Friday, February 29, 2008

"Yeah, I can fly..."

The 12 year old robot in me highly approves of this newish IRON MAN trailer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things...

Japanese cowgirls with swords vs. zombies?

Hummana Hummana!
Be still my Robot heart!
*bites metal knuckle!

OK, to be serious for a moment, ONECHANBARA is based on a series of video games I've never heard of, and is expected to open theatrically in Japan in April, according to Twitch. More info (in Japanese) and a few pics can be found here.

Films I've watched a thousand times #1

"I can think of at least two things wrong with that title"

I believe it's common among most film geeks that there are certain movies that we watch over and over and over again. These are highly personal choices, and not always the films we would consider to be the greatest in our own opinion. They tend to represent our current mood or state of mind, and certainly our guilty pleasures slip in here more often than not. For example, I might think that TAXI DRIVER is one of the greatest films ever made, yet I can't bring myself to watch it very often. On the other hand, I've watched ROUNDERS twice in the last 3 months, mainly because I'm obsessed with poker. So here's to the films we watch again and again, despite what they say about our psychological make-up, or our questionable taste in trashy entertainment!

David Cronenberg's tripped out vision of NAKED LUNCH is hardly a straight translation of the novel, as it's more an amalgam of many of Burroughs' works and the author's own life. It's a film that I've watched many, many times, on VHS tape for heaven's sake! It's a slow and hazy psycho-sexual drug fueled journey into the process of writing and the depths of our addictions. Anyone who has tried their hand at writing has surely felt at some point like the keyboard was mocking them, in this film it actually happens!

Naked Lunch makes an instantaneous break with conventional reality in its opening moments and never looks back. Centering on the adventures of Bill Lee, played by Peter Weller as a droll, deadpan evocation of the author (Lee was the maiden name of Mr. Burroughs’ mother, and William Lee his pseudonym), the film begins with smallish bugs. Then it moves on to ever more huge, horrible, and intelligent ones. Bill works in New York City as an exterminator and sees even that as a metaphor. “Exterminate all rational thought: that is the conclusion I have come to,” he says.

In addition to viewing his job in philosophical terms, Bill has also used it as an excuse to ingest narcotic bug powder, to which both he and his wife, Joan (Judy Davis), have become addicted. Ms. Davis, who is wonderfully dry and unflappable in two different bizarre incarnations, at first turns up barely long enough to inject bug powder intravenously and conduct a lazy affair with one of Bill’s friends. “Hank and I, we’re just bored,” she tells Bill. “It wasn’t serious.”

This is enough to raise Bill’s suspicions that Joan is a secret agent for an enemy spy ring, especially after a large talking beetle befriends Bill and drops that hint. Joan must be eliminated, the beetle insists, speaking from an orifice that recalls Mr. Burroughs taste for the playfully obscene and talking in the lively, Burroughs-like idiom of Mr. Cronenberg’s inventive screenplay. “It must be done this week,” the insect says, “and it must be done real tasty.”

So Bill and Joan perform their “William Tell act,” just as Mr. Burroughs and his wife, Joan Vollmer Burroughs, did on one drunken evening in Mexico City in 1951. As Bill shoots and kills Joan, the film makes one of its many allusions to the real events of Mr. Burroughs’ life. Soon afterward, he either physically or psychically flees New York for Interzone, a Tangier-like exotic setting in which the film’s nightmarishness escalates to new levels (although Naked Lunch is so thoroughly hallucinatory that it’s difficult to know exactly where its characters are, literally or figuratively). In Interzone, the suffering gets worse and the bugs get bigger as Bill attempts to write what will be Naked Lunch, the novel.

-excerpt of Drifting In and Out Of a Kafkaesque Reality by Janet Maslin.

Disturbing and disjointed, I can see how this film received very mixed reviews, and elicits concerned glares when I sing it's praises. Perhaps it's not for everyone, but I've seen it a thousand times.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quote Of The Week*

We're big fans of J.T. Petty around here, especially since the screening of his "documentary" S&MAN, as part of the Midnight Madness program at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Currently he is working on a creature feature call THE BURROWERS which goes something like this:

The Dakota Territories. 1879. A handful of brave pioneers maintain isolated settlements in the badlands beyond civilization. When a family is brutally abducted in a nighttime attack, a posse forms to rescue the missing from the Native Americans suspected of the crime. An Irish immigrant searching for his lost beloved, a naïve teenager hoping to prove himself, an ex-slave looking for his place, and a pair of aging Indian-fighters set themselves against all the perils of the Old West, battling nature and hostile tribes. But as men vanish in the night, and horrific evidence accumulates with the dead and dying, the group discovers that their prey is far more terrifying than anything human, and their prospects are far more terrible than death.
reports that a single day of reshoots is happening, and J.T. Petty explains why:

"We decided we didn't have enough 'people stabbing monsters in the face with bones torn from rotting corpses' scenes, so we're adding one of those..."

*There will not be a quote every week.

Monday, February 18, 2008


George A. Romero's return to the world of zombies he pioneered with the groundbreaking 1968 film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a kind of 're-boot', as it ignores the events of the past films and begins anew in our current times. Re-boot is also apropos as one of the overriding themes of the film is the saturation of media coverage and available technology that allows us all to document and broadcast the events of our everyday lives.

Starting off with a news report at the scene of a double murder (which happened to be shot across the street from where I'm typing this review) the undead first rise up to chomp upon cops and reporters alike. The film makes ample use of news footage, (including actual footage from what I assume was the Katrina aftermath) webcams, CCT feeds, and the like. The film itself that we are watching is supposed to be the edited footage of a documentary called The Death Of Death, which was started when a group of college kids and their sauced up professor were in the woods filming a student horror film when first reports of the living dead hit the airwaves. Director Jason decides that all most be documented, so he spends the majority of the film attached to the camera, despite the distress of his friends or the dangers they come across as they travel by Winnebago towards every one's respective homes.

Romero's films are usually works of social commentary, and this is no exception. In fact, it's so much so that I felt almost battered by it. Whether it was the voice over of the 'documentary' or the peculiar platitudes of the characters, I was left thinking over and over again "OK, I get it! On with the story please!"

And oh, did I mention this line:

"It used to be us vs. us. Now, it's us vs. them. But they are us."

Moving on... I found that the acting looked like acting (it's not suppose to btw) and the dialogue ranged from clunky to just plain silly. The characters were fairly unlikeable and completely incompetent, except that they were all pretty good shots with that handgun one of the character's happened to be carrying that apparently had the biggest clip ever!

Now this is a zombie movie so I should talk about the kills and the gore, which though fairly infrequent were imaginative and even shocking at times, so at least there's that...?

Bottom line, I went in with only moderate expectations, and even though everyone loves Romero, the lovable grandfather of our collective zombie apocalypse, I have to say that this time's he's struck out big time. :(

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Strangest unintentional double feature

Today, at separate theatres, I'm watching these two films:

Just thought I'd point that out.

Friday, February 8, 2008

IN BRUGES review

Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Bredan Gleeson) are a couple Irish hitmen hiding in the picturesque town of Bruges (it's in Belgium ya know) until they hear from mob boss Harry, (stunt casting provided by Ralph Fiennes) as it seems their last hit didn't go as planned. Ken is more than happy to sightsee along the canals and medieval buildings, but Ray is wound up way too tight to play tourist in "fucking Bruges!". Soon enough we get assault and battery, drug use, gun play, hookers, double crosses, and a dwarf... but hey, the town is really a fairy tale wonderland!

There's promise here as a black comedy, the writing is clever and appropriately not politically correct, but the overwrought dramatic sequences just don't mesh with the rest of the film. Colin Farrell does a good job as the twitchy and not too bright Ray, and Gleeson is great (as he always is) as the philosophical killer who has no delusions about his actions. Perhaps the real problem is that we've all seen this before, except the scenery is nicer than in a Guy Richie film.

Oh, and there's some great cursing :/

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Insert WAY TOO OBVIOUS Woody Allen joke

New York Post says:

February 7, 2008 -- Scarlett Johansson has a steamy lesbian sex scene with Penelope Cruz in Woody Allen's upcoming "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." A source tells us: "It is also extremely erotic. People will be blown away and even shocked. Penelope and Scarlett go at it in a red-tinted photography dark room, and it will leave the audience gasping." The women later have a threesome with Javier Bardem, who plays Cruz's husband.

Like chum in the waters of the blogosphere, this story has given movie bloggers the opportunity to post their favourite pictures of Johansson and Cruz, as well as drool over the idea of two girls kissing each other. What first struck me about this article was that this supposed scene will be both steamy AND also extremely erotic. How could it possibly be both?!?

steam·y : /ˈstimi/ Pronunciation Key - [stee-mee]
–adjective, steam·i·er, steam·i·est.

1. consisting of or resembling steam.
2. full of or abounding in steam; emitting steam.
3. covered with or as if with condensed steam: a steamy bathroom mirror.
4. hot and humid.
5. Informal. passionate or erotic.

Anyways... it's hard for me to be excited about a new Woody Allen project, since the only film of his that I've liked in the last 10 years was MATCH POINT. For the sake of reference, here are pictures of some of the cast.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Cautiously locate your nearest exit

Get off the subway at the next stop.

RUN RUN RUN the fuck outta there!

*Pics swiped from Shock Tlll You Drop

Friday, February 1, 2008

...unless you really need to...

I think this speaks for itself!