Monday, January 28, 2008

updated template...

lost all comments....
counter thing-y gone, too...
oxygen low....
running out of time...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ignorance is bliss

I didn't know who John Gibson was until a few days ago. Now I do. What a dick.

I can't say it would surprise me if nothing was done about this. Fox news: ignorance and hate.

MUSIC: beirut: the penalty

Friday, January 25, 2008


This is obligatory, so here we go:

I'm calling Picture and Director for No Country for Old Men.

The three best movies I saw this year were No Country, There Will Be Blood, and Zodiac.

Blood wins for actor.

Julie Christie is my guess for actress, but I'll hedge and say it could go to Cottillard or Linney as well. I haven't seen Juno, and the way it's advertised and put forward decreases my desire to do so. Blanchett does good work, but she didn't get an oscar for playing Elizabeth the first time, and this second film is, by all accounts, a lot worse.

Javier gets a statue, and maybe Cate gets one too. I really don't know about the actresses.

I'm going to go with Paul Thomas Anderson for adapted screenplay, and Tony Gilroy for original. This is the academy throwing a bone to the writer/directors that won't get the big prize.

Persepolis will not beat Ratatouille, but wouldn't it be nice?

If Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova don't get an oscar I will become enraged and possibly overthrow the academy. By the way, a lot of the songs in Once were created originally for this picture.

Taxi to the Dark Side wins documentary.

Also, I would like to mention that if that trailer put you in the mood for Czech, this is a good place to soak up some of that culture and actually understanding it.

Also, while I'm out linking stuff all over the place, let me mention someone I'm in love with who has things to say that are not all about movies.

MUSIC: What's the best album of the year? The first track is

25 January 2008

Certainly yes us, uh huh sir!


: The most original thing about it is that it doesn't star Sandra Bullock. Original

Rambo: One of the working titles Rambo IV: In the Cobra's Eye. Trailer appears to involve Stallone punching a man's head off. Not Original.

How She Move: So is the poor grammar in the title part of the formula for the atrocious "urban dance" genre? Is anyone else offended at all? My friends, we've all been served. Original.

Meet the Spartans: This film wants me to create a new category just for it. It isn't just unoriginal, it is metaunoriginal. This is atrocious. Unoriginal.


The Air I Breathe: Yes! There's now even less degrees separating Idi Amin from Scooby Doo in six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Ghost Dog costars with Sarah Michelle Gellar who costars with a CG dog (though not, I think, in this movie). Original.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days: Romanian period piece about the trials of illegal abortion in the tail end of the mother-worshiping Ceausescu era. Pregnancy is an unusually popular topic in movies recently, but this one doesn't appear to be aiming for laughs. Original.

Shootdown: Documentary about the Cuban military shooting down two American civilians in small planes attempting to aid people crossing to Florida. Original

Alice's House: Brazilian marital strife. Details are hard to find. If I lived anywhere near where this one's playing I'd probably see it just to protest the idea that no one wants to see it. By all accounts there're several good performances here. Original

Elite Squad: Another Brazilian picture. This one is about a street war to clear drugs and gangs out of Rio's slums before a visit from the Pope. For some reason the translated title made me think of 21 Jump Street. Based on a novel by André Batista. Not Original

Lost in Beijing: Romantic and sexual entanglements (not the same as bondage. calm down) in Beijing. The film is banned in China and the filmmakers are prohibited from making another movie for two years. Though it probably shouldn't, that makes me want to see it more. Original.

The Score:

week: 7-3
year: 18-6

Once again the limited releases save the day. The score for this week, if adjusted to represent everything Meet the Spartans "spoofs" would be, as near as I can tell, 7-12.

Topics on the IMDB message board for one of the Spartans directors:
-Goddammit, dude.
-Somebody kill this person

EDIT: Roger Ebert has informed me that Mad Money "is actually a remake of a 2001 TV movie... Britain's Granada made it about a team of cleaners who pull the same scam on the Bank of England. Two character first names are the same (Bridget and Jackie), but the last names of the Keaton and Danson characters are changed from Watmore to Cardigan." I am updating the count here and last week.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dear Durham-Chapel Hill DOT,

I know it doesn't snow very often here, but occasionally there is a threat. The south is ill-prepared for snow, so read carefully.

I am a snow repellent.

I spent a winter in the Czech Republic, and we never saw more than three or four inches. The next year I checked. That town saw more than a foot of snow fall on more than two occasions. In 40 hours, at one point, more snow fell than in the entire previous winter.

The next winter I lived in Cincinnati, OH. According to wikipedia, Cincinnati averages 16 inches of snowfall per year. While I was in residence, we got about 3.

Consider yesterday. You guys were calling for 3-5 inches of snow. What did we actually get? A car coating of above-freezing crap. This is likely to be the norm for as long as I live here, so I propose that it is in your best interest to keep me here.

Here is the way to ensure I keep the snows at bay: pay me $500 a week. Does it cost more than that to trust to the forecasts and brine and salt all those streets? I think not. And don't think that the benefit can be had for free. You never know when I'll decide to move to some other random place (see dwellings for last 4 years: Asheville, Cullowhee, Brno, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Chapel Hill), and that would leave you all unprepared and unprotected from a massive snow storm. Your complacence during my residency would leave you devastated and unprepared.

So if you want all the "winter weather events" to be as tame and pathetic as the most recent one, I suggest putting me on the payroll. Otherwise, I might just travel away. Snow will blanket this place is my absence just to spite me. It's my curse.


J. Vernon Johnson, esq.

Friday, January 18, 2008

18 January 2008

let's do this thing.

Opening Wide:

Cloverfield: It looks like The Blair Witch meets Godzilla but by god that's original enough. Plus, Blair Witch would have been a lot more enjoyable if Godzilla had shown up at the end, though Godzilla stick figures would have been tough to fabricate (especially with short, clawed dinosaur arms). It's worth noting that one of the most secretive movies in recent memory still screened for critics. If Abrams hush-hush whale-monster can be screened for critics then it's official: not screened = terrible. Original

27 Dresses: Having been knocked up since June, Heigl has apparently been trying like crazy to get hitched before illegitimacy sets in. At the bottom of the shotgun wedding barrel, Cyclops. He also played John Wilkes Boothe in Zoolander. Derivative as hell, but it counts as original.

Mad Money: A movie that, it appears, could actually be improved if Jim Cramer showed up and screamed at the entire cast. Aside from the overarching joke of Diane Keaton doing a movie about doing absurd, stupid things for money (Mama's Boy, Because I Said So), this seems bereft of comedy. Scratch that: there's a joke about robbery and ticket prices and movies that suck. It's not worth making. Original, I guess.

EDIT: Roger Ebert has informed me that Mad Money "is actually a remake of a 2001 TV movie... Britain's Granada made it about a team of cleaners who pull the same scam on the Bank of England. Two character first names are the same (Bridget and Jackie), but the last names of the Keaton and Danson characters are changed from Watmore to Cardigan." Not Original.

Opening Limited:

Teeth: Teenage sex comedies are a dime a dozen. What sets this one apart? Vagina Dentata. I wish I were joking. Original

Cassandra's Dream: As original as O Brother Where Art Thou, in that both are old Greek stories that have been reimagined by excellent writers/directors. I am inclined to call this one original despite the apparent adherence to the myth on which it's based. Discuss. Original

Taxi to the Dark Side: Documentary about what bastards we are. Afghanistan prisons and failures of American Coalition security. Original.

Day Zero: The draft is reinstated, and Uncle Sam wants Elijah Wood. Despite the beard and war overtones, no ring is believed to be involved. Original.

The score:
Week: 6-1
Year: 11-3

It would appear that a good week for originality does not mean a good week for film going. Luckily, There Will be Blood is opening up the street from me. It's on my bucket list.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Amanda's reaction upon watching her first Lars von Trier film:

"If that's your world view, why even bother to make a film? Why not just kill yourself? Why doesn't he just jump off a fucking cliff?"

11 January 2008

This week is the first of the year with more originals (or any).

Opening wide this week:

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: Why is the name so cumbersome? Well, there are two reasons. 1) Director Uwe Boll is a horrible filmmaker with no sense of the appropriate. 2) The name of the video game on which it is based (Dungeon Siege) had to be inserted into the title. There does not appear to be a dungeon in the film, but the presence of Ray Liotta suggests there was some threat of imprisonment afoot during the casting process. Not original.

First Sunday: If only using a day of the week in the title and casting Ice Cube qualified this film as a Friday remake. This is, for the purposes of score keeping, original. It is, however, clearly dreadfully unoriginal. Also, it was shot in Baltimore.

The Bucket List: "I know what stomach cancer looks like. I've seen it, and you don't eat three cheeseburgers a day with french fries when you got it." Or probably go on whirlwind sky diving adventures. Absurd and preposterous, but I guess it's original.

The Pirates Who Don't do Anything: A VeggieTales movie: Why is the name so cumbersome? Well, there are two reasons. 1) Director Mike Nawrocki is a horrible filmmaker with no sense of the appropriate. 2) The name of the bible-y video series on which it is based (VeggieTales) had to be inserted into the title. Not Original.

Opening limited:

The Grand: Improvisational picture about a poker tournament starring David Cross and Woody Harrelson and Dennis Farina and Shannon Elizabeth and Michael McKean and Werner Herzog. It is original, and most likely not playing near you.

Running with Arnold: Documentary on Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign. original.

Liberty Kid: 9-11 cost you your job? You could always join the army... or deal drugs. Original.

The Business of Being Born: Documentary about the controversies of natural childbirth "are explored through intimate footage of several couples and their birthing experiences" ( Thanks Ricki Lake. Original.

The Score:
week: 5-2
year: 5-5

note: 5 original films, but 3 are playing in two or less cities. My number-writing choices are inconsistent.

Friday, January 04, 2008

4 January 2008

It seems like fewer and fewer original movies get made, but I haven't really been keeping track. In the new year, I will make an effort to keep track. Hence the rechristianing.

It will work thusly: Every Friday I will list the releases for the week and call them original or not. I foresee a need for another category or two, but I'll tackle those when appropriate.

Not Original would include anything based on a book or play or real life (except for documentaries) as well as any sequels or remakes.

If there happen to be any sequels to remakes (Cheaper by the Dozen 2) or sequels to metasequels (Alien vs. Predator: Requiem) this year, they will be in the super derivative category.

Also, original movies that are based around other films or pop culture (the upcoming Be Kind Rewind) could bring about the creation of a fourth category. We'll keep up with it like a win-loss ratio. I suspect it will be a very bad year for originality.

Atonement: based on a novel by Ian McEwan.

One Missed Call
: Remake of the Japanese film Chakushin Ari. Even if this weren't a remake, the "phone call kills you" premise seems like an unpleasant hybrid of The Ring and Scream, which might qualify it for "not original" all the same.

The Killing of John Lennon: Not a documentary. Not original.

The Score: 0-3 (Miami good)

note: All films getting a full release in 2008 will be considered (Atonement) as well as any film getting its first release in 2008 (which is why the 2006 Japanese film A Bloody Aria is getting no attention here despite it's limited release today).