Monday, August 31, 2009

Most Wickedly Delicious Surprise Casting In Ages.

...if there is any justice she'll be a shoe-in for a Guest Actress in a Drama Emmy next year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

There's No Place Like Oz.

Seventy years ago "The Wizard of Oz" was released theatrically in the United States. It's quite probable that people back then had no idea how iconic this film would become.
On the surface it was yet another glossy studio product featuring rising movie stars, bold special effects and that marvelous, rarely used, thing called Technicolor.
Contrary to what one might guess, the movie wasn't a box-office success upon release (it grossed over $16 million-$3 million of which were domestic- which are nothing compared to "Gone With the Wind"'s $400 million worldwide gross-unadjusted for inflation), in fact it took MGM a decade to make profit out of the film.
But can the influence of Oz be measured strictly in economic terms? I think not.
The film has become so beloved that people give for granted that it was always a "classic".
This excerpt from TIME Magazine shows us otherwise:

"Metro put $3,000,000 into The Wizard of Oz, left out only the kitchen stove. Its tornado rivals Sam Goldwyn's The Hurricane. Its final sequence is as sentimental as Little Women. Its Singer Midgets, most publicized of all the picture's cast, go through their paces with the bored, sophisticated air of slightly evil children." TIME Magazine August 21, 1939

If that's not a bad review-at least not ecstatic-then I don't know what is.
A lot has been said about this movie, books, essays and reviews-oh my!- have been written that cover every little aspect of production up until the urban legends and curses surrounding this mythical movie.
The point in my tribute therefore won't be to cover things that have been said before or to reisntate the obvious, but actually to share the effect "Oz" has had on me as a film viewer.
The film has the sort of magic that makes people gasp and blink, even in the times of CGI, and its special quality for re-examination and re-interpretation are what has kept it alive for seventy years.
Only a decade after their scathing review TIME were already taking it back:
"The Wizard of Oz (M-G-M), dusted off and reissued, proves that true wizardry, whether in books or on the screen, is ageless." TIME Magazine May 9, 1949

Not many films become classics so fast right? Because even if the Wizard had no real magical powers to aid Dorothy and her friends, the movie has held a mysterious enchantment over all of us who have seen it and love it.
I can't recall the first time I saw it, but I remember I was dumbstruck by the colors; the vibrant, almost surreal tones that explode upon the land of Oz.
Even back then, I must've been eight or less, I knew that this wasn't the kind of movies I could pay to go see in the theater.
The colors, while real-as opposed to Black & White-weren't natural, there was something fascinating about them.
Years later my father asked me to watch the movie with him. I remember feeling bored and restless at the black and white sequences-I had no idea what sepia was so B&W got the job done-I asked and asked why was the movie like that.
He told me to wait and see.
The one thing I had clear about it is that I'd seen it in color, could it have been that I dreamed that? So as my head turned and turned about my memories of "Oz" then all of a sudden Dorothy opened the door upon landing on was the first time I saw movie magic.
After that I was hooked.
I watch "Oz" at least once a year now, more if I feel like I need it. I say need it because like in the title song, the movie has become a safe haven of sorts for me, I know that watching Judy Garland sing, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley accompany her and Billie Burke casting her protection over them there is nothing on the planet that can go wrong or hurt me-not even the Wicked Witch of the West!.
A few years ago TBS was airing the movie over Thanksgiving weekend, I made it a habit to watch it the four consecutive times it was broadcast and never seemed to get enough of it.
It's interesting to note that this might have been the first movie that defined the television era since it was through TV that many not only came to know it, but also to love it.
Thanks to television the film was granted a second chance, in a way creating cult for movies. It's kinda weird to imagine this as a cult film huh?
Through the years though the influences of "Oz" have become essential in pop culture and also in my life.
I'm sure not a single day goes by when I don't mention this movie. To not know "The Wizard of Oz" is to ignore one of the sources of constant cinematic pleasure and merriment.
References to it pop in places as unsurprising as "Gilmore Girls"-which made a habit of squeezing the last drop of pop culture in everything-to Tarkovsky's "Stalker"(which to this day I believe is a remake of sorts of the 1939 masterpiece).
Stoners owe great trips to this film and so does Pink Floyd, Baz Luhrmann's misunderstood epic "Australia" was also greatly inspired by this film and several "Sex and the City" episodes brim with Carrie Bradshaw-esque updates on the "Oz" quotes.
I could go on and on talking about why "The Wizard of Oz" is so important in my life (and believe me it doesn't even involve all the GLBT points) but for now I'd rather go watch it for the umpteenth time...
May "Oz" live for a million more years and light up people's imaginations the way it did with mine.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Forbidden Love.

Am I the only one who dreams of these two getting back together at some point?
If I am, then ignore my rambling and join me in congratulating Madge and Sean on their birthdays.
The Queen of Pop turned 51 yesterday and the two-time Oscar winner turns 49 today.
So much talent in these two, wouldn't they make the ultimate power couple nowadays?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Left Alone?

1. a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.

Watching "Reds" I began to question the notions that have defined romance in cinema.
This movie is often included in "Most Romantic Movies of All Time" lists (including AFI's "100 Years, 100 Passions") and the truth is that if this movie is considered something to shed lovesick tears for, then I really don't see why did people oppose so much to films like "Cold Mountain" in recent years.
My point is that "Reds" in no way delivers the kind of butterflies-in-the-stomach feel we've grown to expect from "romantic" movies.
And that's not precisely a bad thing...actually the movie sticks to the definition of romance in dictionaries-and the only one I do believe in.
I was expecting the movie to be an all out weepy and instead was pleasantly surprised with the realization that it's about love, but not the one we'd imagine, but one that is in fact looked down on by Hollywood most of the time: love for what you do.
Warren Beatty plays John Reed, the famed journalist who wrote "Ten Days That Shook the World" and helped in establishing the Communist party of America.
Diane Keaton plays his wife Louise Bryant and if you're expecting some sort of "Romeo and Juliet" thing with them you'll be seriously disappointed.
It's more of a "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" situation as they fight, scream and throw things at each other, yet stick togteher until the end.
But Beatty makes the acute, even bold, move of revealing that Reed's greatest love was is work. This is his movie, let's not be fooled. It's all about Reed (if you're expecting a history lesson you'll be disappointed as well...).
Remarkably the film never hesitates to show us Reed's hierarchy of priorities and Louise is always left in the back.

Vittorio Storaro's cinematography-perfect in every single way-let's us see the way Louise is alienated by Reed's protagonism.
She is usually shown surrounded by men and rarely occupies the prominent shot, especially not before men.

Except when she must testify before a judge, who is above her (physically and in a power situation) which pretty much makes her lone shot obsolete.

Even in the end when he dies, Reed is more important in the shot than poor Louise.

Not that there's anything wrong with Reed's huge self love, but why is this kind of love so feared by Hollywood?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

With a Twist.

One of the most delightful things all summer long has been the posters TCM created for their "Summer Under the Stars" series, giving classic films brand new posters.
The first batch was exquisite, the ones for "High Society" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" were design marvels. They have now debuted the whole month's worth and sadly have succumbed to more traditional, up to date (read mediocre) poster designs.
Still a pleasure to see people trying to do new things with classics that don't necessarily involve remakes...


Read this great, albeit sad, article on the disappearance of classic movies on DVD.
Today on the way to work I was wondering if I should double dip on the upcoming versions of "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz", now seems I should if only to support classics on DVD...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra **

Director: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller
Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Lee Byung-hun
Saïd Taghmaoui, Ray Park, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jonathan Pryce, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Eccleston

Not since the Bat nipples appeared on George Clooney more than a decade ago has a comic book/cartoon/toy inspired movie had such fetishist potential.
Inspired by the famous Hasbro action figures and the animated series about a group of elite soldiers from all over the world-fighting the evil M.A.R.S corporation-this film features a cast mostly comprised of models and exotically handsome men and women in tight fitting suits.
There isn't much of a plot, at least not one that matters. all you have to know is that the Joes are good and the Cobras-from M.A.R.S-are not.
M.A.R.S is led by James McCullen (Eccleston) a Scottish weapon mogul holding a three hundred year old grudge towards the French and somehow the entire world by default.
His company devices microscopic robots called nano-mites which can destroy people and world monuments and he plans to use them on several capitols to gain who knows what...
His team features a mad scientist called The Doctor (Gordon-Levitt in full Gollum mode), crazy ninja Storm Shadow (Byung-hun) and the Baroness (Miller) a former American socialite married to a French royal, who spends her free time killing people and stealing wmd-s.
That she has history with G.I. Joe Duke (Tatum) only adds to whatever little drama the film wants to introduce. Duke is the newest member of the Joes along with Ripcord (Wayans), the good guys also feature Heavy Duty (Akinnuoye-Abgaje), Breaker (Taghmaoui), silent ninja Snake Eyes (Park), Scarlett (Nichols) and team leader General Hawk (Quaid).
During 118 minutes members from each team fight each other in the midst of enormous action sequences, explosions and surprising weapons that appear out of nowhere.
They also have flashbacks-which are laughable-and constant hints at what the sequel will be about and even if it feels ethically incorrect to say so, it's slightly obvious that nobody comes to such movies seeking enlightenment.
Or do they?
With the state of summer blockbusters which now more than ever are requesting you leave your brain at home, is it then too much to ask for their kind of dumb entertainment to at least be actually entertaining?
If we have come to reduce movies to fulfill such primitive needs then "G.I. Joe" gets the job done. Absolutely nothing in the film makes sense, but most of it is fun.
Sommers' film takes place in the not so distant future where the USA actually cares for Russia and France and terrorism only comes in the shape of utterly deranged beings.
This sort of male fantasia will make sense to those who loved playing with the action figures (in the same way the first "Transformers" movie did).
This is the sort of movie where the heroes claim to be a secret unit, but have no problem destroying half of Paris in broad daylight. Someone else will clean this mess for moms picking up their kids' toys.
In a postmodernist nod Sommers is also able to give the movie a postmodernist feel by structuring it like a cartoon; the cinematography is cheap to say the least, the effects never look or feel real and the quotes are epitomize cheese.
Now the question is, does anyone actually want to see a live version of the cartoon? Luckily by the time you start formulating questions like these you'll be going home and in the process of forgetting this average Joe.

Twisted Crush of the Day.

The Proposal **1/2

Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds
Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Denis O'Hare
Malin Akerman, Betty White

"The Proposal" is by the numbers, full of clichés, stereotypes and a plot so obvious you need just see the poster to know how it will end.
With that said, it's also rather fun to watch and on occasion even gets to be funny!
Sandra Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a book editor from hell who inspires her employees to act like stock characters from "The Devil Wears Prada" did whenever Meryl was onscreen.
Her assistant Andrew (Reynolds) bears with all her demands even if it means he's stopped living a life of his own.
When Margaret faces deportation-she's Canadian-she blackmails Andrew into marriage and to satisfy the migratory officer (O'Hare) she spends a weekend at Andrew's family home in Alaska.
The tough girl's heart melts with the townsfolk, Andrew realizes she's only evil because she has issues (and a great body for her age) and sparks obviously rise between them.
Reynolds and Bullock have amazing chemistry, his naive face and her devilish brow raises work some sort of summer movie magic and before long the film's chaotic, forced situations elicit some laughter.
It's of course Betty White as Andrew's grandma who owns the movie giving a loony, adorable performance, her type of timeless comedy makes you wonder if Bullock will be as effective 40 years from now...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ride It.

A.O. Scott over at the NY Times, does a wonderful analysis of my favorite film of all times.
Go to it by clicking on the pic!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"No, this is my bollocking face."

I Hate Valentine's Day *

Director: Nia Vardalos
Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett
Zoe Kazan, Rachel Dratch, Stephen Guarino, Amir Arison
Jay O. Sanders, Gary Wilmes, Mike Starr

There are some days when Nia Vardalos makes you think she could fuel an entire nuclear reactor based on charm alone and there are others where you see her as someone desperately overstaying her welcome by grabbing on to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" goodwill.
In this, her directorial debut (which she also co-wrote), she belong to the latter category. She plays Genevieve, a happy-go-lucky Brooklyn florist who smiles 24/7 because of her "fall in love but avoid relationships" policy.
She has a strict set of rules by which she goes out with someone for just five dates to enjoy the process of falling (sex included) and then getting out in time to avoid the pain.
If a guy, or a Glenn Close character, did this they'd by sexual maniacs bordering on psychotic disorder, but because it's Vardalos (in her one woman show) she's a dating genius.
Her system of course is set to fail when she meets "the guy", this time it's Greg (Corbett) a laid back restaurant owner who catches her eye from the first time she spots him.
After they're done with their five date thing she realizes she wants more, he remains detached to keep her satisfied and we've got ourselves a little dramatic tension...
The original premise sounds cute, also very selfish, but mostly refreshing amidst how the romantic comedy has succumbed to repetitive plots.
Vardalos should be praised for her intention, but she forgot to study both parts of the equation. While to some her Genevieve is a goddess of love and happiness to others she has got to look like a nymphomaniac who uses these rules as ways to have sex with different people and have lady like justifications (they were dating after all).
The ones who stand on her side in this include the entire ensemble, all of whom are placed in the right spot or scene to fulfill Genevieve's life.
She's got the reliable, and reliably clichéd, gay employees (Guarino and Arison), the needy girlfriend (the wonderful, but underused, Kazan) and a bizarre group of people (including Dratch) who always are sitting at a diner waiting for Genevieve to come in and solve all their romantic problems.
It shows what kind of writer Vardalos is whenever her characters resemble animatronics from a Disney ride that spring to life only when there's an audience.
But something must've struck her as odd, because she introduces some daddy issues to make her character look more human (or at least give her writer/director/analyst credits), even though said issues also seem too facile to justify her lifestyle.
Vardalos flows through the film completely devoid of any sense of reality and in this way her view of love makes sense.
Love makes us go nuts and in this egocentric movie, she makes it clear that she loves herself.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

State of Play **1/2

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck
Rachel McAdams, Jeff Daniels, Robin Wright Penn, Helen Mirren
Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, Michael Berresse

A research assistant working for congressman Stephen Collins (Affleck) dies mysteriously. A man and a pizza deliverer are shot by an unidentified gunman.
Before you can say Clark Kent, Washington Globe reporter Cal McAffrey (Crowe) has found links between both incidents as well as a corporate conspiracy involving senators, sex scandals and hitmen.
Based on Paul Abbott's magnificent miniseries for the BBC, director Macdonald finds himself trying to deliver six hours worth of material in two streamlined hours; with results that often thrill, but never fulfill.
The succession of events is rapid and keeps you interested in the action, especially because new evidence/leads arrive by the minute and for this the film essentially achieves its mission of being one of the only adult thrillers delivered so far this year.
The cast is phenomenal, even if they don't really push their craft too much. Crowe is always fascinating to watch, he inhabits McAffrey in such a way that you never doubt he's been a reporter for almost two decades.
McAdams as ingenue blogger Della Frye brings a sense of girl scout perkiness that flies well with Crowe's more established macho ways (romance between them is never hinted, but there is sexual tension all the time).
Mirren plays editor Cameron Lynne and the role is a walk through the park for her, it requires her just being commanding and elegantly offensive. Wright Penn, who really needs to get herself a leading role, brings a moving sense of despair playing Stephen's cheated wife.
Daniels is wonderful in a limited role, as is the always fascinating Davis (she gets one miserable scene here!). The only inadequate piece is Affleck, who thinks playing a congressman requires him to frown and overuse his squared jaw.
The screenplay remains taut and the changes that have been made from the miniseries actually work (for the most part), there are still some lose ends and some rather Hollywood-esque plot twists (a deranged hitman goes all Terminator on Crowe in the final, unnecessary, showdown).
But mostly the film suffers because it fails to follow one of the guiding rules of journalism; it doesn't choose an angle.
It wants to be about everything, about current politics, about Iraq war profits, about the decease of printed media (which should've been the angle to pick!), plus each of the characters represents a particular point of view.
Cal is all about respect for the the story, Della believes in morality and "the right thing", Cameron thinks about money and company losses and there is just so much going on that the whole movie feels as a work in progress.
Those who can, should stick to the miniseries, those who have not seen it will probably enjoy this movie with all and its typos.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

G-Force *

Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Cast: Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifaniakis, Kelli Garner

Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it's a good idea...
But apparently producer Jerry Bruckheimer doesn't give a damn about that and decided that a movie about a group of guinea pigs aspiring to become FBI special agents would be awesome.
And following his usual style he delivers the explosions, the slow motion and the mindlessness, only this time it's aimed for the under thirteen crowd.
They will undoubtedly have a good time (especially considering how little children read nowadays...) and will be impressed by the colors, action and "suspense".
But the whole movie feels like a creepy maneuver to train these children so that they will grow up thinking Bruckheimer style movies are OK.
Now with all the racist jokes, lack of coherence and utter irresponsibility from the screenwriters the idea that this is aimed at kids is rather sick. One of the film's twists turns around the whole idea of eco-friendliness that the guinea pigs have been trying to enforce...
Only to later have it turned back again, all for the sake of a giant robot made out of evil home appliances.
What will children think when they leave the theater? But judging from how the movie turns out they're counting on kids not even doing any thinking.

My Sister's Keeper *1/2

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin
Jason Patric, Sofia Vassilieva, Evan Ellingson
Joan Cusack, Alec Baldwin

How can anyone say or think something bad about a cancer-related film? That seems to be the idea around which director Nick Cassavetes worked to deliver this manipulative, lazy excuse of a movie.
During the opening credits we learn that Anna (Breslin) was conceived in vitro as a perfect genetic match for her sister Kate (Vassilieva) who suffers from leukemia.
Her "spare parts", as called by a doctor, have kept her sister alive for more than ten years, but when she has to donate one of her kidneys Anna decides it's been enough. She goes to lawyer Campbell Alexander (Baldwin) and sues her parents to obtain "medical emancipation" creating the ethical dilemma at the center of the film.
Is she the bad seed or does she have a point?
As played by Breslin, Anna is the only character in the whole movie we would like to know more of. Breslin who possesses amazing abilites to act like a kid (not like a creepy grownup trapped inside a kid's body) gives her character little traits that make her believable and touching.
When she's confronted by her parents Sara (Diaz) and Brian (Patric), Anna goes into her own little world; most of the movie Breslin makes us linger between the two possibilities, only to be let down by Cassavetes awful screenplay and direction.
The thing about the film is that it has already taken sides and we spend the whole movie watching all the pain Kate has gone through.
From vomiting blood, to losing her hair, to falling in love and then losing that too and we rarely get insight into why Anna's plead also has justifications.
If this bias wasn't enough, Cassavetes goes the extra mile to make the whole movie seem like a collection of Kodak moments and upbeat musical montages that pop out of nowhere and last for ages (as that famous online spoof goes "is this a movie or a CD?").
Shot beautifully by Caleb Deschanel, who even makes the chemotherapy room look dreamlike, the contrast between the visuals and the emotions the characters try to convey is distasteful.
The actors do their best with what they're given though, Baldwin is good (even if sometimes he narrates like a detective out of a film noir), Cusack is moving as a sensible judge (despite the burden of corniness she's given to carry) and it's refreshing to see Diaz stretch her acting muscle a bit, even if she doesn't always succeed.
But most of this gets lost in the amalgam of cliché Cassavetes concocts. Whenever the action is steering to make Anna seem sane he inserts a random flashback reminding us why Kate is more important.
Then there's a whole subplot full-o-holes with their brother Jesse (Ellingson) who lingers in the streets and sits atop building rooftops harboring what seems like something awful which we never fully understand.
Exploiting likeability to the ultimate factor, Cassavetes also becomes aware that while cancer patients are impossible to dislike, so is Abigail Breslin.
And he gives her character a final twist that should make us shed the waterworks, but only serves to expose the utter lack of respect the filmmaker has for both the sick and the healthy.
Please, don't give this movie its shot.

Budd Schulberg (1914-2009)

Screenwriter Schulberg has passed away at the age of 95. His most recognized work was penning "On the Waterfront", Elia Kazan's alleged self defense for his HUAAC actions, which went on to win eight Academy Awards including one for Schulberg.
The movie has become legendary for all the right reasons, the acting is brilliant, the direction is stunning, the realist cinematography and every other technical aspects were also perfect.
But at the center of it all is Schulberg's majestic screenplay, one that has become extremely quoted, yet remains utterly simple.
Schulberg didn't work that much or made anything as memorable as "On the Waterfront" again.
But just because of this movie he will have a place in film history for ever. He was a contender.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Burning Plain *1/2

Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger
Jennifer Lawrence, José María Yazpik, Joaquim de Almeida
John Corbett, Robin Tunney, J.D. Pardo, Tessa Ia, Brett Cullen

First it was the story about connections between three people in the same city, then three people in the same country, later three stories in the same planet...what could Guillermo Arriaga ("Amores Perros", "21 Grams" and "Babel") possibly write about next?
He didn't go for people in different planets, that would've been the "obvious" road, instead he proves his masterful skills by interconnecting three parallel stories that occur in different timelines...and how can that not be brilliant he wondered.
First we have Sylvia (Theron) a restaurant manager in Oregon who fills her empty life with emptier sex (with John Corbett's character among others) .
South of the border, and twelve years before there's Gina (Basinger) a discontented housewife having an affair with a married man (Almeida).
While her daughter Mariana (Larence) falls in love with her lover's son (Pardo). There's a couple of deathly accidents here and there, cross country travelling from a girl (Ia) looking for her mother and the sort of Biblical metaphors Arriaga has gotten used to from his previous works.
The one thing that's nowhere to be found is a soul.
Every little thing in the movie feels like a gimmick, like something designed to stir up emotions and muster some drama.
Most of the acting feels grandiose and serious, but turns out to be rather mediocre. Theron who has decided that not smiling makes her a good dramatic actress, spends the movie showing her breasts and confuses lack of interest with inner demons and yearning.
Lawrence is straight out of a "Dawson's Creek" episode and Basinger, while more interesting than anyone else in the cast, fails to inject her character with motivation.
Of course most of this is owed to Arriaga's inneficient direction and even worse screenplay where reductive psychology rules ("fire is purifying" says one of the characters who killed someone and then self burns to ease the guilt).
Arriaga tries his best to achieve a forced catharsys (that the movie ends with quick edits summing up why the writer thought he could pull off a Michael Cunningham is painful and sad) but in his film debut in emperor's clothes he seems to have forgotten that even if a film uses fractured storytelling and the characters speak English it can still turn out to be an old fashioned telenovela.

Just Random...

I just woke up from a dream in which Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu presented an Honorary Academy Award to Judi Dench...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen *

Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox
Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro

What is the difference between Michael Bay and an 8 year-old? An 8 year-old doesn't need 200 million dollars to create chaos. Cymbal roll.
In the sequel to the highly successful 2007 film, Bay squeezes every CGI and crazy pyrotechnic effect he can get out of his budget, completely forgetting about things such as plot and character and delivers the remains of a film clouded by smoke and loud sound effects.
In between action sequences, change of locales and unnecessary scenes we can put together the pieces of a plot in which the Autobots and Decepticons are at war once again.
This time the Decepticons are after a centuries' old device which will help them destroy Earth and perpetuate their existence.
The Autobots who have made an alliance with humans are trying to stop them. Meanwhile Sam (LaBeouf) is trying to lead a normal life and moves to college where he tries to keep a long distance relationship with his girlfriend Mikaela (Fox).
While in the last film Bay at least tried to deliver something that resembled coherence, this sequel is all about going big.
Therefore the robots get new parts, the battles are longer and the running time expands to a gargantuan and horrible two and a half hours that culminate in Egypt.
And Michael Bay is certainly no David Lean, so he fills each minute of film with pure junk. Pointing out why the film is so bad may not be as worthy as wondering how does Bay get away with stuff like this?
There's racist robots (twin Chevrolets Mudflap and Skids), John Turturro's ass in a jock and a little Decepticon humping Fox's leg.
All things which have come to be associated with teenage male audiences for whom sexual fantasies equal slow motion explosions, war and Playboy centerfolds.
But haven't these things become associated with them because of people like Bay? His movies have, shockingly, become some of the highest grossing films in history and his target audience is that of young males.
But who came first, them or Bay? That question is as enigmatic and troublesome as all the plot holes, cursing and gross robot actions in the movie.
Then there's the whole issue of how much pleasure Bay seems to get out of destroying historical landmarks, even if it's fake. This time the Egyptian pyramids get the crap beaten out of them, which makes what happened in the Iraq museum during the invasion less of a mystery.
Bay has decided his audience enjoys history being destroyed, having a disdain for authority and education as something "cool" and filling up emptiness with shots of Megan Fox's breasts bouncing in slow motion.
If this isn't enough to make you sick, the thought that you actually saw this movie will.
A Decepticon refers to Fox as " hot but not so bright" and that's about the only authentic thing you will get out of this movie.

Come Join the Party!

What do you think of Madonna's new single "Celebration"?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Anyone Else Wondered?

What was the role of the clown in "The Blue Angel" and if so, did it remind anyone of the Emcee from "Cabaret"? Only they're both polar opposites of each other.

While Watching "I Love You, Man"...

...I was delighted to see a Hollywood film that actually put some interest into friendship and wondered when did movies become so love-centered? (summed up beautifully when Jaime Pressly's character asks one of her friends "why does everything have to revolve around you?", to which she anwers "because I'm single!").
In this one the typical rom-com plot is tampered with when the guy (Rudd) already has the girl (Jones) but needs the friend to be his best man.
Enter Segel and all sorts of testosterone driven insanity and sensibility a la Judd Apatow.
The screenplay by director John Hamburg and Larry Levin pokes at both men and women and raises some fascinating ideas (the first half hour is laugh out loud funny!) but then the movie misses its aim and becomes so damn formulaic.
You know, just because you change the characters' genders doesn't mean you can get away with playing by the same rules plot wise (reason why I'm one of the only living people who seriously disliked "Brokeback Mountain").
Even if Segel and Rudd have awesome chemistry (unlike Rudd's with Jones...although that could've been on purpose) the last part of the film falls flat on its face declaring the only universal truth Hollywood has learned about men and women after a century of filmmaking: that we might indeed be from different planets.