Posts filed under ‘Guest Review’

Sunset Blvd. (guest)

MOVIE:  Sunset Blvd.

GUEST:  Sues 57

NUTSHELL:  Out of work Hollywood writer, Joe Gillis, trying to save his car from the repo guys, stumbles on a seemingly deserted mansion on Sunset Blvd. Only it’s not deserted, but occupied by the former darling of the silent era: Nora Desmond. She’s lonely, he’s broke, the fun starts.

GOOD THINGS:  Preceded Altman’s The Player as the ultimate movie “insider” flick, Norma Desmond’s now-famous campy craziness, Erich Von Stronheim as her long suffering butler, Jack Webb (a.k.a. Sgt. Joe Friday) as a menschy Jewish Asst. Director, William Holden’s noirish narration, cameos by Cecil B. DeMille and Buster Keaton, and on and on…

BAD THINGS:  New Years Eve party were everyone is supposed to be young and super hip, the fifties jokes sound pretty dated. Nora pulling Joe (Holden) into the sack (creepy, but fascinating in a nasty way.) William Holden NEVER looked “young.”

FEATURES:  Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olsen, Jack Webb

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Holden and Nancy Olsen’s “cute” conversations – really bad for such a good movie

NOTABLE:  Has had a successful run as a musical

BEST PART:  Norma coming down the stairs, of course, any scene with Max, the butler

BEST LINE:  Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close up.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Fargo (guest)

MOVIE:  Fargo

GUEST:  The Lovely Venus Infers

NUTSHELL:  Joel and Ethan Coen’s magnum opus about a loser car salesman (or am I being redundant?) who hires two even bigger losers to kidnap his wife so her father will pony up the dough for the ransom, the lion’s share of which Loser # 1 plans to keep WITHOUT his father-in-law OR the two thugs knowing! Needless to say, things go bad, bad wrong and people start dying at an alarming rate. Savvy/chirpy/pregnant police chief takes on the case, has drinks with an old high school chum and eats half of Minnesota and North Dakota.

GOOD THINGS:  Carter Burwell’s haunting soundtrack, Mr. Mohra!, quite possibly the funniest hookers in the country, Norm Gunderson the duck painter, best use of “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” ever, Mike Yanagita!, such inspired acting and directing that you discern things about characters who don’t even appear in the movie (Watch how Jean Lundegaard handles her father at the dinner table and you immediately understand her mother.), the best kid actor ever (Tony Denman as Scotty Lundegaard), The “Accordian” King poster!

BAD THINGS:  It sure looks COLD.

FEATURES:  Frances McDormand, my favorite actress in the world, William H. Macy, Harve Presnell, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrud, cameo appearance by Bruce Campbell (hint: watch the TV in the cabin), John Carroll Lynch, Steve Park, Jose Feliciano, miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles, and it’s not even Texas!

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Okay, I felt a little weird laughing at Mike Yanagita’s North Dakota accent, because I KNOW there have to be SOME Japanese Americans in North Dakota, and they must talk like everybody else, right? But the cognitive dissonance makes me laugh, and I’m sure

NOTABLE:  Shep Proudfoot beating the crap out of an entire apartment block of people, pancakes house, Steve Buscemi’s Carl Showalter who likes the woman astride position a LOT, Mr. Mohra!, poor Lou – the dumbest cop in cinematic history, nightcrawlers in a sack!, a

BEST PART:  I know this will sound demented, but Marge waking Norm up just to tell him she’s turning in absolutely slays me every time I see it.

BEST LINE:  “Hon? Prowler needs a jump!” –   “Oh, for Pete’s sake, he’s fleein’ the interview! He’s fleein’ the interview!”   – “You see anything down there, Margie?” “Nooo, I just think I’m gonna barf.”  – “So! You were havin’ sex with the little guy!”  – “Well, Ecklund and Swedlin’s, that’s closer to Moose Lake, so I just made that assumption.”  – “Aw, Norm, ya got Arby’s all over me!

CROWNS:  5 out of 5 and a big helping of lefse!

May 11, 2011 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

Driving Lessons (guest)

MOVIE:  Driving Lessons

GUEST:  ScotWest

NUTSHELL:  Rupert Grint is a repressed young man with the soul of a poet and the head of Carrot Top. Under the tutelage of a has-been soap star with a mania for drunken camping (Julie Walters), Rupert escapes his uptight, adulterous, pajama-fancying evangelical Christian mother, discovers a love of booze and tents and oversexed, helium-voiced Scottish women, drives around on a lot of two-lane roads, looks extremely pissed and pucker-mouthed while wearing a eucalyptus tree costume, tells a teen supermodel to “fuck off,” writes some crappy poetry, and looks pensive as he handles the ignition key of a Volvo moments after it was evacuated from the bowels of a septuagenarian.

GOOD THINGS:  The music, Julie Walters, Rupert’s ability to use his fish-like lips to express various forms of angst, the rustic scenery, the shots of Edinburgh, British people being amusingly repressed

BAD THINGS:  A little too much repression, Julie Walters with puke in her hair, the elderly, non-verbal transvestite, the whole scene where Julie arouses religious ecstasy in a church full of women by “talking” the lyrics of various popular songs like William Shatner on the “Transformed Man” album.

FEATURES:  Birdcalls, kilts, sheep, pajamas, camping equipment, gardening, bicycles, tree costumes, bible pageants, repression, attempted assassination by car, vaguely implied adultery, strongly implied deflowering, and lots and lots of close-ups of Rupert’s orange, puckered head

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Mom (Laura Linney) and her frequent habit of hanging around her son’s room in her pajamas, the old man eating squash, a couple of moments that look like they’re going to veer uncomfortably close to “Harold and Maude” territory before backing off.

NOTABLE:  Rupert actually manages to carry his half of the movie. But he’s got a face made to look stupefied, morose, or pissed-off, so he’s either going to have to pick his projects very carefully, or learn three or four new facial expressions.

BEST PART:  Sadly, I can’t think of any. I did laugh at a number of lines that nobody else in the theater seemed to think was funny, but I think it was less the lines and more the repressed way they were said.

BEST LINE:  The poem Rupert insists on reading to the evangelical teen supermodel, because it’s not often that you hear a tender love sonnet dedicated to a freakishly tall girl climax with the poet talking about his “meat.” Also, it’s the least repressed moment in the film that didn’t involve puking, vicars lustily reproducing birdsong, or running someone over with a car.

CROWNS:  3 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Daredevil (guest)

MOVIE:  Daredevil

GUEST:  Nathan Arizona

NUTSHELL:  After an accident blinds Hell’s Kitchen street urchin Matt Murdock while endowing him with super powers, he sets out to fight for the downtrodden, whether as a lawyer representing down-on-their luck clients, or as maroon leather jumpsuit-wearing martial arts ass-kicker Daredevil. Oh yeah, and some bad guys killed his dad, but that goes without saying.

GOOD THINGS:  Jennifer Garner and leather halter tops, Kevin Smith cameo, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan as “The Kingpin,” the Kingpin’s wardrobe

BAD THINGS:  Casting Joe Pantoliano as the reporter was kind of a waste. Couldn’t they have found something more interesting for him to do? If you’re going to use wires so your actors can jump from rooftop to rooftop without having to use stunt people or CGI, that’s great, but try and be more realistic — instead of flying Jennifer Garner in for a soft landing, have her thud loudly into the roof. Her character can’t fly like Superman, you know.

FEATURES:  Jon Favreau, David Keith, Joey Pants, Stan Lee cameo, Oh yeah, and Ben Affleck

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Bullseye’s plane ride

NOTABLE:  A lot of Marvel Comics in-jokes. I didn’t realize I was that much of a comics nerd.

BEST PART:  Matt Murdock pulls the ol’ switcharoo on his law partner before going to hit on Jennifer Garner

BEST LINE:  TIE: “I’m looking for some honey.” and “I want a bloody costume!”

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 10:52 am 1 comment

BRUCE ALMIGHTY * (guest)

MOVIE:  BRUCE ALMIGHTY *

GUEST:  Nathan Arizona

NUTSHELL:  Taking a break from such weighty roles as in “The Truman Show,” “Man on the Moon,” and “The Majestic,” Jim Carrey stretches himself as an actor by giving a rubber-faced, Jerry-Lewis-like performance.

GOOD THINGS:  Morgan Freeman, Steven Carell, Jennifer Aniston, News reporter on-air meltdowns (something near and dear to my heart), Barry White music

BAD THINGS:  Professionally, I’m bothered by the ethical implications of using one’s omnipotence to send colleagues to prison for possession of massive amounts drugs.

FEATURES:  Niagra Falls. The astrophysical implications of drawing the moon closer to the earth. The Buffalo Sabres winning the Stanley Cup?? (If they really wanted to depict an act of God, they should have had the Bills winning the Super Bowl…)

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Bruce tries to use his God power to get his girlfriend to take him back.

NOTABLE:  Astonishingly, this movie features one of the more accurate depictions of a TV news room since “Broadcast News.”

BEST PART:  The butt monkey!

BEST LINE:  Back to you, fuckers!

CROWNS:  4 1/2 out of 5

*(It just works better in all caps) 

May 11, 2011 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

Y Tu Mama Tambien (guest)

MOVIE:  Y Tu Mama Tambien

GUEST:  Mike H.

NUTSHELL:  Two teenage boys take an older woman on a sexually charged road trip through Mexico.

GOOD THINGS:  Three fully-realized characters. Realistic sex for teenage boys — in other words, up, bang, done. That was a great 10 seconds. Picturesque rural Mexico travelogue.

BAD THINGS:  Gay subtext to relationship of two teen boys. They act on the gay thing when they’re both drunk as hell on Tequila. Cuaron wants us to believe (I learn later from an interview) these boys are gay and burying it because their macho culture doesn’t accept such things. In fact these boys are so blotto when they do kiss that they come off as teen boys who are so horny that if they’re drunk enough, even they’d look good to each other.

FEATURES:  No-name cast of Latinos

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Extended shot of boys kissing while the older woman (okay, she’s 28) blows and jacks them.

NOTABLE:  Director Alfonse Cuaron called a French journalist a racist for posing an accusatory question at Cuaron, asking why Cuaron isn’t making movies about Mexico’s downtrodden poor.

BEST PART:  The dirty pool scene. And the jizz in the country club swimming pool scene.

BEST LINE:  “Come inside me. I want to take part of you with me.”

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

Spider-Man (guest)

MOVIE:  Spider-Man

GUEST:  Nathan Arizona

NUTSHELL:  Dorky high schooler Peter Parker gets bitten by genetically enhanced spider and transforms into your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.

GOOD THINGS:  Tobey Maguire, the babe-alicious Kirsten Dunst, cameo appearance by Bruce Campbell (WHAT?!! – Ed.), cameo appearance by Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Willem Dafoe plays the best super-villain since Jack Nicholson’s Joker in “Batman.”

BAD THINGS:  Dafoe in the Green Goblin mask. What’s up with that? Dafoe LOOKS like a goblin, so why hide his features behind a cartoonish mask?

FEATURES:  Kirsten Dunst in a wet, clingy outfit. Teen angst. Lots of CGI action, but the transfer from flesh-and-blood actors and stuntmen to CGI f/x is almost seamless.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  As far as the movie itself is concerned, none. But since it was a sold-out show, I had to sit next to a complete stranger. That kind of creeped me out a little.

NOTABLE:  One of the few movies I’ve been to where people actually broke into applause at the end.

BEST PART:  TIE: Peter Parker uses his newly discovered spider power to turn the tables on high-school bully Flash Thompson and Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s upside-down, rain soaked smooch scene.

BEST LINE:  Don’t mind us. She just needs to use the elevator.

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

See Spot Run (guest)

MOVIE: See Spot Run

GUEST: Midori

NUTSHELL: See Spot Run – Out of the Theater

GOOD THINGS: This “Happy Meal” of a movie is quite possibly the best worst movie I have ever seen. This “tail” is about a kid who wants a dog, an FBI dog on the lam, a mailman who wants the mom of the kid, and bumbling gangsters and FBI agents all chasing each others’ tails. A great no brainer for kids who think people stepping in dog doodie is hysterical.

BAD THINGS: Director Whitesell comes from the cut and paste school of film directing, shooting a cornacopia of reaction shots and piecing them all together in editing (insert Michael Clarke Duncan manic smiling reaction shot here). This movie also has the dubious honor of having the worst kid actor ever in the history of kid actors. I am sure his audition consisted of: Look sad, look surprised, look down (all the same look incidentally). This horrible dud acting (insert pout here) is second only to the Rasberry Award performance of the dog. He doesn’t even fetch balls (pivotal plot point), just stands there and occasionally poops.

FEATURES: Luckily David Arquette suffers from such a terminal case of “Cuteboyitis” that he steals every scene he’s in (which by the way is almost all of them). But, Paul Sorvino and Michael Clarke Duncan, what were they thinking? Easy money and craft service are the only conclusions I could come up with.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: You know it’s bad when you start saying to yourself, “K9 and Turner and Hooch were way better.” – a sentence you never planned to utter in your lifetime.

NOTABLE: You will watch this movie in awe at how unbelievably bad it is and until your face hurts from laughing – but not at the dog doodie. If farts offend you – especially lethal ones from exotic animals – this movie is not for you.

BEST PART: Mailmen breakdancing.

BEST LINE: Paul Sorvino, “Oh, a tomato.”

CROWNS: Do not attempt.

January 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

The Scorpion King (guest)

MOVIE: The Scorpion King

GUEST: Nathan Arizona

NUTSHELL: The Mummy: Episode I: Attack of the Rock. Okay, not really.

GOOD THINGS: It’s only about 90 minutes long. Most of the fight scenes are good, especially the one in the cave during the sandstorm.

BAD THINGS: The script, the direction, and performances, all which fail to take full advantage of The Rock’s potential to be a tongue-in-cheek action hero.

FEATURES: Kelly Hu always almost naked. Michael Clarke Duncan being a bad-assed Nubian king. CGI fireants. Sandstorms. The city of Gamorrah as the evil King Memnon’s home base.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: More than 80 percent of the dialogue.

NOTABLE: The Rock gets at least one chance to do that “People’s Eyebrow” thing he does on Smackdown, Raw, and all those other WWF shows.

BEST PART: The Rock and Michael Clarke Duncan launch into a sword fight and immediately break their swords, so it quickly degenerates into wrestling match, which is what we all really want to see the The Rock do, anyway.

BEST LINE: You mean this movie had a script? Look, I know The Rock has potential. He’s been on Saturday Night Live at least twice and he’s been REALLY FUNNY, but that’s when he has real comedy writers to benefit him. This movie should have been campy fun, like a 90-minute episode of Xena, but instead it comes off as something destined to be lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (if only that show were still on the air).

CROWNS: 2 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Saving Silverman (guest)

MOVIE: Saving Silverman

GUEST: Pink

NUTSHELL: Bunch of dorky dudes are living happily in Dorkdum when Silverman hooks up with some psycho controlling superbitch. The buddies, not happy with Silverman’s announcement to marry Satan, plot to save him.

GOOD THINGS: Jack Black and “Coach.” Psycho-Bitch kicking some dork-ass. Iron Pumping Nuns.

BAD THINGS: Everything else.

FEATURES: Grave robbing, kidnapping, faked deaths, Neil Diamond, Idiots singing Neil Diamond songs, kick boxing, beer bongs, male cheerleaders, circus freaks, homosexuality, chicks in bras, nuns working out to some pop-rap tune, & knee slapping slapstick physical comedy that just flopped right on it’s flabby ass.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: Butt implants and an Indian dude singing Neil Diamond.

NOTABLE: Well, hard to say what was more ‘noteable’ my lack of interest or my ‘date’s’ stupid nasal laugh.

BEST PART: Jack Black kissing R. Lee Ermey, yes, you heard me. The dude from Full Metal Jacket.

BEST LINE: I’m gay.” “Me too.

CROWNS: 2 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm 1 comment

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