Sunday, June 17, 2012


Most of you have seen PROMETHEUS by now and are well aware of the tragic descent the film takes after the first half. It's no secret I am not a Ridley Scott fan, But I did expect more from him. I think Scott is a self-indulgent, racist prick who suffers from James Cameron syndrome. Originally, I intended to write a review of this fiasco, but then I read the piece on Badass Digest. Honestly, I could not have said it better than Sam Strange. I only wish I could write with such eloquence! Instead I will talk about other stuff. If you do in fact see PROMETHEUS, be sure to see it at the Alamo Drafthouse. The pre-show is great and worth the ticket price. You get to see all the viral videos that were floating around before the release and a lot of other funny videos made by fans. Also, DO NOT see it in 3D. Honestly guys, 3D is as played out as every single DARK KNIGHT RISES trailer I have seen for the last 2yrs. Speaking of, I just don't even care anymore about DARK KNIGHT RISES (not that I really did before)! I'm just so sick of seeing Ratwoman and Logan Marshall-Bane. Also, I came to realize that JGL is in every fucking summer blockbuster of 2012. Not that I'm complaining; I love JGL's superior acting skills. I have heard decent things about this LOOPER film, although, the trailer looked kinda lame. Then we saw a trailer for PREMIUM RUSH, and I kinda thought it was a funny joke the Alamo was playing on us. Nope, JGL stars in a film that's basically SPEED but on a bicycle. I have not heard that much laughter from a crowd since the last Mr. Sinus screening I went to. Does anyone else think this latest SPIDERMAN reboot is a total joke? Have you seen the trailer? It looks awful! It's very disappointing because I really like Andrew Garfield. I think he has a ton of potential, but this role couldn't be more wrong for him. I'm a big fan of H.R. Giger's exquisite art. PROMETHEUS reminded me how brilliant and ahead of his time he is. In the end, PROMETHEUS is visually stunning, but the script leaves something to be desired. Most of the audience began laughing as the credits rolled. I left the theater longing to re-visit ALIEN & ALIENS which is what Ridley Scott should have done instead of making this film.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dark Shadows

I really struggled with myself whether to review this film. Like all good mothers say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." However, I am sick and tired of being consistently disappointed by Tim Burton. Someone needs to put their foot down, and that someone will be me. Picture it: a young effervescent man falls in love with a beautiful bewitching woman. They live together harmoniously for several years until one day the man falls for a manipulating troll. The gorgeous witch is heartbroken and lays a curse on the man. Sounds like a fairy tale? Or maybe the plot to DARK SHADOWS? No, this is Tim Burton's life. Ever since he dumped Lisa Marie (the model) for Helena Bonham Carter, his career has taken a plunge into Ed Wood territory (pun intended). It seems as though Lisa Marie cursed Burton to make shitty films showcasing the ever acerbic Carter. Critics and fans have all noticed, but this recent project is a new low. With Lisa Marie, Burton was creative, dark, and whimsically inspiring. He based the Sally character in NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS on her. With Carter, he is boring, trite, and unapologetically bland. She has been a main character in all his films since the train wreck that is PLANET OF THE APES. Back to the film. I love the original series of Dark Shadows. I also loved the 90s revival. The Burton film is an abomination compared to either. Remember the predictable "fish out of water" movie theme? Yep, he goes there and it couldn't be more pathetic. I get Burton was trying to be comical, but too much camp equals absurdity. The original series was notoriously campy. It existed on a very low budget that often did not enable reshoots or second takes. There was a lot of lines flubbed, set pieces falling down, and even visible boom mikes. Notwithstanding, the nature of the series was a dramatic serial. True, these mishaps added charm to the show, but it was never intended to be humorous. That was Burton's first mistake. Casting: I followed this project for two arduous years. Johnny Depp initially said he was born to play Barnabas Collins. Apart of me still believes that. The other part says it is time for Johnny to move on. This is the eighth film Burton & Depp have done together. Their relationship has withstood most Hollywood marriages. Although, like many other long term relationships, the luster will fade. In the immortal words of Steve Perry, I think it's time Burton & Depp each go their separate ways. Depp could have been great as the dashing Barnabas, but Burton's dismal direction made him out to be Count Chocula. Michelle Pfeiffer She was wonderful as the family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. She played the part of a well to do, poised, dame. This role reminded me of how much I loved her in BATMAN RETURNS. Eva Green Green was utterly enchanting as Angelique. She really brought life to the role of the scorned witch/bitch. She may have been the only rewarding thing in this film. Chloe Moretz Grace Grace was so terrible as Carolyn Stoddard. She had the absolute worst lines in the entire film.
"What? I'm a werewolf, let's not make a big deal out of it...Woof"
I am completely shocked that someone actually wrote that line and thought it sounded good enough for a film. I know there's been a lot of hype around Grace, but this little girl is just not cut out for the horror world. She needs to be taught a lesson about overacting. Jonny Lee Miller is usually on his game, but again he was lost on this sinking ship. His character was very underdeveloped and forgettable. Jackie Earle Haley suffered a similar fate. Whoever played Josette/Victoria I don't even care to look this girl's name up on IMDB because we will probably never see her again in anything. Victoria is supposed to be a strong, independent, yet compassionate woman. Instead this role turned out like a scared, fragile little girl. She and Depp had NO chemistry whatsoever. In fact, it was uncomfortable to watch their romantic scenes. It looked like Johnny Depp dressed as Michael Jackson kissing a high school student. She was the most insipid and painful part of this film. And what was with the extended Alice Cooper performance? Was it necessary to insert a big budget video in the middle of the film? Were we gonna magically forget that we paid way too much money to see this steamy turd? NO! I won't even get into all the cheap product placement either. I will say that the sets and costumes were lovely, but that's about it. This should really be an obituary for Tim Burton because he's FUCKING DEAD TO ME!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Avengers

I figured by now, the dust on THE AVENGERS would have settled but it seems it is still the hot film to see this summer. (PROMETHEUS is not out yet) As of this post, it is still number two at the box office following MEN IN BLACK III. I have no idea why anyone would see that? I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this film having not seen any of the other movies that tie in to it. I am generally adverse to comic book films just because of the lack of continuity and terrible acting. Case in point: DAREDEVIL, GHOST RIDER, SPIDERMAN, SUPERMAN (new ones), TANK GIRL, and pretty much all the X-MEN films & spin-offs. Glitz & glam tend to be substituted for plot & acting. I realize the people who make these films are trying to appeal to a wider audience than the average comic book nerd. However, if you are going to rely on a comic book as the main source material, at least make an attempt to follow the storyline.
With that being said, I chose to lift my ban on comic book films because of one reason: Joss Whedon. I’m not going to go into how brilliant he (you can read previous posts for that). I will say that I was a die-hard Whedonite long before anyone was assembling anything; even long before he propelled Nathan Fillion into stardom. Let me just get this out of the way first; this film would have been shit if it were not for Joss Whedon. His directing, writing, and dialogue made this film the success that is has become.
I have since gone back to watch the previous films (so far IRON MAN, IRON MAN II, & THOR). They are all pretty mediocre with the exception of IRON MAN which is slightly above sub par. I respect Kenneth Branagh for tackling THOR; the mythological aspect of the story is right up his Shakespearean alley. However, the acting and script was once again menial.
Some things I liked about it: Mark Ruffalo. He may be the best Bruce Banner we’ve seen since Bill Bixby (RIP). I cannot say enough how captivating this role was. Then there’s Whedon’s famous dialogue. Who else would throw in a POINT BREAK reference besides Joss?
Whedon is so revered for his famous dialogue that at one point, it began to hinder him in the Buffy days. Critics kept saying, “Oh it’s just the dialogue that makes this show work.” To prove them all wrong, Whedon made an entire episode of Buffy with absolutely no dialog at the height of the series. To this day, “Hush” is one of the most popular & loved episodes of Buffy. For a film that is centered around narcissistic male superheroes, Whedon still managed to throw in his trademark strong female characters. Black Widow would be the obvious choice here, but I won’t get into that just yet. Then there’s Agent Robin Scherbatsky who has mastered the role of the strong female character. One of my favorite characters in the film (maybe in the Marvel Universe) is Pepper Potts. Tony Stark talks a big talk, but Pepper is the HBIC. She’s the one running the show while Tony is out being a capricious, billionaire, playboy, superhero.
Agent Phil Coulson is also a charming character who has finally been showcased in this franchise. Unfortunately, he meets an untimely demise. Clark Gregg is a truly delightful and underrated actor. You may remember his directing debut CHOKE (the Chuck Palahniuk adaptation). I got to go to an advanced screening of CHOKE when he did a Q&A for it. He's as amusing in person as he is on the big screen.
Some things I did not like: Scarlett Johansson. She might be one of the most one dimensional actresses of this time. Her sex appeal has taken her far, but that aloof damsel routine isn’t fooling anyone anymore (not even Ryan Reynolds). Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, his character Green Lantern finally came out, isn't it about time he did as well?
I've heard several complaints about RDJ and his excessive confabulations. If anyone is familiar with Tony Stark, you will remember that he is a pompous, self indulgent, egotistical, alcoholic. Also, he is a comic book character, which means he was intended to be over the top. These characters are not meant to be relatable; they are meant to be larger than life. I believe RDJ really makes this role his own, but keeps true the nature of Stark.
I do appreciate the fact that this franchise has renewed a love for comic books in a whole new generation. One of my favorite writers, Joe Hill (novels & comic books) often plays devil's advocate by suggesting various "geek fights." Recently, he asked the question, "What series is more influential? Harry Potter or the Marvel Universe?" Of course I chose Marvel. Comic books have influenced generations of people young & old for several decades. Whereas Harry Potter has influenced one generation of children and twenty something girls. Not only do comic books encourage reading, but also a passion for art, and a respect for good morals.
Samuel L Jackson is always entertaining as Nick Fury. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye was boring and forgettable. Tom Hiddleston was wonderful as Loki. Also, come to find out, the character "The Other" was played by none other than Alexis Denisof. For those who don't know, Denisof played Wesley on Buffy and just so happens to be married to Willow in real life. I also found it interesting that they completely left out Dr. Henry Pym (Ant Man) & his wife, Janet Van Dyne (Wasp) who were apart of the original Avengers. This was probably due to a time issue since the film clocks in well over two hours. Much of the film also consists of back story.
Overall, THE AVENGERS is an enjoyable film, whether you are/are not well versed in the Marvel Universe.