Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I never need to see Gene Simmon’s breasts ever again.

John Stamos stars as Lance Star Grove – gymnast, martial arts master, skilled lover. His life is turned upside down when his James Bond-ish father (Ex- James Bond George Lazenby) is killed by a hermaphrodite leader of a post apocalyptic gang (Gene Simmons!). Stamos goes on a mission to figure find out the truth, have a ridiculous sex scene with Vanity, and blow away a dozen Road Warrior henchmen.

Yea, that’s exactly what it is.

There’s nothing particularly ‘good’ about NEVER TOO YOUNG. In fact, expert scientific testimony decla8, it’s ALL BAD. Really Really bad. The story makes zero sense; the direction is flat, and the never ending stream of jokes mind meltingly stupid. Everyone scrapes the bottom of the barrel. Gene Simmons channelling Rocky Horror’s Tim Curry is not a very pleasant sight. Vanity doesn’t even seem to be acting, just reading off cue cards as someone holds a gun to a small child off-camera (Her motivation!). Stamos is the only really fun actor, Even with all this bad...bad...stuff...The film is never...ever... boring. In fact, I’d highly recommend it for a pure blast of putrid fun! It’s the kind of bad that transcends horribleness and becomes a laugh riot to sit through. The tone 80’s comic book tone is perfect, and the weirdly over the top violence is the icing on the cake. It’s the kind of film that has no discernible audience other than Stamos lovers and masochists. Stupidly imaginative, the best description was given by a friend of mine: ‘It’s like the retarded action packed step cousin of Buckaroo Banzai.”


Who the hell thought up the bonkers title for this film? It sounds more like the story of a serial killer (Perhaps religious fueled?) that's going around murdering kiddies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Other Guys (2010. USA)

THE OTHER GUYS doesn’t know what it wants to be. The first half hour works the best as we follow along for a few minutes with two hilarious super cops played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Samuel Jackson. They’re the Hollywood interpretation of law enforcement, while Mark Walberg and Will Ferell are supposed to be the other end of the spectrum, the guys who sit at a desk. The comparison between Hollywood action fiction versus reality is ripe idea (explored hilariously in the classic British HOT FUZZ) but the film doesn’t know if it wants to play it straight or to be a to dabble in a NAKED GUN style absurd fest. It jerks wildly between both, throwing the tone all over the place, missing more than it hits. Sadly, The Rock and Sam exit the picture very quickly and we’re left with people that simply aren’t as fun. Walberg is funny as the quick-to-action tough guy that gets stuck with a button down type (Ferell), but after the first half hour, Marky Mark is relegated to just reacting to Ferell going crazier and crazier – which isn’t very funny. Ferell was once a pimp named Gator! Hilarious!? It’s probably even funnier if they bring it up every two minutes! The plot is gibberish, Steve Coogan is completely wasted, the film sags heavily from the middle onward, never recovers, and ends with a whimper. Listen up parodists, if you want to mock big budget Hollywood action scenes, YOU NEED TO DELIVER THE ACTION. Don’t tease the viewer (As there’s a bunch of cool stunts that do happen) but deliver. We need the explosions, the destruction and the thrill of an action scene. That’s the JOKE. Unless that is you’re presenting it as minimalist take on the reality of police work...which this isn’t. THE OTHER GUYS is a fun concept and cast, squandered by lazy writing and bloated (yet till vacant) execution.

Also, please stop on the modern pop culture references that date themselves as they come out of the actor’s mouth – Jersey Shore? Maroon Five? It may be worth a easy laugh or two, but it just makes everything feel cheap. Who am I kidding? It'll never end.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



The Fear of Criticism.


“Everyone’s a critic” he said with a sneer


A friend asked me why I hate every film once the face of the planet. The statement caught me off guard considering I'm a cinematic consuming nut job.

“I love tons of stuff” I yelped like a hurt five year old.

My friend saw I was about to burst into tears and wanted to avoid making a scene.

“Well, you always LOVE or HATE stuff. There’s no in between.”

Anger bubbled in me. He thought I didn’t know any better. I was just a sap that made snap judgments and stuck by them for no other reason than pride. He thought I was ruled by nothing but emotion.

I jumped on his chest, primal screamed, and ripped his throat out. WITH MY TEETH!



“That’s not true. There are tons of films I don’t LOVE but would recommend to people.”

“But then, why do you always tear everything apart?”

“I...I just... I like to talk about stuff. You know – discuss!”

“You always criticize stuff.”


No one likes that word.

It means you’re saying nothing but hurtful things, smashing the pieces to make fun of them, being a bully because you have a superiority complex.


Bad criticism is saying something is bad. Good criticism is saying what’s good, what’s bad, and how it could have been done better – unless it’s perfect.

Very, very, very, very things are perfect*

There’s GOOD and BAD in everything. I enjoy discussion, breaking things down, and analyzing why something worked or didn’t. I like to build a case. One that has its own logic (internal or external). People can disagree, that’s unavoidable, but an opinion should be solid enough that it can be appreciated, if not agreed with. I'm not going to get into what make a film work or fail miserably, because you have to make up your own mind. If I set it down on paper, I wouldn't even agree with my own criteria sometimes depending on the film. It's all subjective, but it needs to have its own logic**

I can understand how someone can say ‘Well, I liked it...because…well…I just felt it.”, but more often that’s just an excuse to avoid talking about it, not a reason. Some people don’t like discuss stuff. They just want to watch it, read it, listen to it, enjoy it and move on. I don’t like it, but I can respect their wishes, just as long as they don’t start to knock me down if I want to do it.

We live in a society that is terrified of criticism – because with criticism comes the threat that something is at fault – and in a society with school system that cherishes 100%, mistakes are unacceptable. It has to be either perfect or terrible. Instead of dismantling something from a critical perspective, and offering improvements for the next time around, most people chose not to talk about it. If we do have something to say we describe it in the broadest of terms. We cover up our actual critical opinions with “Worst thing I’ve ever seen”, ‘GREATEST THING EVER” or “It’s not a classic or anything...” because those sentences are buffers. They’re just empty buzz phrases intended deflate opinions. No one takes that hyperbole seriously. No one has to worry.

Sometimes, we don’t discuss, but state opinions as fact. THIS SUCKED. THIS ROCKED. YOU’RE WRONG. YOU’RE RIGHT. No changing our minds. We’ve decided something and we forced ourselves stick by it. I find that even worse than being quiet. Just because you’re louder than me doesn’t mean you’re right.

I once got in a fight with someone after I said I thought a film was 'TRASH'. I admitted later on it was a harsh word to use, but I still I listed all the reasons the first word came about. They remained angry, accusing me thinking I know everything, that I was DEFINING the film and saying THIS IS WHAT IT IS. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not a god, I can’t create matter. I can only speak for myself. Opinion is my thoughts. If I say something is ‘awesome’ that’s because I perceive it as awesome – I’m not saying t will be awesome in your eyes. I don’t know everything. I’ve lived a different life than you. My opinion could be different than yours. My opinion can change, I can be convinced, I can double over and admit I was wrong. The trick is to leave the doors open***

Don’t jump to the conclusion, or to the negative, remember it all makes up a whole, but stuff can live independently. Some parts of the cake are tastier than others.

“So...You said one of the supporting characters was bad. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU THE FILM IS A CLASSIC!”

“I thought the cinematography was amazing.

“Yea, but, there’s stuff you didn’t like, so that MUST MEAN YOU HATE IT.

“The story is filled with twists and turn. I really liked the—


It’s easy to paint things in black in white. Shades of grey make things complicated. The world so inundated with information that it’s much easier to rate everything on a number scale or make up your mind on a buzz phrase. Instead of saying “The film didn’t work on a pacing level for me, but I did enjoy the characters” we’d much rather go “IT SUCKED!” We don’t need to be afraid of discussing things. It’s not going to bite us back. It’s just going to make the experience fuller.

Next time you go see a movie – talk about it with your friends. Have a discussion. Don’t be afraid of being a critic. It’s not a bad thing.


P.S: I won’t get into things like “What did you expect? It’s not Shakespeare! All I wanted was ROBOTS FIGHTING!” orr “I enjoy things on nothing but ironic levels.” That’s a dry rant for another day.

*The list of things that are perfect at this moment are Neil Patrick Harris, Shaun of the Dead, and selected works of Terry Pratchett.

** I say this now and await the swarm of people that will say “You always jump to conclusions, like when you said that…”. Yea, none of us are infallible and sometimes we’re lazy. It’s much easier to write it then continually practice.

*** The title of this text is a play on quote from the film ARMY OF DARKNESS - a piece of cinema I LOVE but will be the first to admit is full of crippling faults. Sometimes certain elements superseeds the most basic of cinematic expectations.


The only conceivable way I can see someone hating (with a fiery cheat code fuelled passion) the last volume in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s PILGRIM saga is if they never liked the series in the first place. FINEST HOUR is not going to change anyone’s mind about the series. Scott does not get cancer and spend 200 pages slowly dying. It delivers more of the same - hilarious comedy, visual gags up the wazoo and some kick ass video inspired fight scenes.

Oh, and the story wraps up and stuff.

No plot synopsis. Load up the old SAVED GAME.

O’Malley seems to have second guessed everyone’s prediction of ‘Who is Scott going to end up with!?” as he takes the time to cycle through every character and why they aren’t right for him.

Not only do we get that, but O’Malley actually throws a curveball of character development into the mix. Scott, who’s always been blissfully ignorant of the world around him, actually...dare I say it...grows as a person? An Not in a cheap way either, but a way that’s organic, and logical to everything that’s happened to him.

The book’s climax takes up a good half of the page count, and while it feels a little long, it gives every major character the series has seen a chance to pop in and make an appearance. Scott’s-Ex Envy Adams actually plays a pretty big role here and I really enjoyed how the little moments from the past books came to play in the last one.

If you were wondering the answer is...Yes. I was surprised by who he ended up with, but it never felt cheap.

The book never pretends to offer finality. Life is in constant flux. Nothing is EVER static and the only way we can ever keep going is not by erasing our past, but letting it bleed into the present, and affect our future.

Even if getting to that point means fighting your evil Nega-Doppledanger.

Go read it now.


“You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

Inception is clever, solidly constructed heist film that is well paced, has a great ensemble and is technically impressive. It just wasn’t mind blowing.
I wanted to be WOWED. I wanted to shiver at the awesomeness that was happening on-screen. I wanted to have a big giant grin forced onto my face...and that never happened.

The film is about a team of idea extractors led by a man named Cobb (Leanardo Dicaprio) that take attempt to perform an INCEPTION – putting an idea in a subject’s mind in a certain way that makes them believe that they formulated the idea themselves.

I was involved with what was going on, it was exciting, but I was never completely wrapped up. Director/Writer Christopher Nolan’s injects emotion into the proceedings, but they seem to be to move the plot forward instead of being true moments of audience connection. He lingers on them only briefly, and then moves on, never allowing us to really grasp the impact these moments should have.

I’ve been crippled by the hype. The people that have been screaming “INCEPTION IS THE BEST THING SINCE PLAY DOUGH!” have ratcheted my expectations too high. The film became something that could never, ever, reach the lofty heights I’d constructed in my brain pan.

After mulling it over for a while, I believe if I took this film in without any outside interference or prior reference my opinion would be the same. The concepts on display are well constructed, a world is built, but I was disappointed at their minimal use. For example, Ellen Page’s character who’s tasked to be an architect of the dream world, we’re even shown her creating a world around her in training, but she never does it again (unless I’m missing something) on screen. Once they enter the dream for the last chunk of the film, the world becomes fixed, all of the razzle dazzle of the opening scenes, all the promise it showed, are kept to the background and things turn into a straight forward action film with a few clever little switches.

Inception has one great action scene: The anti-gravity fight between Joseph Gordon Levitt and a bunch of faceless goons. Everything else is good, not great, and has already fallen out of memory. Christopher Nolan does a MUCH better job than the garbage action that BATMAN BEGINS, but he still hasn’t gotten there yet.

You could argue that the stripped down lean dream approach is better. It would be silly if things started to turn into a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET film, but there should be a fine line Nolan could have hit, that would have made the film work, but he never went for it. He kept up the bare minimum. The film is about IDEAS not IMAGANITATION. An idea can be the simplest thing in the entire world, but still dominate everything .

You should see INCEPTION. It’s nice to watch something in a packed multiplex that never talked down to its audience. Pay attention or you’ll get lost. Could this be a herald to a new wave of intellectual thinking man entertainment?
Ha. All we’re going to get is a wave of pseudo intellectual ‘dream films’ that completely miss the point.

Kind of like I have?

Monday, July 19, 2010

NEVERMORE: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe (2010)- PLAY

Jeffrey Combs play Edgar Allen Poe in a 90 minute stage show directed by Stuart Gordon.

Mull that thought over for a little while.

Now, exceed those expectations tenfold.

Structured as if Poe was putting on a show of his work to an eager audience, Poe is at first personable and charming as he interacts with the audience between renditions of THE TELLATALE HEART and a number of his poems. Sadly, his mood grows increasingly dourer as the show progresses, which isn’t helped at all the rye he keeps chugging, till it all reaches a thunderous emotional breaking point.

Poe is played with mind numbing brilliance by Jeffrey Combs, who completely loses himself behind a subtle make-up job, a period costume and a accent. To steal from another critic, Combs does not seem to be playing Poe, but is channelling him from behind the grave. His performance, which goes from charming to desperation, is so mesmerizing that an audience member could easily watch it for hours on end. Impeccably directed, praise must also be directed to the script by long time Gordon collaborator Dennis Paoli which never drags and carefully keeps the audience perfectly intertwined around the performer’s wishes.

You may think that you’ve heard every kind of reading for such dusty classics as THE RAVEN, but trust me, have not heard an Poe story till you’ve heard it performed by Jeffrey Combs.