Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Legally Blonde (2001)

Don't worry: this will not be a full post. I just happened to be watching this on TV the other day, (another don't worry: I don't own it) and I realized that I needed to make a very important shout out. Did you know that none other than the glorious and glamorous Francesca Roberts is in this film?!! For those of you not caught up on your classic cinema, she's the delectable and delicious Big Bertha of SMB! Big-chested and dressed to the T in red pleather and spring-loaded boots, Francesca dances the cahones off of Bob Hoskins in that epic feature I so recently posted about. She plays the judge in this frolicking film. Ohh the Verse!! So infinite and yet filled with intricate coincidences? Now if only there were more pictures....

Final Judgment: "Maybe there is a God!"

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

Well, let's face it. I basically started this blog just so I could post on this movie. I've been putting it off because I don't know how to translate the sheer glory of this cinematic masterpiece into mere words. While I am not (completely) alone in my assessment of this creation as one of the best entertainment movies ever made, there are certainly hordes and mobs who are not quite as happy. No, SMB (as the nerds call it) doesn't really have anything to do with the game. The same characters appear, in various forms, formats or stages of evolution and you see a few of the key mario ingredients (It's a bo-bomb!), but there's no Mushroom Kingdom, Daisy doesn't wear a dress, oh and they added in that whole plot thing (wuuuuut?). Instead, the stimulating studio concocted this absolutely brilliant scheme where there's a whole parallel Earth to which dinosaurs were banned and left to evolve into intelligent life forms after a meteor hit the Earth. But get this, their Earth is shitty and all that's left is this post-apocalyptic Dinohattan (think the Escape's but with reptile based humans) that the king ('played' by Lance Henriksen), who has devolved into fungus, is slowly consuming. And that's why King Koopa (masterfully managed by the one and only Dennis Hopper) wants to cross the portal. Bring in Daisy, an in-the-dark dino princess who meets up with Mario Bros., the infamous plumbers played by the classically cool Bob Hoskins John Leguizamo (and damn is Mario's girlfriend way too hot for him!) while doing what of all things?: why digging up dinosaur bones of course! For me, there are a couple of crucial components to the overall success of this gem. First of all, it's in the details. Koopa's hair, the cars, the evolution machine, Toad's haircut, the politics of it all, the movie theaters, the totally awesome theme song, the kitsch phrases (filthy mammals!), the props, the characters, the original use of the secret ingredient, and, of course, the sets and costumes! While Hoskins and Leguizamo both admit that they thought the movie was so terrible that they were intoxicated for the majority of it, there's no denying the genius composed realism of a cast and studio that attempts to create something both monumental and ridiculous without taking themselves or anyone else seriously. In fact, they describe it best themselves, stating that, "one of the biggest reasons the movie turned out the way it did was because the directors wanted a more "adult" movie while the studio, considering the source material, was looking for a children's film." And there you have it. Based on my recent research, that is the crucial element for a successful live-action sci-fi/fantasy. In fact, that's what we all need in life: a significant chunk of adolescence to carry us through the reality of adulthood. In my opinion, anyone who takes themselves too seriously is just a big fucking joke. Look around! Look at this Universe and our pitiful 100,000 year existence (only 10k of which actually counts as 'history')! There is no greater meaning and United States society is a pathetic attempt to impose significance into fictional literature and fictional paper products with only a focus on the last 200 years and the next ten. Fuck you dudes! Ah money, the only greenery I hate as well as love. Anyfucker, Super Mario Bros. is the best movie sitting on my shelf, and that's saying a lot. Some douchebag on imdb comments (I'm watching you fucking Hamster_Factor) has actually confirmed both my fielding of a love for this film and my belief that almost everyone is an idiot. The little dickcheese says (and I quote, incorrect grammer included), "I was 9 or 10 whenever this film came out and now that I look back in retrospect, I realise just how stupid I was. The problem with being a child is that you rarely, if ever, know anything, and so - because of that disability, you end up going to see films like like this, 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves', 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' to name but a few stinkers I was subjected to when I was a young boy. When you're small, seeing Elias Koteas hitting angry Chinese people with golf-clubs is the highlight of your existence, seeing Bob Hoskins kill dinosaurs while dressed as an early incarnation of Bob the Builder was the greatest thing on the planet, but then you grow up and realise that most of your childhood was a precursor to adult misanthropy." Well said. And ironic since a) TMNT is one of the other best live-action adult/children movies ever made and because b) I'm going to post on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in a little while. These same movies graced by childhood. But unlike hamster-douche, I actually appreciate them more with age because I can recognize the significance of something deemed so inappropriate by society and yet so gloriously interpretative of human imaginative potential. Also, I love the lack of CGI. Yes for actually building the goddamn set! Yes! Yes! Yes!
I've attempted to put in as many pictures as is humanely possible, and I've also found a couple of sweet sites. This site has tons of screen shots, and this site is weird and amusing. And what's the best part about all of this (or strangest or most depressing)?: as with all things great, SMB is completely obscure and underrated.

Final Judgment: "Long live Big Bertha, the bouncer at the Boom Boom Bar!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Omega Code (1999)

Well, it's obvious why I bought this movie. It has Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), Michael Ironside (the King of C-list sci-fi) and Michael York (Logan's Run) in it, a shiny cover, a religious supernatural thriller plot summary and a sweet title. I did get a little bit suspicious when I saw that it was distributed by GoodTimes Home Video, but thinking little to nothing of it, I confidently purchased the VHS. A couple of bad previews from Gener8Xion Entertainment and a public service, 'use the crosswalk,' ad later, and I wasn't so sure about my previously acquired video. Once the movie actually started, it didn't take long for me to dial up imdb and confirm that this was, in reality, written by a televangelist and released for the religious community. Damn, how did they get roped into this? Probably the exact same way I did. If they had told us that the book it's based on was actually called "The Bible Code," maybe York and I would have ditched this project (Ironside will do anything, and he's worked with Van Dien before; and Van Dien is Casper the 6th and therefore has a religious background [conservatives...]). What really gives it away is the main character's pathetic attempt to argue against the existence of God. Only the believers use the argument that "I don't believe in God because something bad happened to me and if bad things happen then God can't exist," because they know precisely that they can refute it. It's the most ridiculously useless way of not believing in God. The whole movie is pretty pathetic actually. They (the Christians) use abstract and wholly unbelievable phrases and events, in effect mimicking and drawing attention to the absurdity of whole sections of the Bible. I mean, why do they believe in that historic piece of fiction? We're taught not even to believe the history books, so why would we believe in something whose validity has only been passed down through generations of tradition? Especially when people are so useless and gullible and idiotic? WTF? I digress. Another fascinating fixation is that many viewers describe the film as being "a James Bond film without any of the immoral parts," so I guess all that violence and killing was not upsetting to them (don't worry, they work for the Antichrist so it's to be expected). Only in America is god-given nudity considered immoral while bombings and automatic weapons are just 'run of the mill' (wait...maybe not). So that's a downer: no tits. But lots of killing. Also, the Antichrist becomes "The Chancellor of the United World," by following clues hidden in a 3 dimensional version of the Torah while freaky old dudes claim that "there is a war going on between angels of light and dark." Basically, good vs. evil where only God is good and evil is always in bed with Satan. And then the protagonist accepts Jesus as his lord and saviour just in time for God to send out some nuclear pulse of goodness that destroys a CGI Satan/demon and saves the world. Many people seem to love it because "in the end God wins and the movie ends with hope rather than despair." And as some intelligent lady on imdb states, all that and "this movie just happens to be based on a true story." Yikes! Other imdb lovers alternately hate it or love it, most likely based on their religious orientation. There are some good vision scenes, and Ironside wears Hasidic facial hair. And it's filmed in Jerusalem and Rome, a definite plus. Believe it or not, the film actually did astonishingly well, making more money per screen on its opening weekend than Fight Club which came out the same season. Double Yikes! And because three's a charm, I found this "awesome" website that talks about the movie, shows stills, and helps you learn how accept Jesus into your heart. The arguments they present are just as convincing as the ones in the movie, that's for sure. Oh, and they made a sequel.

Final Judgment: "More an anthropological atrocity than a supernatural sizzler (I mean, can you believe this shit?); or The DaVinci Code meets VeggieTales. "

The same Bible that prophesied so many other events with such accuracy has recorded over 300 prophesies about a Messiah who would be God in the flesh, come to redeem the world. All these prophesies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus: from his lineage, place of birth, and miraculous conception, to his divine ministry, betrayal, and most importantly his crucifixion and resurrection three days later.

The odds of one person coincidentally fulfilling just eight of these 300 prophesies has been figured as one in ten to the seventeenth power. These are the same odds as spreading silver dollars two feet deep across the state of Texas, then marking just one of them, burying it somewhere in the state and blindfolding someone and having him pick the marked coin on his very first try!"

Whoa. I'm definitely convinced.
And for a second, more political, verdict:
I deem it: "Quite an insight into the delusional thinking that runs our country."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Covenant (2006)

Oh Renny Harlin, I knew I couldn't go long without crossing paths with you! This time it's The Covenant, clearly a slick-chick film made for a younger audience. Everything about this movie is shiny!: the background and sets (due to post-processing) are blue and shiny like algae in a mysterious pond (I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it's from the producers of Underworld); the plot and character concepts are so beyond reality with shine that you almost fall on your ass just trying to figure out what's going on; and the actors are so shiny you could eat off their fucking chests! And as slick as it is, it still only cost $20 mill! It's supposedly an update on the whole Massachusetts witch thing with a gang of 4 superfluously rich teenage boys (technically 'warlocks', although 'witches' is probably more appropriate in this case) getting to have all the power. They go to school on this ridiculously large estate at this insanely "prestigious" "high school" where they have to wear uniforms, everyone gets an 1800 square foot dorm room, there's never anybody around and the lights are always off. Okay,...that's pretty much what Princeton was like, right? Not. But I bet some of the prep schools that kids I knew attended could have been pretty fucking close. Ahh, Money. There's some sort of side plot to this piece about battling a fifth dude who forced his dad to give him all his power (something about using too much and aging too quickly...a metaphor for drugs?) so now he's super strong ("I'll make you my wiatch!"), but since their power mostly includes throwing around CGI balls of transparent sperm ooze (I think they were going for the 'sophisticated' look) it's nothing too tough guy. But that's a side plot. The primary meat of the movie is a bunch of hairless gay-faces who are way too buff trying to impress girls and doing whatever they want. Ahh teens. Chace Crawford (poster child of the closeted gay-faces) was even in this film, although they just told him to shut up and look pretty (he has like 3 lines). And that's if you can even tell them apart. The girls are also hairless (where it counts) and slutty, and they're always hanging out in their dorm room with white panties on. Where did Renny go to school?: on the CW? wtf? Living out some fantasies much? Playing both fields or just trying to please everyone? Oh Renny, always such a pleaser.

I deem it: "Greasy and good for the groin."

And once again, I've gone overboard with the pictures....(I couldn't even post them all; there are too many good ones!)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons (2000)

I don't really have to post for this movie. There's actually only one thing that you need to know before making your decision: Marlon Wayans is in it. Now, if this wasn't such an iconic piece of material, I probably wouldn't have seen it. But I did see it, and in theaters no less. At the time I thought it was absolutely terrible, but now, 8 years and a significantly increased irony capacity later, I have officially rewatched it and deemed it edible (drugs required). Apparently Mr. Wayans also filmed Requiem for a Dream in 2000, and people seem to like that movie, so I guess he's not the end-all, say-all, might as well shit on the film before it goes through the projector type of guy (at least not back then). And with that in mind, you may actually be able to stomach his presence in this ridiculously pathetic adaptation. We're talking bad acting, terrible jokes (I like my women with a beard so you have something to hang on to [pelvic thrust, pelvic thrust]), stupid costumes and all around shitty effects, made for TV type entertainment. But as I said, with enough drugs, anything is possible. While you may spend the first 90 minutes attempting to reclaim those very same 90 minutes, the finale is pretty spectacular, featuring Thora Birch in a sweet-ass, purely aesthetic piece of "armor" riding on a dragon and attempting to kill other dragons and Jeremy Irons in the process. This absurdity is just enough (and I do mean just enough) to redeem everything that came before it. Think dwarves and elves and thieves and labyrinths and magic and class wars and the typical "cantina scene" and the almighty Council. Oh man, this movie is bad. And if you don't believe me, just check the imdb user comments (the titles are enough). Spencer seemed to find it hysterical, so I guess it all depends on the company you hold. Do not, I mean do not watch this with a cynical viewer. It will never work out. Do watch this while marvelling at how easy it is to spend $35 million dollars and speculating about what producers really think is going on in the brains of nerds. Ahh nerds, what a disgrace to your image. Movies like these are why people mock nerds and geeks and everything in between. As a sci-fi/fantasy lover (in all its mediums), I can honestly say that this movie, while hilariously underwhelming, doesn't do justice to the vast potential of the genre. I mean, come on! This is what entertainment film was made for!: Fantastic effects that can't be created or believed in person!, costumes that have been out of date for hundreds of years!, and the potential for serious social and political commentary on the definition and execution of life in the BC! I mean, take it from George Méliès and his "Le Voyage dans le Lune," made in 1902. Damn, now that's how it should be done. The saddest part is that they made a sequel and I own it. Yikes.

I deem it: "A sad chronicle in the public perception of the fantasy genre."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just in case you were wondering...

Why I go through stages of post categories, or sometimes seem a little overwhelmed, or why I may be a little crazy....
I just thought I would show you what I'm dealing with here.
We just got new shelves for the VHS, books and DVDs, but we're still working on getting a shelf for the vinyl (in the boxes on the ground). This may explain many things about me or nothing at all. Take it as you will.

Peace and love (and awesome media!),

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Wowzah: this one is a zinger. I've been stuck in the 21st century lately, so it always feels good and energizing to hit up the better times with a strategically placed 90's action film. And Renny Harlin, director of Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (widely considered to be a huge success), the ever looked over Die Hard 2: Die Harder (no, not with a vengeance) and Cliffhanger certainly knows how to make a film sizzle. Even better, the most successful Finnish director in Hollywood history met and married Geena Davis while on the set of Cutthroat Island (thanks to Eddie Murphy, no longer the biggest box office disaster ever created) and that means he's not afraid to show off what he's doing at night. And I do mean doing. There are so many gaggalicious shots of Mrs. Davis in white undergarments while being tortured, I almost had an urge to go out and screw a 40 year old. Almost. She's pretty freaking hot. The film, in which Davis plays a spy with amnesia, is pretty much packed to the peak with punch and libido. And don't forget a working class Sammy J., who, although not the hero in this particular piece (he needs saving more often than not), adds in the grit and grime of a necessary sidekick. Davis' past life comes back to haunt her when her portrayal of Mrs. Clause (yes, as in Santy) during a bumpkin parade brings past evils, all of whom thought she was dead, swinging back into action. A nasty head wound and Geena is back to her old self, snapping deer and people necks galore. Think split personality (one homemaker [can she move on and abandon her kid? oh wait, the agency is trying to kill her and her family], one slut), knife throwing, slick chick with a serious vendetta against the boys. There's no girl on girl action in this one. Just Geena Davis kicking ass and splitting dicks left and right. Damn, that's hot. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more ridiculous, Renny Lauri Mauritz Harjola (man, that's a mouth full...and hopefully in more ways than one!) throws in a few automatic weapons and a bunch of explosions to keep up the pace. At one point, it's actually raining smoldering cars (as Spencer says, "they should have a flashing subtitle that says 'this actually happened!'"); trust, $65 million has never been so worth it. Imdb trivia says it best with their comment that: "The ice skating scene was scripted to end with Samantha performing a double-axel flip and simultaneously firing over her upside-down head. After two aerial-rig configurations (in sub-zero conditions) and several attempts at green-screening failed to hold any convincing fluency to the action, it was dropped from the final cut of the film." Oh Renny, at least you know when too much is too much....or do you? The sexified soundtrack certainly says something (what I don't know; Marvin Gaye, Santana, Jimmy Cliff, Elvis Presley, George Clinton, etc.). Craig Bierko, of The Thirteenth Floor (a totally bizarro sci-fi/alternate reality but still the same reality/computer technology/is this even real? movie) fame also stars in this flashy film with a 2.9 second average shot length. To top it off, the script, the first ever sold for 3 million dollars, is written by Shane Black whose infinitely awesome writing credits include all four Lethal Weapon's, The Last Boyscout (Willis) and Last (what's with all this ending of ages? morbid much?) Action Hero (Schwarzenegger). Now that's a legacy.

I deem it: "Salivatingly serious action"

Mmm, that's good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clockstoppers (2002)

Well, the first copy of Clockstoppers that I purchased actually turned out to be Crossroads in a good film's clothing. Undeterred, I did, on another trip, shell out the $1.95 for an additional copy based primarily on my evaluation of the cover. I do have a weakness for childrens' movies. And now, with the two neon covers sitting smugly next to each other on the shelf, I look like a freak. Apparently this is the first movie not related to Star Trek that Johnathan Frakes ever directed. Unfortunately, it's not the first piece of 'art' he's acted in, and a 1 episode stint on 3rd Rock From the Sun in 2000 clearly introduced him to French Stewart, who he then proceeded to cast in this film. Personally, I associate French Stewart with a last-ditch effort to achieve any sort of audience, much like having a Mr. Bean/Mr. Magoo/George W. cameo, except here they let him have a whole part. It's especially unfortunate since I'm about 95% certain that he only knows how to make that one squinty-eyed face. Yikes. Another desperate plea for viewers appears in that 'maybe if I throw in words that kids-these-days use they'll think I'm cool' kind of way. Blatant youth references apparate quite frequently with at least 3 EBay references, 2 Pepsi product placements and a soundtrack fit for a 17 year old's 1999 playlist (Blink 182, Smashmouth, Lit, The Cranberries, Nickelback, New Found Glory, Third Eye Blind, Kool Keith, Sugar Ray, The Dandy Warhols and Simple Plan all abound....I think my head is going to explode!) which I'm sure at least 20% of their $26 million budget went to procuring. Dayum. The plot, which I have yet to cover, revolves around a bunch of teenagers, some mystical physics and a big business science organization attempting to create the perfect piece of technology. Basically, this dude stumbles upon a watch his dad and a grad student were working on (forced into aging slave labor by the company) that can speed up the molecules of whomever's touching it, causing them to literally move faster than the rest of the world. What do they do with this newfound power? Why cause mischief of course! I'm not quite sure why or how they were able to help that guy break dance and scratch in real time while they themselves were moving faster than fast but I guess it's not about the science. Oh wait. Also, there are multiple watches so steel yourself for some superspeed battles. In short, bad guys want the watch back, father and son get some bonding time, guy gets to make out with chick, bad guys get punished, French Stewart turns back into a teenager and starts hitting on dude's little sister, dude gets car he's always wanted and everyone is generally happy. Except for the black kid who gets totally screwed out of all the fun. Well, without regard to the fact that I'd never heard of this movie (what were they thinking not sending me an invite?), it did manage to make some money, so it can theoretically be considered a success. I guess that's what happens when you dumb down the physics and let the kids have whatever they want. Ah, the things we're teaching this generation. Also, what's with all the still frames of the chick? Tell me children did this and not creepy old adults (cockstoppers anyone?)!

Final Judgment: "Who knew science could be so hip?!"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Antitrust (2001)

Oh computers, how much widely-varied themed fodder you've presented us with. From computers controlled by AI that take over the world to computers controlled by greedy white guys that take over the world, nothing expresses our uncertainties about our joint future with technology like a classic "computers taking over the world" plot. Am I sensing a pattern? This particular film harps on the essentially epic power lust chord, with a mythical Bill Gates/Steve Jobs composite white dude (played by Tim Robbins) representing the monomaniacal computer lord who steals code from the little guys (all teens to early twenties of course, and, primarily attractive...hmm...) to advance his global domination by satellite and then has his goonies (not the fat, mischievous ones....oh wait.) brutally murder them so that they can't release their stuff open-source. Just think!, the ability to listen to or watch anyone in the world at any given time (as long as you've got a clear satellite shot of course)! But until he can steal or cajole that last bit of code, Robbins is stuck with just using fiber-optic cameras and well-researched files (that is sooo passé). This is where our realistically attractive, unbelievably intelligent Ryan Phillippe comes in, recruited to a giant "campus" in a ridiculously beautiful part of "Portland" (also known as the BC) where all the employees have sweet cars and huge salaries as well as a laid-back, youth friendly working environment (those crazy kids). Robbins even stuffs his face with chips and jabbers on about how awesome coding is to make them feel better about themselves. Sound too good to be true? Or suspiciously like The Firm? Well, you can just guess. Add in a few choice planted hotties (Rachel Leigh Cook and Claire Forlani (which one would you do? Cook looks like a scared baby animal, which is hot, but Claire looks like a screamer, also hot. Hmm.....Mmm....), some ridiculous looking dudes (Sonic the hedgehog; generic, dead, long-haired Asian programme and a couple of indistinguishable gay-faces), Public radio, justification for the working man, a "Knowledge is for the people/Open-source it" rant, totally awesome and beyond our capabilities technologies (a Smart House where the paintings are digital and shift to display the favorite works of whoever's in the room [comic-style drawings for the pretty nerd of course]?) and the take-down of a
massive corporation and you've got a not so subtle computer nerd's wet dream. They even cameoed famous programmers, stole legitimate customs from the big M and A, and used essentially accurate html in all of their shots. Whooooaaaaa. Pretty sweet. And (said in my Fothergill voice)it's based on the true nature of reality (Mmhmm, of course). Basically, it's a splitting image of the issues and concerns of geeky youth at the turn of the century (at least a splitting image of my issues and concerns). And I'm sure Jobs wasn't too happy about it (Gates is way too loopy to even notice...He probably just watches Planet Earth on some massive, room sized, spherical screen [oh god {or should I say Gates?} that would be awesome!]), which can really only be a good thing. All in all, very satisfying.

I deem it: "A new, svelter, generation of Hackers!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Tuxedo (2002)

Oh Jackie Chan: how low you will sink to make a quick buck (example also given. Rush Hour 2 and 3, Around the World in 80 Days [see below], and The Medallion [clearly the exact same movie in different outerwear). This particular film is most aptly described by some lonely soul on the imdb homepage (clearly where I get the majority of my information [on life as well as "art"]) who spouts forth poetry in the form of a superbly executed movie summary: "A hapless chauffer must take a comatosed secret agent's place using his special gadget-laden tuxedo." Yep, that's about it. At this point they have to actually make up mystical/scientific plot excuses to explain how awesome Jackie Chan is; He's literally surpassed the realm of physics! Unbelievable! No, not really. What is unbelievable is that the producers thought that anyone wanted to sit through 98 minutes of Jennifer Love Hewitt jabber. Yuck. She's especially annoying this film, primarily because they give her a speaking part. That's a big mistake if you ask me (if only they would; so many films could be so much better...). Another low point, The Tuxedo draws almost exclusively upon physical humor in that Abbott and Costello kind of way that makes you wonder if this is a 21st century children's/inoffensive white couple's type of movie. You should always stick to the 80's and 90's (that's another piece of ironic comedy advice from the VHS Queen of the West Coast [right?]). Let's summarize: Fake science?: check. Pathetic attempts at humor?: check. Stereotypically egotistical bad guy + maniacal mad-scientist?: check. Jokes about insinuated sexual activities that clearly don't take place?: check. Jackie vs. James as Chan incapacitates Brown only to take his place as the "Emperor of Soul?": check. Do I really need to keep going? I feel like if what I have just told you has either convinced you to watch this film whilst sober or has not convinced you not to watch it whilst intoxicated, you have some issues that need attending. In fact, the only thing that I found informative about this movie is that it taught me how to say tuxedo in Spanish: el smoking. Ah, my favorite word.

Final Judgment: "Only if you're desperate for a few laughs, a pick me up, and a look at what the world really thinks about being one of the most acrobatic fighters in the world."

If only I could feel so victorious:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The One (2001)

Well, there comes a point in every martial arts-centered actor's life when he must fight himself. Whether it's because they don't want to pay another actor or there's just no one good enough to fight for it to seem plausible, or if it's even just an egomaniacal plan to get as much screen time as possible, we may never know. But for Jet Li, that day has arrived. The film is actually pretty good. While I in fact own two separate movies in which Van Damme fights himself (twins and clones), this futuristic sci-fi tops them all primarily because it's just that: an action/sci-fi. It's got that Sliders feel, with the whole journeying between similar dimensions in the same universe ("I found the gateway!"), and there are also "Multiverse" cops, the intellectual philosophy that surrounds killing your alter-dimension self and absorbing their power, the dream and sappiness of finding a sole-mate in every universe, and a bunch more traditional stuff (guns and explosions!). There's even a hell/jail dimension with no return. Ahhh!!!! Jason Statham, Carla Cugino (Spy Kids/who the fuck is that?) and Delroy Lindo (A Life Less Ordinary) play the other characters, but Jet Li, in his multitude of cheesy hairstyles, is really the star of this film (in more ways than one). A classic scene (if this movie can yet be called 'classic') is when Jet Li, playing two versions of himself, practices his fighting skills (to get ready for the impending battle); the "good" Li uses baguazhang kung-fu, a flowy, defensive art, while the "bad" Li uses a martial arts style called Xingyiquan, which, based on my limited knowledge, appears to be extremely violent and aggressive (whoa dude....I don't know if I can handle all this deep symbolism....). Oh, and Trevor Rabin (The Rock, Con-Air) did the soundtrack, so you get a lot of really really angry tunes. Even creepier, imdb trivia asserts that the same-homo (sapien) fight scenes were actually green-screened! And not the whole thing; just the stuntman's face was green, and they put Jet Li's face on later! Insane! And weird! And totally lazy (I bet Jet Li just didn't want to have to learn the other side of the fight...lazy bum)! But for all of this, there is one thing that tops them all! I have just discovered that there used to be a fictional webpage just to explain the back-story of this movie (Man, people actually cared? Aren't the seem wormhole devices enough? This is why sci-fi never goes over: it has to be plausible and realistic!) from which wikipedia managed to steal all of the pertinent, completely fictional information, which I will post after my gavel rains down and judgment has been delivered. Well....I guess I may just as well get on with it:

I deem it: "A martial arts spectacular that can, literally, take you beyond this dimension."

And with that:

"History of the Multiverse Authority (MVA)

The MVA was created in the "Alpha Universe." A prominent U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Parallel Universe Technology Committee named Marcos Rodríguez championed the original Quantum Tunneling Research Project and was instrumental in raising the necessary funds. However, shortly after the first successful Quantum Tunnel jump, Rodríguez was indicted on charges of campaign finance fraud and accepting kickbacks from government contractors. Before he could be brought to trial, Rodríguez was able to access the prototype Quantum Tunneling Device and jump into the "Beta Universe." Due to the infancy of the technology, by the time he could be tracked, Rodríguez had already arranged the death of his Beta Universe "parallel universe version," also a U.S. Senator and had assumed his position.

A former Texas Border Patrol agent named Kyle Browning was hired to head security for the Quantum Tunneling Project and accompanied researchers on many of the first jumps. When one of the researchers made an unauthorized jump to escape from a tax fraud scandal, Kyle Browning successfully retrieved her.

The MVA was formed to address the problems of the new technology and the criminals who were abusing it. Kyle Browning was made Head Field Agent and set in place many of the practices and procedures still used in the tracking and apprehension of criminals in other universes. He also coined the term "parallel universe retrieval," meaning not just the capture of criminals, but the act of escorting them back to the Alpha Universe for trial.

Some time after its creation, the MVA appealed to all major technology producing Alpha Universe countries to contribute personnel and resources to the growing organization.

The MVA's basic mission is to prevent Quantum Tunneling from becoming a tool of crime and to apprehend all those who use it to escape justice and/or alter the affairs of parallel universes.

Field agents of the MVA are divided into two interrelated groups. One group specializes in simple retrievals of Alpha Universe criminals who have used Quantum Tunneling to escape to another universe. The other group tracks criminals who commit "inter-universal crimes" such as smuggling or the termination of one's parallel universe versions."

Super weird.

The Attic Expeditions (2001)

I'm the first to admit that I had serious doubts before watching this film. These mal-concluded notions were induced primarily by the fact that I bought this VHS exclusively because Seth Green (the only name really worth knowing) is on the cover. Now, when you're buying movies solely because of Seth Green it's time to realize that you either have a seriously large movie collection or your sense of irony has propelled itself entirely off of the radar (uh-hum). There's also a hint of S&M, and it looked like a teen horror, so I ended up picking it up at a Rasputin (shop local!) for about $2 (how else do you manage to watch movies this obscure/low-budget?). In the S&M department, I was not deceived; a key benefit of being an obscure film that goes straight to video is the fact that you can have lots and lots of full-frontal nudity (ladies only; sorry!) with little to no protest. I mean damn!: They're just throwing tits and pussy at you left and right! I'm cool with it though. You may not be able to buy great CGI (or any CGI at all) for a million bucks, but you can certainly buy some pussy. Good ole reliable poontang. And while we're on the subject of budget, let me tell you: I have seen a lot worse movies that cost a lot more than $1,000,000. Probably about a quarter of that went just to Alice Cooper, who shows up as a mental patient in about 5 minutes of the film. That is, unless they paid him entirely in burritos (oh wait, that's Ozzy [in fact, Chipotle actually cites him on their reviews page!]). While wikipedia describes the film as ""random", "incoherent", "violently confusing", and lacking any plot whatsoever, at any point," my examination of imdb user reviews has uncovered that many viewers fall completely on the other side of the Mulholland fence. What I mean by this is: while a substantial chunk of people often hate the movie for being completely and utterly puzzling, the rest of them like it for exactly the same reason. I won't lie, I was indeed "violently confused" for about the last 30 minutes of the cinematic journey. The rest of it seemed to actually make sense (I wasn't sure where the magical book of spells or the ritual murders and ability to create fire by snapping [oh wait, there are special effects!] came in, but the majority of the film seemed to be fairly reasonable). It was after about the third or fourth 'this is all in your head' incident that I started to lose my nimble mental grasp over the plot (I guess it could have just been a weed haze), but then they threw in some repeat full frontal and all my worries were over. All-in-all, not a terrible film. Lots of craziness, lots of confusion, definitely a film you could show to a newly developing stoner to quote on quote blow their mind. Spencer's final analysis was "it's a circular plot," but as with any bounded area (the universe), all I want to know is: what's on the other side?

I deem it: "A veritable carousel of blood and booty."

And just for pleasure:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Twin Warriors (1993)

Well, apparently I am not alone in thinking that this movie is pretty fucking fantastic. This Shaolin picture, filmed in China and released as Tai ji: Zhang San Feng stars both Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh (recently reunited in Forbidden Kingdom) who are, unfortunately, not twins of any kind. Instead, the movie follows two mischievious monks (oh...those kind of twins) who, upon learning martial arts, but not decency or respect, are cast out of the monastary and forced to find their way in the real world. One (Li) goes to live with some rebels (stop stealing money from the poor!) and the other goes, as Ramblin' Jack would say, wrong. Now, while I'm generally skeptical of this genre (soooo many of this type have been made!), I will not hesitate to say that the fighting scenes in this particular film rival those of The Legend of Drunken Master, of which I have never, until recently, seen an equivalent. While it doesn't have the physical humor of the former, it certainly kicks ass: flying asians and brutal killings abound. And since Li and his twin manage to get their hands on some supernaturally sweet moves, things get pretty crazy by the end. There's not too much more I can say. It's awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. And you get to see Jet Li looking and acting like a deranged wild-man. Super Suweet.

Final Judgment: "This movie will kick your tootie-patootie any day."

ps. While the second poster doesn't have anything to do with the movie....how could I really resist?

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Well, this movie certainly lives up to its title. It was both 2 fast and 2 furious for my brain. I'm not sure which was popularized first, but this trilogy certainly glamorizes the seriously dangerous act of drag racing. Now, I've been around a few drag races in my time, but let me tell you: a) the girls are not nearly as hot as they are in the movies b) you usually have to wait around forever, and often times the race never even happens c) the cars that show up are not very sweet, and the roads are never as smooth or abandoned. And another thing: there is absolutely nothing whatsoever macho about a bright yellow car with a spoiler and a pretty picture of an animal on the side. With that in mind, feel free to watch this movie. It certainly doesn't live up to the original (impossible without Vin) and has not yet accomplished the far-reaching absurdity of the third. But there are plenty of CGI chases, flabbergasting moves, implausible scenarios which often require guns, an amazingly vibrant synchronized deceit (think Thomas Crown Affair but with civics instead of bowler hats) even more ridiculous than you could imagine color-coordinated cars n' costumes, a smoking-hot Eva Mendes, who, for some reason beyond me, actually keeps her clothes on in this movie (I guess they gotta keep it PG-13 so their main audience won't have trouble getting into the theater), and a whole-hearted "long live the US of A" attitude. In fact, it actually brings people together: there's got to be one of every color of under-educated American in there! Damn that's sexy. And, it's always a good sign when they switch in numbers for words (less [I'd put in the mathematical symbol if I thought it was at all realistic] 2 read!). Oh, and it's got a bitchin' soundtrack. This movie's about as real as these posters (the chick is for all those chola girlfriends out there): I had to pick a few because I've never seen so many 'awesome' wallpapers from a sequel before! What a totally bizarro sub-culture.

I deem it: "A multi-colored-neck, smartass, douchebag, testosterone-based extravaganza!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Three Musketeers (1993)

Oh what a glorious piece of my youth. While other young females may have been glued to Black Beauty, Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken and/or Little Women (all three of which grace my cinematic memory), it was The Three Musketeers that ultimately molded me into the movie critic that I am today. And back then, I didn't even realize it's full greatness! Por ejemplo, Keifer (that's also a kind of boozy yogurt) Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Chris O'Donnell, Oliver Platt and Tim Fucking Curry all play principle parts in this perfectly scrumptious action time-piece. What names! What legacies! What hair! No, it's not completely accurate. Yes, Curry basically wears a dress the whole time (should you really be suprised?). And, theoretically, quite potentially, there is a guest appearance by none other than the Toxic Avenger (all hail NJ!). Don't be scared away by the Walt Disney logo at the beginning of the film (or on the box, the vhs tape and the iron padlock claiming all rights and ownership of the film) because I'm not quite sure how this garnered a PG rating (big-brother Disney pushing the little guys around). There is cleavage galore! And almost nudity! And drinking, lots and lots of drinking! There's also death in a variety of forms, although primarily involving swords. Yay for sword fighting! But, essential to every Disney film (or at least the ones worth counting), there are the requisite jokes and light-heartedness, loss over love, love recovered, ridiculous outfits and scenarios, and an ultimately happy ending where good conquers evil. They even take a few snips at the Church, although they make sure not to piss of the Big Guy by letting children around the globe know that "there really is a God." And while I'm not sure if it's quite particularly in their best interest, Disney does show that a few can take down the masses of evil and a king will always listen to a musketeer (is that how Britney and Justin made it?). Oh man, and you have to watch the music video of "All for Love" by Sting, Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams. It comes before the film on the VHS copy and it is quite possibly the gayest thing I've every seen (and I live near Moby Dick in the Castro!). Three of them - three musketeers - coincidence? I think not! All in all, thoroughly rowdy and uplifting (the movie, not the music...that's just filled with even more ridiculous hair and fondling; Sting totally brought the guitar so he'd have an excuse not to touch those other dudes!)!

I deem it: "Fit for a king and all her masses!"