Review: John Carpenter’s The Ward

There is only so much you can say about a used-to-be-great director before you finally give up. John Carpenter was one of those guys for me. I’d say to my friends, “Who cares if he made The Village of the Damned or Ghosts of Mars… this dude made The Thing (1982), Halloween, and Big Trouble in Little China!” But that didn’t matter after a while. There is only so much you could say about a director who hasn’t made a decent film in quite some time (1995’s In the Mouth of Madness might be his last worthy effort).

There is only so much you can say about a used-to-be-great director before you finally give up. John Carpenter was one of those guys for me. I’d say to my friends, “Who cares if he made The Village of the Damned or Ghosts of Mars… this dude made The Thing (1982), Halloween, and Big Trouble in Little China!” But that didn’t matter after a while. There is only so much you could say about a director who hasn’t made a decent film in quite some time (1995s In the Mouth of Madness might be his last worthy effort). Continue reading “Review: John Carpenter’s The Ward”

Review: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

I am going to start off this entry with a bold statement that will sure to attract the attention of cinema snobs all over – horror films simply don’t exist anymore. You can argue the finer points of some lesser-known foreign masterpiece all you want. But deep down in your heart, you know you weren’t actually scared when you watched [Rec] or Martyrs. Not like you were when you saw Jaws for the first time. No matter how much we love to watch teenagers (or anyone really) get destroyed on screen, there hasn’t been a film in a while that really connects us with the characters to have us even care in the first place. Continue reading “Review: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”

Shaking Hands with a Dead Man (The Dennis Hopper Letter)

Dear Dennis Hopper,

A few years ago, I used to be what some would call a “journalist.” I put that dirty word in quotations because I mostly wrote for online publications that no one really gives a shit about. We all know what the internet has done to “journalism” right? Nothing good. But it was during that time that we met. You probably forgot the encounter minutes after it happened. I never will. It was in June of 2006, when some people actually cared about the words I wrote.

I was at the closing party at the CineVegas Film Festival (obviously located in Las Vegas, Nevada). Taylor Hackford was there with his wife Helen Mirren. I think she won an Oscar the following year for something.

Cigars for Hopper (6/2010)

Anyway, I had to leave the party around midnight because I had to catch the redeye back to Orlando. It would be the last time I would ever travel for a film festival. I was walking out to find my ride, down a long corridor hallway at the Hard Rock Casino. I saw you standing there and I pondered what to say for a while.

I’ve met many celebrities I couldn’t give a shit about. You were different. I was/am an enormous fan of yours. Easy Rider changed my life. That was the first film I ever saw that said, “Fuck your cinematic traditions and let’s get real.”

I think you had a cigar in your mouth. You were waiting for someone too. What could I say to you? Should I ask about what it was like to rock and roll with James Dean during the filming of Giant? Perhaps I could tell you that My Science Project is one of the most underrated 80s flicks this side of the Monster Squad. Or that I secretly hate Blue Velvet even though I love you in it. You’re the only thing good about Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and you added a great deal of class to an otherwise mediocre action ride (Speed). I almost pictured myself saying, “I loved you in True Romance and Super Mario Bros.

I didn’t say any of that. I just introduced myself. You were friendly. Asked me if I liked the festival. I did. I loved it. Vegas is a great town. We shook hands. I felt like the Terminator at the end of Terminator 2, shaking hands with Sarah Connor before lowering myself into the steel. And that was that.

Now you’re gone. So it goes.

I hate that you’re no longer here. You’ve had such a huge impact on me over the years. You’ve affected my general attitude and my overall feelings towards the Hollywood machine. You’re one of the reasons I hate so many films.

Hopefully the next time we meet, we can rock a drink. Then the two of us can team up and punch Brett Ratner in the face.

So it goes.

-M

Anna Faris’ Crazy Plastic Lip…

Some people do shit to their body that is completely unacceptable. Others do shit that is acceptable. For example, the single mother stripper who needs a new set of tits, because years of child births sagged them things down and no respectable wife-cheating business man wants to throw down money on saggy boobs. They simply do it out of need. If their boobs don’t pass the test, no one will make it rain for them.

Anna Faris does not fall into this category. She was perfectly fine a few years ago. Everything was good. Sure, she is no Meryl Streep as far as acting is concerned, but she isn’t fucking as emotionless as Summer Glau for testicular sake. She seems to land about 2 movies a year and has no problem doing so.

So what the fuck happened to her lip?

I tried watching House Bunny (a sure-fire Oscar contender) and I couldn’t look past it. What happened to her top lip man? Does she have a leprechaun punch her every morning before work or did she actually get work done?

anna

Move Over, Julia Roberts (4/2009)

Sigourney in the Mist – 2009

Last year I decided to “remake” a blog entry I wrote a few years ago for a completely different website. If filmmakers can remake shit less than a year old, why couldn’t I do the same in with a blog? No one cares about blogs anyway.

I actually liked the remaking idea because you can clearly see how much I’ve evolved as an “artist” over a few years time. This blog appeared in May of 2006 on Film Threat’s Blog page. You can see the original right here by clicking. Here is the remake version, complete with original words and artwork (with new artistry posted also).

Kids often times have one single moment, perhaps more, of complete and utter stupidity that they’ll never forget for the rest of their lives. I have one such moment, a moment that has stayed with me for the past 17 or so years. And the sad thing is, it was a moment that last about 17 seconds, yet, it still resides within my memory; haunting me, teasing me.

It was September of 1988 and I was seven years-old. I traveled with my mom from Jersey to Zephyrhills (yes, that Zephyrhills), Florida to visit my grandparents and their new home. Seeing how Zephyrhills is as exciting as you can imagine, we decided to head to the movie theater and watch movie.

The theater in this amazing town only held two films at a time. Our choices were Lethal Weapon 2 and Gorillas in the Mist. Being that I was only 7, my mom opted not for the Rated R action spectacular. She instead chose the safe PG-13 movie about the life and times of Dian Fossey. I wanted fire, explosions, gun fights, etc. My mom wanted Sigourney Weaver and a couple of monkeys.

I remember the film being longer than one could care for. By the end, when some unknown person stabs Weaver and kills her, I was happy to see the screen fade to black.

As we walked out of the theater, my mom says, “That’s sad. Did you know that was a true story?”

My ignorant mind at the time couldn’t quite comprehend what my mom meant by that. My brain spun that as meaning that the actual Sigourney Weaver went to Africa, fought for some gorillas, then got stabbed. My 7 year-old mind thought that meant that when Ghostbusters 2 finally came out, it would be Weaver-less.

“So, that lady really died?” I asked.

“Yes, yes she did.”

Check out how dumb I was…

“So, Sigourney Weaver is really dead?”

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Sigourney’s Requiem (5/2006)

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Sigourney’s Requiem – Redux (3/2009)

My mom looked at me like I was the dumbest kid on the planet. She had a look on her face like, “This kid came out of my womb?”

She then explained to me what a film “based on a true story” meant. It was a film, fiction, fake… like The Da Vinci Code. Sigourney Weaver wasn’t dead. The person she was playing was dead.

That was the dumbest 17 seconds of my life. And a moment I will never forget, although my mother has no recollection of this story, which is for the best.

Sigourney Weaver was nominated for an Academy Award for this film. Perhaps there was a member of the Academy who thought she was dead too. But she wasn’t and because of this, we were able to see a few more Alien sequels, that second Ghostbusters movie I was so amped about then, and lest we forget 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

Actually, maybe we lest.

So that’s it. The story pretty much speaks for itself and is, sadly, true. The picture – the new one anyway – isn’t that much better than the old. Sigourney looks a lot stranger in this new one…

Hot or Not: Julia Roberts?

Wow, almost no one (aside from 7 people) read my entry on books. So I’m going to go back to basics today with a question.

It must be asked… I bring this question up a lot in my day to day life and it’s the sort of thing I’ve been pondering since I was 10 years-old and I saw Pretty Woman. Even then, as an ignorant child, I wasn’t quite sure who the title of the film was talking about. They couldn’t mean Julia Roberts…. could they?

It was about 2 years later, when my interest in girls was its peak (both mentally and physcially – you get it?), that I realized who they were indeed talking about. Fucking Julia Roberts. I once asked my Mom why Julia Roberts had so many teeth. Did she not remove her baby teeth? What gives?

I am going to have to vote “Not” on this one, my friends. There is something about her… like, when she laughs hard, her mouth opens so wide as if her head literally splits in two, thus causing the top half to float away like a helicopter of doom.

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Julia Roberts and the Helicopter of Doom (2/2009)

Just how many fucking teeth does she have? Even when her mouth is shut and serious, like how it is often in Erin Brockovich, her lips look as if they are in a struggle with the teeth, as if they are prisoners desperately pulling for escape. But the lips do a good job keeping them in there… usually.

“But Mike, how can you not like her? She is so beautiful!”

I beg to differ with you, middle-aged, white female America, who long for her magnificent smile. I long not for her. I think her brother Eric has a lot more acting potential than she does, and he sure as hell has a lot less teeth. Perhaps I am just angry because she won an Academy Award over Ellen Burstyn a few years back. I am not sure, but I am sure that it does have a lot to do with it. What do you think? Check an option in this sweet poll…

And on a seperate note, I am quite proud of today’s picture. Usually I will set out to draw something only to give up seconds later when I realize I can’t draw what my imagination creates. Today is quite an exception for I drew exactly what I pictured.

Top Ten Films of 2008

“I don’t love her, she kicked me in the face!” – Val Kilmer as Madmartigan in Ron Howard’s Willow (1988).

There is no excuse as to why my absence here (and pretty much every website I’ve written for) has been so long without any word of return. So I will come back the only way I know how… by doing my favorite thing.

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The Next One Will Be Better… (1/2009)

Summing up the year in cinema for the six people in my life (both in real life and internet life) that still know I exist, and even care about what I have to say about cinema. Especially now that the Oscar nominations are out. This goes out to you… even though we are so far into January now that no one will care.

“Willow, this is war, not agriculture.” – Val Kilmer as Madmartigan in Ron Howard’s Willow (1988)

I find myself putting together this list during a voluntary viewing of Willow on DVD. Not a good movie by any stretch but what humorless bastard out there doesn’t get a kick out of hearing Val Kilmer calling Warwick Davis (a fellow little person) a ‘peck’? Makes me smile every time.

Without further ado, and blabbering, I bring you this list. This list consists of my personal favorites of the year and to those of you who know me best, you may find it somewhat surprising.

Top Ten Best Films of 2008 Continue reading “Top Ten Films of 2008”