Archive for April, 2008

film review: IRON MAN

April 30, 2008

In case some of you haven’t figured it out, staying true to the original source material is only one part of successfully adapting comic books to film. The other key factor is knowing that the superhero himself (or herself, as the case may be) sometimes is just not that interesting, and that the real character is the person who puts on the suit. Spider-Man is not nearly as interesting as Peter Parker, the poor sap who puts on the costume and does his best to do the right thing, even though it seems like life is always conspiring against him. Basically, if the guy who puts on the ridiculous looking outfit is dull, then the superhero is doomed to be a boring lunkhead. This is especially true of Marvel Comics’ Iron Man, a hero that would be about as boring as you could possibly imagine, accept for the guy who climbs into the metal suit to save the day. (more…)

dvd review: GRIZZLY RAGE

April 29, 2008

Honestly, I need to have my head examined for watching crap like this. It’s not like I didn’t know this film was going to suck before I even popped the disc in to the player, but I never imagined that Grizzly Rage could ever be as bad as it was, but it was absofuckinglutley terrible.

Part of the problem was that my expectations had been set by another film about a killer grizzly bear—William Girlder’s 1976 Jaws rip-off, Grizzly (a.k.a. Claws). When I was a kid, I convinced by uncle to take me to see Grizzly, which scared the hell out of me so bad that I made us leave the theatre before the movie was over, and I got rid of my favorite teddy bear. Years later I finally got around to rewatching Grizzly—this time all the way through—and was embarrassed that I could have been scared by such a lamebrain piece of B-movie trash. But it at least Grizzly had youthful nostalgia going for it, which is what made me foolishly think that Grizzly Rage might have some sort of entertainment value, which of course led me to watch this nonsense. Man, do I feel stupid. (more…)

dvd review: DIAMOND DOGS

April 28, 2008

You might think after having endured the rather stinkified Dolph Lundgren film Missionary Man that I would be ready to call it quits with the old Dolphster. And if that’s what you’re thinking, then you, my friend, would be dead wrong. As long as guys like Dolph Lundgren and Jean Claude Van Damme continue to grace the shelves of video stores in barely watchable garbage, I will continue to watch—the notable exception being Steven Segal, or course—and afterwards I will continue to ask myself, “Why do I keep watching these movies?” (more…)

Facing Ugly Truths

April 24, 2008

Anyone who knows me, or has read any of my writing, knows that I often say things that rub people the wrong way. Over the years I have offended, alienated and infuriated more people than I can count, and by and large I haven’t cared. But today I got an email from someone that was upset by something I had written—an offhanded remark that I barely gave a second thought to—and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so profoundly moved by what this person had to say, that after I was done crying, I realized I needed to address the matter. (more…)

And the Winner Is…

April 23, 2008

It is with all humility and a great sense of honor that I tell everyone, yours truly has been awarded the 2008 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship. This fellowship was made possible by the combined resources of The Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Film & Video Office and the Northwest Film Center/Portland Art Museum. A total of 71 filmmakers applied for the fellowship, but only two projects were chosen, mine being one of them. (more…)


April 20, 2008

Once upon a time, when home video consisted of VHS tapes rented at grocery stores and played on machines that loaded from the top, one of the best bets for horny teenage boys like myself to see naked female bodies were Women In Prison movies. I can recall sitting through several entries in this genre that always held the promise of gratuitous shower scenes and the possible lesbian action, and when I was 14 years old, none of these movies seemed that bad. But watching the recently re-released uncut version of Bruno Mattei’s Women’s Prison Massacre and Caged Women, I realize that in my youth I was much more forgiving of cinematic ineptitude, as long as there were titties. (more…)

dvd review: WHO'S YOUR MONKEY

April 19, 2008

Perhaps the most important thing I can tell you about the comedy Who’s Your Monkey is that it’s not really a comedy—at least not the sort of comedy that the misleading packaging would have you think it is. Sure, there are comedic moments to be found in this film, but it is more of a dramedy than the screwball farce it is made out to be. You look at the poorly designed box, and you see the cute woman, the monkey holding a Chinese throwing star sitting on her shoulder, and four hapless looking dildo-heads standing over a dead body, and you might actually expect some sort of nonstop laugh riot. And if that’s the case, man, are you ever in for a disappointment. (more…)

The Boss Comes Correct, Robbins Breaks it Down

April 16, 2008

I know that lately I haven’t been posting as much as I usually do, and if I thought anyone really cared, I would explain why. Instead, I’ll just say that, “I’ve been busy,” and leave it at that. But despite being busy, there are two things I want to share, in case any of you have been sleeping. First, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen has endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States. You can read his endorsement here, which I think is very well stated.

Second, I want to share actor Tim Robbins’ recent keynote speech at the National Association of Broadcasters. Here is a link to the speech, which is hilarious and sadly poignant all at the same time. Robbins says things that I have long been bitching about, and he says them almost as well as I have.


April 15, 2008

The best word to describe the original 1988 film Alien Nation would be “disappointing.” Yeah, sure, I know, some people love this film, but it is most certainly not a film worth loving. A clever deviation from the buddy cop films of that era, Alien Nation never lived up to its fullest potential, and as a consequence it was really nothing more than Lethal Weapon or 48 Hours, only with extraterrestrials. And that’s why when the television spin-off emerged on the still-in-its-infancy Fox Network a year later, there was no reason to believe the show would be any better than the movie. But the television incarnation of Alien Nation—which only lasted one season—proved to be one of those rare instances in which the TV knock-off turned out to be superior to the film from which it was derived. (more…)

dvd review: BATTLE ROYALE

April 8, 2008

The other day I was talking to someone about Battle Royale, one of the best films of the last ten years. I was getting ready to re-watch it and write a review, and then my good friend Von Porter at Grumpy Guy Cinema posted this review. I don’t know if I could have said it any better myself. Check out his review.