Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Rocketeer

Posted by Jose On June - 14 - 2011

We’re a month away from the release of Captain America: The First Avenger and currently in the middle of a comic book adaptation renaissance. And if fortune couldn’t smile upon us comic fans any further, we have a rare opportunity to look back at a time when adaptations weren’t money in the bank. It’s time to take a look back at a time when director Joe Johnston directed a movie based on a comic hero taking on the Nazi menace that wasn’t Captain America. Today we  look  at his first effort… The Rocketeer. Does it hold up today? Does it honor the comic it was based on? Does looking at this make you feel confident about his next film?

The film centers around Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who relies on his best friend/mechanic Peevy and his girlfriend Jenny to get him through the day, that is until he finds an experimental rocket pack.

Half the fun of this movie is seeing Cliff learn how to use the rocket pack. A pilot by trade, Cliff’s expertise is learning to control a piece of machinery to fly through the air. Once he puts on the rocket pack he is the machine. And through the use of visual effects and the score by James Horner, when Cliff puts on the rocket and first takes flight, you believe it even when he crash lands in mud.

The other fun half of this movie? The villains. Where as a film of this nature would give you one villain for our hero to overcome, this film gives you three! We have Eddie Valentine played by Paul Sorivino. Valentine’s a mobster whose gang is hired to steal the experimental rocket pack. As world famous actor of the silver screen, Timothy Dalton plays Neville Sinclair who is, in reality, a Nazi. Aiding his boss’ agenda is the deformed henchman Lothar. While Valentine and his goons seem to be a Maguffin simply to get the rocket to where Cliff is, both Sinclair and Lothar all the more enjoyable by the fact they’re based in some reality. Neville Sinclair’s character is a nod to the rumor that  Errol Flynn, star of stage and screen might have had ties to the Nazi party. Lothar’s physical appearance is a loving tribute to Rondo Hatton, B-movie star.

Like most movies at the time, the superhero alter-ego was usually saved for one big battle towards the end, and this film is no exception. The name “Rocketeer” is an invention of the newspapers when Cliff first puts on the helmet to save a friend in an air show earlier in the film. As the film progresses and Cliff realizes the importance of keeping the rocket out of the Nazi’s hands and eventually the Rocketeer comes through.

The cast is pretty good considering it was a lesser known character. You buy Billy Campbell as a young man who has the best of intentions but keeps screwing up. Alan Arkin as Peevy is very much an Alfred/Q character but the friendship he has with Cliff seems genuine, almost fatherly. Of course Jennifer Connelly is a knockout in this film as Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny. In a role that could’ve been nothing more than a damsel in distress, Connelly gives Jenny ambition. She’s a college girl with aspirations of becoming an actress.  But Timothy Dalton steals the show. His portrayal of a suave, charming actor hiding a dangerous secret is so hammy and over the top you can’t help but love it.

Before Jennifer Connelly set the record for playing females with issues, she was just a damsel in distress

Sadly, the film is considered to be something of a punch line considering how badly it bombed against expectations. It had to compete with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers and of course, Terminator 2: Judgment Day; given the competition, it was no wonder the film didn’t perform as well as Disney would have hoped. And this is the biggest tragedy of this film. It’s so fun you wish it would have done better to see the story continue.

Another problem the film has is that it was part of a wave of failed pulp hero films that tried to start franchises. With the success of Tim Burton’s Batman, everyone wanted to try the superhero bandwagon. But with effects being what they were at the time and licensed characters being harder and harder to come by due to legal issues, Hollywood started mining lesser known characters. It started with The Rocketeer and continued with films like The Shadow, The Phantom and finally The Mask of Zorro. Although, to be fair, Zorro’s film made money and was a moderate success. All of these movies were fun films to see with the family, but sadly not enough families went to see them.

Strangely, twenty years after The Rocketeer, director Joe Johnston will release another film about a young man who dawns a costume to take on the Nazi menace. Okay, so instead of calling them Nazi’s it’s Hydra and instead of a rocket pack, the main hero has a shield, but the coincidence is staggering. Looking at The Rocketeer, it gives The Captain America film more of a hopeful vibe. Johnston knows how to incorporate action and a sense of wonder to the nineteen-thirties setting. This time he has a bigger budget and a more well known character, so time will tell if it’s a bomb or not. But, when July hits and you go to the theatre to see Captain America: The First Avenger, why not check out his first attempt to tackle the superhero genre. In fact, do it as a double feature. You’ll be pleased with the results.

The Rite

Posted by ron On May - 30 - 2011

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I mailed in yet another performance for a buck.

The son of an Undertaker tried to scam the clergy for free education but ended up getting more than he bargained for when he interned with an exorcist. The Rite was the perfect cinematic instrument of faith that served as an entertaining commercial for joining the ministry of faith. While it was based off a true story, battling demons had little to do with one’s relationship with God but it most certainly sold an entertaining lifestyle of traveling to Rome, taking classes in the apple store looking Vatican classrooms, and fighting demons under the Tuscan sun.

As the reluctant protagonist, Actor Colin O’Donoghue was more form than function. Taking the cloth to the GQ extreme, his pretty boy cynicism was an easy sell but he undersold the transition to a reluctant believer. Hiring established thespians, Anthony Hopkins, Rutger Hauer, and Toby Jones to serve, as lynchpins didn’t hurt either in trying to make the film more appealable. However, their roles are foreplay to the center of the story, which has to little do with faith and has more in common with the prequel to the Exorcist.

Converting the cynic is nothing new but the story telling and acting was fresher in 1408.

Jan Mikael Håfström, director of 1408, tried to tell a tale about the trouble in men’s souls but there’s just too much eye candy between O’Donoghue and Alica Braga. Like any story based off truth, too many distractions from Michael Kovak’s relationship with his father ended up making the story cliché on top of being formulaic. The camerawork repetitive and effects nothing of the extraordinary. In essence, there’s just not enough material in the Rite to substantiate it as a movie. Hence, there’s not enough to write about the Rite.

The Rite rates as a beer with no defining characteristics that would make you want to order another any time soon.


Where's my straw goddam it?



Posted by ron On May - 26 - 2011

Stephen Dorff struggles with anhedonia when his loving daughter Cleo is forced to live with him.

You’re rich, you’re repulsive beyond the crap you sell but do I know you?

As self-serving salesmen, today’s media seems to be focused on selling a lifestyle of Kentucky fried manic behavior but beyond the camera would most of America bite if celebrities really led monotonous, disconnected lives? Drawing upon her life experiences of living out of a hotel and traveling with her father, director Sofia Coppola captured the intimacy and existentialism of celebrities living normal monotonous lives in the movie Somewhere.

A script that relies on timing vague emotional nuances.

No stranger to growing up in Hollywood, Dorff played a crazed director in Cecil B. Demented.

Centered around the under utilized Stephen Dorff, he played Johnny, an actor who suffered from anhedonia. He didn’t get pleasure from anything until his daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning showed up at his doorstep. Caught up in the break out role he played in, he has to come to terms with his cell phone barking commands on where to go, how to be, and who to meet to continue his career. Clearly not comfortable with his Hollywood image, Johnny battled depression and hateful text messages that might or might not be delusions.


Lost in Translation displayed Sofia Coppola's strengths, the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Existentialism is the new religion in an age where people think of lifestyle first, salary second.

Coppola’s strengths are not in dialogue but in capturing emotion in very spatial intimate areas. In extended shots of silence, the audience has very little to work with but there’s an overwhelming sense of wondering what the character was thinking as time elapses. Every character was thinking something in the hotel but carrying on as if nothing was wrong. When the emotions do bubble up to the surface, it’s an awkward moment down to how it’s shot. The audience wasn’t even sure if that’s the right way to resolve the problem but Coppola did a great job at making it anti-climatic. People do not often carry on making a spectacle out of their problems. These conundrums of problems that every one acknowledges exists but does not react openly are a quality that she has made into an art form.

How to make a film most people won’t understand

For audiences who don’t like to work or feel uncomfortable in extended shots of silence, Somewhere might be a movie that came off pretentious. Therein lies the detached state of existence in LA and more specifically Hollywood. In that sense, Somewhere succeeded because individual will express their judgments regardless. The real question is how do the judged feel about living in own skins?


Somewhere rates as a fine wine, aged to perfection without any extraverted tasted but subtle with character.


Four loko latte' wha?



The Goonies

Posted by ron On May - 24 - 2011

Like tourists attempting to decipher the MTA Subway map, Mikey & the Goonies try to read a Pirate treasure map that has baffled experts for decades.

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis was solved in 1985

Their small town on the verge of foreclosure, kids race against time in hopes of uncovering buried pirate treasure in order to save not only their community but also their childhood. In 1985, Goonies was the greatest pirate adventure for kids. Inspired by the Errol Flynn era of swashbuckling, writers Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus managed to create a modern adventure that incorporated a childhood sense of wonder with Pirate legends but more importantly a sense of naïve desperation and motivation to these characters.

A Roller Coaster ride not meant to top itself but to ensure you had a good time

Director Richard Donner delivered a theme park ride that was one part Indiana Jones, one-part Pirates of the Caribbean, and two parts local water slide. The level of special effects weren’t just dated but vintage. It still served as part of the film’s charm even 26 yrs later. The look made the sets atmospheric but didn’t make the audience question the sense of sending kids to brave lethal booby traps and murderous criminals. It was supposed to be a fun film for kids despite having a use for a murderous Frattelli family as the main antagonist.

Not Quite the Brat pack of the 80s but more like the Outsiders

Anne Ramsey's scowls and brutal honesty delivered some of the biggest laughs

The youthful talents of Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jonathan Ke Quan, and the infamous Corey Feldman nurtured the script by delivering playful laughs. The audience had to be on board because there was a selling point for going through all this trouble to risk their lives without telling their parents. Like so many films in the 80s caricatures of jocks, geeks, and cheerleaders wore typecast outfits as part of a design. There’s even a mutant that somehow fit into the act. The film manipulated the audience but it retained the Spielberg value of nonjudgmental childhood naivety and compassion. At the bottom of a well, “Mikey” Walsh, played by Astin delivered the film’s geeky inspirational speech that served as the defining moment of the film. Like those flamboyant and bold buccaneers, they were outcasts as well. Despite all their geeky differences they accepted each other for who they were. Not even deadly booby traps and a bank were going to break that bond.

The toughest sell today is not necessarily making an ending happy or sad but a satisfying one

The poster child for pregnancy after age 70, Chunk was the last fail safe plot device in case you didn't get the point of the movie.

Like most 80s films, Goonies was a product of its time. The good guys won, the bad guys were punished, and no one was hurt. The film ended on a high note as it was designed to deliver entertainment. Hopefully, the audience understood that there’s a heart to this film that continues to make it revered almost 3 decades after it left theaters.

As cliché as it sounds, The Goonies easily rates a generous self-serving bottle of rum.


Where's the goddam Rum?!


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Posted by sean On May - 23 - 2011

Jack Sparrow returns in a new adventure as he sails the seas and treks through jungles in search of the franchise's lost sense of fun.


Disney takes another dip into one of their properties with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which sees the return of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he chases after the Fountain of Youth, and while it’s nice to see the charismatic trickster from the previous trilogy, he barely keeps this latest installment afloat with the burden of a convoluted plot bound together with mediocre action.


Disney sought to scale back on the fourth entry, slashing the budget while trying to get back to the core of what made, at least the first film, a fun, daring adventure.  An understandable approach if they didn’t want to foot the money to top the climatic whirlpool of At World’s End, but the attempt to return the series to its so-called roots leaves the movie seeming like its missing more than an abundance of CGI shots.  From the streets of London to the jungles of the Caribbean, the story follows Jack resuming his search for the Fountain of Youth.  Competing with him are his old enemy, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), under the banner of the British crown; his new nemesis, Blackbeard (Ian McShane), hoping to prolong his wicked life; and the Spanish, who serve little to the tale.  In the midst of all of these paths, On Stranger Tides musters a couple of entertaining scenarios, most notably an attack by ravenous mermaids that utilizes more tension than action to provide the thrills.  Unfortunately, scenes like that display the extent of the film’s creativity while the rest feels uninspired as if while looking at the script, Disney execs kept asking themselves “what can we do that’s cheaper?”


More damaging to the movie is the uneven focus spread over the different characters. Jack Sparrow steps to the forefront as the lead character but proves very quickly how you shouldn’t have too much of a good thing.  His first appearance had him balanced with Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, giving him plenty of screen time to revel in his inebriated nature without wearing out his welcome, but three movies later, his mannerisms are more predictable, and he now has to fill up more runtime with a retread of his usual quips and cons.  Ironically, this additional emphasis on him makes him appear less like the main protagonist.  With no crew and no ship, he has fallen in with the nameless deckhands and is basically just along for the ride.  For once, those who forget to say “captain” before his name aren’t wrong.  On the other hand, the film provides Geoffrey Rush’s alter ego with a new direction for him to explore as a man who has lost the most and is itching to settle a score.  Had the script delved a little deeper into the former foe, this might have been Barbossa’s story with Sparrow working off of him.  Beyond the rivals, Angelica has enough of her own charisma to clash with Sparrow’s, but again, there’s only so little of the 130 minutes to share.  More time with her past with Jack is instead sacrificed for Phillip, a young missionary, and his soap-opera affection for the mermaid, Syrena.  Meant to fill the romantic vacancy left by Bloom and Knightley, their arc garners little interest as Phillip woodenly delivers scripture-like words of adoration to Syrena that only have the power of freezing the film’s pace. Even less buyable is Phillip shouting at Blackbeard about his irredeemable ways, and while Blackbeard has the presence of a formidable villain thanks to McShane’s performance, the script undermines his vile reputation as it leaves the audience wondering why he doesn’t just kill the missionary whenever he opens his mouth.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is more disappointing than bad as it constantly shows signs of what could’ve been a better, tighter installment with the same amount of fun as the first movie, and for that, it is a warm beer.  It may be under the same brand you’ve enjoyed before, but it’s nothing compared to when it was fresh out of the cooler.


Hobo with a Shotgun

Posted by ron On May - 23 - 2011

When a homeless man becomes too big of a problem, a small town mob boss brings in 2 bikers fresh from a Gwar concert

Disgusted by the corruption in a small town, a delusional homeless man romanticized a self-righteous killing spree in order to clean up the filth and safe guard a hooker with a heart of gold. Hobo with a Shotgun epitomized the grind house spirit with a shoestring budget, edgy dark humor, spaghetti sauce quality blood splatters, and a cast of characters without any redeeming qualities. Most importantly, Hobo with a Shotgun completed its course without any hope of a sequel, something that other imitators of this genre can’t commit to because of the potential reward of box office gold.

Could this be the unofficial sequel to Ex-CIA agent Nick Randall after hunting down Malak Al Rahim, played by Gene Simmons of KISS?

Director Jason Eisener followed through with his faux trailer back when Tarantino & Rodriguez’s Grind house double feature debuted in 2007. Tarantino admitted that Grind house was a humbling experience. It’s easy to understand why. Too much refinement loses the point of making a low budget film in the first place The spirit of grind house films was always derived from a handicapped budget generating clever improvisation that promote personality & laughs to win over the audience. In essence, digging deeper can lead to a greater upside. A fan of 70s revenge films and Troma independent films, Eisener succeeded in drawing from his inspiration and producing a film that conjured an impression without blatantly pay homage to them.

While Rutger Hauer lent his star to headline the movie and draw some buzz, it’s the performances of Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman who stole the show as a demented duo with no remorse for their victims. Studying manic behaviors of a young Tom Cruise and Christian Bale, over the top performances were appropriate especially in a facetious scene involving a school bus. A pop culture icon, Rutger Hauer still had a little left in the gas tank. Perhaps, he channeled his 1986 character Nick Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive. Similarly, an unhinged character who also went on a killing spree in search of Gene Simmons who played an Osama Bin Laden-eque character. Yes, a key member of the band KISS did in fact play a militant Muslim leader who for no reason blew up a few random spots in a small downtown area. To add more panache, a pair of scary looking Road Warriors dressed up in a medieval biker outfit dragging a coffin behind them also complimented the cast.

As Hobo with a Shotgun reached its bloody crescendo, the symphony of camp violence prepared the audience well for its final act. In today’s trend towards 3-D IMAX and overpriced tickets, it delivered the same amount of entertainment with modest production value.

Hobo with a Shotgun rates a shot of bourbon for it’s filthy sadistic guilty pleasures and amoral laughs.





The Green Hornet

Posted by ron On May - 18 - 2011

Rogen plays his hand in the Super Hero biz. Unfortunately, it had less to do with crime fighting and more to do with hanging out.

In yet another tale of a bratty rich kid who was manipulated into reaching outside of himself to do some good, the Green Hornet was writer/actor Seth Rogen’s nostalgic tongue in cheek bromance to super heroes. Every super hero is a product of its time and the Green Hornet might be one of those heroes. While Gondry did a solid job updating the psychedelic look and massaging the awkward elements such as a minority manservant, it’s still set in Seth Rogen’s mind of naive LA suburb where drug lords are operating out of strip malls without an illegal Mexican or Asian in sight. It’s clear, Rogen was influenced by the 60s TV show of the Green Hornet but he took Britt to the low brow level of a dense buffoon. Britt never bothered to ask Kato why he’s rigging muscle cars with weaponry or what exactly he was doing for his father. Instead, he throws more money at Kato taking his word that he’s not a Korean drug lord using his dad’s money and company to fund his operation. Obviously all Asians including this writer are truthful and trustworthy right?

Let’s assume that Kato checks out. The bromance was 20 minutes too long with repetitious cool looking gadgets, bonding over beers, and jealously over fighting skills when it should have been spent on building up the nemesis for the Green Hornet, Christoph Waltz’s Bloodnofsky. Waltz did his best to work as a suave gangster without a cool nickname, reputation, or costume but his efforts are wasted. The plot was so shallow, there’s no rhyme or reason why his villainous character was doing what he’s doing.

The challenge of super hero films today caters towards motivations that have to be plausible enough for such an extreme or fantastical execution of a theatrical story. There’s very little to the Green Hornet that would require a pampered clown to get his hands dirty when he could have easily funded someone more competent to take care of the situation. Plot holes the size of the San Fernando Valley made the elaborate shoot out at Britt’s media empire HQ obligatory without any stakes raised. It was at that point the Green Hornet felt more like a theme ride than justice.

Wasted talents of a solid supporting cast and a visionary director rate the Green Hornet as a beer on tap that is drinkable but doesn’t quench my thirst for something fun.



Vampires that don’t Suck

Posted by ron On May - 17 - 2011

Despite a lackluster 14M opening, the disappointing Christ-Fu film known as Priest had me thinking about the recent demise of Vampire genre. It’s in worse shape than the Knicks under Isiah Thomas. Completely unwatchable. Bad scripts from horrible literature seems to be the mainstay. Hence, I felt it was my duty to throw you some recent material that should get you back into why Vampires are cool:

Relying more on suggestion and not beating you over the head, Let the Right One In let the horror creep into your soul slowly yet surely.

The Kids are alright
Let the Right One In shatters two preconceived opinions about vampire films. One, vampire films with kids can’t be taken seriously. Two, vampire films without excessive neck biting can’t work. It was one of the rare cases where the film does the novel justice. See it. Read it. Love it.

Through Pearl, we see the development of America through the eyes of the immortal undead and how it affects her marriage with a mortal and her hated archnemesis, Skinner

Sympathy for the Devil
Unless you’ve been living on another planet, writer Scott Snyder has taken the comic book world by storm in American Vampire. A tale of two different vampires who become undead at two very different times in the America. The reader gains a more intimate story about the changes these characters undergo not only within but also with the relationships they build. The sweeping changes as the characters around the vampires grow older has an interesting subtext. The story is not linear as we begin with the 1920s when Pearl is turned by her maker Skinner but then we see his story when the lawless old West was around. As we move forward in time to World War II, we also learn a little more about the past. Essentially, American Vampire is really about how they have played a significant hand at shaping America without anyone noticing but in a more intelligent, patient, thorough story-telling fashion that is mature and takes the subject matter seriously.

Thirst is a Korean vampire film that wrestles with losing your humanity.

If you saw Old Boy, chances are you familiar with Chan-wook Park’s strong work that challenges your sensibilities and constitution as human beings are pushed to disturbing brink of insanity. Thirst is a brilliant love story involving a priest who gives up his life to be a part of a study that could cure some strain of leprosy. He dies but is reborn with unique abilities not of ordinary human beings. Now, in a new life he’s challenged with trying to retain his humanity as his powers continually torture and tempt him to do things for his betterment.

A desperate man searches to save the woman he loves in a world he doesn't understand

New Blood
Written by Daredevil Noir’s Daniel Freedman, Undying Love is the story about a soldier of fortune who falls in love with a woman who is a vampire but the twist is, this comic book is faithful to the Eastern interpretation of Vampires. They’re not really blood suckers but rather soul suckers. Refreshing to see that not all vampires are not combat machines or stronger than 10 men.

Artist/Filmmaker Tomm Coker is no stranger to vampires. His limited palette but strong graphic visuals also breathed life into DC Vertigo title, Blood & Water about a man dying of a terminal disease presented with a solution with a price.


Unlike the film, there were no real protagonists in the Manga Priest. Just a cursed man on a suicide mission


The Confession

What made the manga Priest such a guilty pleasure to read was the Japanese take on Western culture. Hyung Min-Woo was obviously influenced by The Man with No Name, supernatural, exorcism, and science fiction as this tells the story of Ivan Isaacs who plots revenge for the slaughter of his family by joining an order designed to bring down the 12 fallen angels and Lucifer himself in the old West. Of course, such a multi-faceted book has flashbacks to the order’s origins from the Middle Ages to present day. While the plot falls victim to the “run the gauntlet” video game linear progression, it’s the unique look and intense imagery that is unmistakable and distinct. It’s too bad the movie didn’t utilize any of the same dynamics.





Hope this whets your whistle for vampires again. Till next time,

Where's my straw goddam it?



I Love You Philip Morris

Posted by Greg Butler On May - 15 - 2011

Not your most conventional love story, Russell and Morris find true love in prison

Its Hard for comedic stars to stay relevant through the decades, they may luck out with physical gimmicks (The Pink Panther), or perhaps the weird persona sells it (any “Ernest” films)
If it works, audiences will buy tickets to view the latest bumbling of a somewhat functioning jester. We revel in the behavioral nature of the uninhibited rebel, breaking norms on screen in what we the audiences wish to do off screen.. Silent film actors like Fatty Arbuckle; Charlie Chaplin, even present day Bill Murray, represented the unleashed ids of moviegoers ready to identify with a man/child rule breaker. How long does that last before the comedian wears out his welcome and begins to resemble your grandpa wearing those disco pants you thought he got rid of. Jerry Lewis once disapproved of the Farrelly Brothers” Dumb and Dumber, in particular Jim Carrey’s toilet humor approach of Lloyd, indeed the short cropped hairstyle and awkwardness was in some ways homage to the Lewis’s own geeky character Julius Kelp in the Nutty professor.

Reaching for the lowest common denominator, "Bumblee Tuna" nearly typecast Carey as "the guy who does stupid stuff.."

Lewis summed up his disapproval of the tone of the movie and perhaps Carrey as well. Had he looked a bit thoroughly, he might have picked up Carrey’s choices of bobbing back and forth between low art and better art, from Ace Ventura crudeness to concepts like the very Tex Avery styled The Mask.
Lewis did the reverse or rather stayed the same, continuously playing the same buffoon from previous roles. He was once half the comedy duo of Dean Martin in the late forties before striking out on his own.. but things change, political administrations come and go, economic times go up and down , the caricature of a man -child act can only go so far. This is probably the reason why Lewis’s career stalled in the 60’s and went dead in the 70’s, like the proverbial peter Pan, Lewis never wanted to grow up, Movies like Hardly working only painfully revealed that the times have finally and decisively caught up with him.
And this is where Jim Carrey comes in, veteran of the TV show in Living Color, he branched into the film world, catering first to the college frat crowd with low brow humor but also engaging in more ambitious comedies like the Truman show. Carrey avoids the mistake Lewis made in his career, realizing just in time that burlesque antics eventually wears thin with each generation. So a change was needed if you wanted to stick around a little longer.

Not every thing comes up Michael Jordan in the Number 23.

Carey had some miss-steps along the way. Wanting to be taken seriously, he overplayed his hand in the Majestic, A Capra influenced knock off that gives new meaning to the word maudlin. The Number 23, a semi-horror mystery drama became a mystery on why it was made. Finally taking a page from the Michel Gondry’s film Sunshine of the spotless mind, he may now be finding his niche balancing his unique style with off the wall quirkiness. It’s not the character that’s funny but the situation around him.

Carey creates a caricature of a gay character that anyone who lived through the 80s decade of gluttony can relate to: The pursuit to get Rich fast!

I love you Phillip Morris is the most daring subject yet for Carrey. Based on a true story of a gay con man that gifts his way through life until he finds true love connections with Ewan McGregor, played wonderfully in a gentle doe like performance. With his puppy dog eyes and lilting voice, he makes him a very enticing and literal jailbait that anyone straight or gay would probably fall for. The movie’s protagonist is reminiscence of Spielberg’s film “Catch Me if You Can”, but whereas DiCaprio character was deluding himself of being something he was not, due to lack of family cohesiveness, Carrey’s Steven Russell revel in his con to keep his. If anything the acts of deception by Russell validates the attitudes of economic excess of Reagan-omic indulgence of the 80′s.
There are moments of sweetness that solidify the relationship as in one intermittent scene of Carrey and McGregor slow dancing nonchalantly as Johnnie Mathis‘s Chances are played on, amidst the violent accompaniment of a police shutdown in the next prison cell. The passion and the devotion Russell has in their relationship wasn’t any different than Hawkeye’s declaration of love to Cora in the Last of the Mohicans. Add consistent prison escapes and con jobs gives weight to Russell’s motivations, yes he’s a thief but he’s caring one.
Look we can wonder if Carrey is or isn’t going for Oscar gold with these choices, but I won’t slam him if he tried. After all, everybody wants to stay relevant.

I Love You Philip Morris a beer rates a shot of bourbon.


NMS: Random Thoughts

Posted by ron On May - 8 - 2011

Nursing My Sundays: Random Thoughts

Sorry, Thor was a stronger concept when a Viking God learned from a average looking gimp the concept of not feeling sorry for oneself by helping those who can't help themselves.

Weren’t we all non-comic book fans at some point?
This summer marks the biggest blitz of Comic book adaptations to date. As the adaptations continue to be a mixed bag of source material and modernization, I keep hearing the excuse, “Well this was for the non-comic book fan demographic to make it more accessible.” by critics, random posts, and movie crowds. I’ve collected comic books for the last 25 years and believe it or not, I wasn’t born a comic book fan. What attracted me to comic books was the fact, I was born in downtown Detroit where art was a luxury item. It had no place in a concrete jungle. The local library branch had an art section that was literally one book shelf long. My parents couldn’t afford $50 for one art book. Comic books were the Picasso paintings for the poor. It was less than a $1 but for the uneducated it was more imaginative and accessible than any work of art after the Renaissance. Thanks to the internet, we all have our own updated Encyclopedia Britainnica. So why do we still have to cater to the lowest common denominator?


Believe it or not, the geek community was up in arms before Andrew Glover appeared in that funny show of random pop culture references.

At one point, Nathan Fillion became the random internet guy answer to every comic book casting call.
Comic book super heroes might just be the last vestige of American originality. For anyone who doesn’t believe America has its own culture needs to look no further than the Smithsonian and Comic Cons. If it seems possible Americans have culture shock within their own country. We erect Ferris wheels and over priced steak houses at baseball stadiums. Giants stadium in New Jersey has a mall. Super Heroes have problems like ordinary people to make them more relatable so when Wolverine puts on the butt tight spandex and cerulean blue go-go dancer boots we take him more seriously. Really people?


Knowledge has been replaced by looks at Comic Cons, as who is a comic book enthusiast.

Who are you, Karim Garcia?
On April 14th, Midtown Comics held an open Q&A with the Marvel publishers where a young woman asked the pompous question, “What are you doing to retain your female readers?” Marvel Comics Executive Editor Tom Brevoort replied, “I like to believe we are all comic book fans and don’t subscribe to this race, culture, or sex demographic.” The irony was this young woman had only started reading comic books a few months ago and was passing out her card to her website prior. So if modern story-telling and adaptations are skewed toward the non-comic book fan, how seriously should we take anyone who complained about Wonder Woman’s costume, a black Spider-man, or the absence of secret identities?

Kurt Vonnegut was right. The information age was billed as making things more accessible but it almost seems more exclusive and expensive.
Allegedly the movie adaptations of these comic book characters were supposed to expand readership, meanwhile the cost has escalated to almost $4 for 22 pages. Doesn’t sound to me like Marvel or DC are worried about readership drop off. Ok, so every one seems to think digital was the answer. At 2010 NY Comic Con, DC’s Town Hall meeting an intimate Q&A bitchfest with the fans Jim Lee explained the overly convoluted process to getting comic books digital on time. If you thought print had too many middle men, digital process was so convoluted writers and artists had to finish their story 2 weeks sooner than they would through print. In essence, digital does not save time or money but it is cheaper to the consumer for now. In the long run, it may ruin the market. Now that netflix and itunes has killed off your local record store and video rental spot, you’re their bitch to pay their prices.

Who knew reading 22 pages would be a chore right now? The problem isn't in creativity, it's acuity.

Awaiting the one who will bring balance to the Force
Whether readers like it or not, we have to become smarter consumers but we have to challenge ourselves to be more experimental with story-telling. Learning didn’t end once you left school, it just began. Take a look at Marvel and DC comics, you’ll find a ridiculous amount of Spider-man, Wolverine, Deadpool, Batman, Green Lantern crammed into as many titles as possible. How many titles of the same character do you need to collect? How many of the same regurgitated remakes do you need to pay $14 when you could rent the original for less than half the price? Who cares about updates, we can do that in our minds. What happened to not being afraid to try something new?

See you next Sunday,



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About Me

Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief



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