known for.  He’s no Humperdinck, but he’s still pretty creepy.  The scene where he’s waiting for Charley to invite him over the threshold of Charley’s house is particularly smarmy.

They fixed the love interest, also, casting horror/scifi stalwart Imogen Poots in the role of the love interest who gets turned into a vampire herself.  Her look is kind of a mix between Karen Gillan and Kate Winslet, neither of whom, it turns out, tend to look like themselves, or at least the part that appears in Imogen, in still photos.  I offer a few examples below:

 

I think she kind of looks like Karen Gillan here. Maybe not. I don't know anymore.

Anyway, the most awesome casting is the tenth Doctor, David Tennant, as Peter Vincent, a Las Vegas Strip magician who is obsessed with vampires.  He’s arrogant, pathetic, fake, deeply flawed, and deeply awesome.  Tennant plays as much against his persona as Doctor Who as much as against the magician he portrays, as all magicians are expected to be douches.  Tennant positively owns every scene he’s in, especially the last one, where he walks in on the two principles who are about to consummate their love on his penthouse floor.  Oh, that was a spoiler.  GET OVER IT!

The script is near genius and definitely an example of a passable vampire comedy.  The dialogue is snappy and clever and  doesn’t ever feel forced.  Again, Tennant particularly shines.

Highly recommended.  Pics from IMDB.  They also have a plot summary if you want.  Go look it up.

The movie was also enhanced by late night viewing, at the eleven thirty show.  Huzzah!

A few other NPRish things

If my parents are reading during their trip overseas, they would love this interview with the guy from Doc Martin.

Penn Gillette has written a book about how there is no God.  Duh.

I know of at least one middle sibling who reads this blog.  He may get a kick out of this.

Jewish Indiana Jones? Is this a Bernie Madoff joke?

I was listening to this story on ATC this afternoon when my baby mama called with some requisite drama.  I missed the middle of it. That has since been rectified. Several interesting things:  This guy said he parachuted into places and bought one scroll from a guard at Auschwitz.  He didn’t.  Even more interesting, the guy who cowrote the story actually heard about the guy when the synagogue attended by the writer’s parents dedicated a scroll.  Money quote, “some of these stories frankly didn’t seem Kosher.”  Another quote, “Some of these people were not millionaires. They were just doctors or lawyers…”

Anyway, I thought this guy was the Jewish Indiana Jones:

Jt’s first hidden phallus pic

I saw this incognito boner first(understandable, as I aced that section of the ACT), but JT took the pic:

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Planet of the country bears

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