Archive for June, 2008

film review: HANCOCK

June 29, 2008

One of the biggest problems with Hancock, the new action comedy starring Will Smith as an unlikable superhero, is the same problem that plagued Smith’s last film, I Am Legend. That problem is Smith himself, a charismatic and capable actor who never seems quite right in either role. With Smith quickly coming up on this 40th birthday, he still has a youthful look that undermines performances like those in Hancock and I Am Legend, where he is supposed to be worn out and world weary. Yes, he does a good job with the material, but he doesn’t completely sell the material, especially in Hancock, where the character transforms from an unpleasant, alcoholic superhero hated by everyone, to the beloved hero of the day. (more…)

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dvd review: TRIGGER MAN

June 28, 2008

Written, produced, edited, photographed and directed by Ti West, Trigger Man is the sort of psychological thriller that has a certain amount going for it, but runs the risk of not quite finding its audience. It is, above all else, a horror film, only without the conventional trappings of a horror film. With a total run time of 80 minutes, the film spends the first thirty minutes very casually setting things up before it gets going with a sort of pace that most horror fans expect. This can make a for a film that is both a challenge to watch in the beginning—at least for horror fans—and for non-horror fans a challenge to get through once the tension really kicks in. (more…)

GOP Zombies

June 27, 2008

Economist and conservative Republican Larry Hunter is part of a growing movement known as Obamacons—conservatives who support Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote an interesting piece about Obamacons that you can read here. In Novack’s piece, he quotes something Hunter had written earlier this month about the GOP, in which he said, “The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of ‘Weekend With Bernie,’ handcuffed to a corpse.” (more…)

Obamarock

June 24, 2008

One of my best friends, Von Porter, created this animated short featuring Barack Obamarock. Enjoy and pass along to a friend.

George Carlin – RIP

June 23, 2008

Comedic legend George Carlin is dead. I could go on at length about how funny he was, but instead I will let him speak for himself.

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MMA Madness (or, Am I Loser?)

June 22, 2008

The other night I went with my friend Geoff to Sportfight, the locally promoted mixed martial arts event featuring fighters primarily from the west coast. I’ve been marginally into MMA for many years now, ever since watching the first UFC events back in the 1990s, before they were even calling it MMA. My interest in mixed-style fighting is an extension of my interest in both boxing and the martial arts, both of which I followed more closely in my youth. Anyway, Geoff and I decided to check out Sportfight, and my buddy Andrew managed to hook us up with some comps, so we were good to go. (more…)

dvd review: MANDINGO

June 21, 2008

There were over 200 film produced during the 1970s that could be called “blaxploitation,” ranging from the classic to the completely forgotten. But few have attained the level of infamy that Mandingo has. This is one of those films with a reputation that precedes it, conjuring up all sorts of lurid images. And that’s not to say that Mandingo’s reputation as a sweaty bit of racist sexploitation trash is not well-deserved, ‘cause it is. It’s just that of all the blaxploitation films that have lingered in the collective pop-culture consciousness, it qualifies as neither the very best, nor the very worst. In fact, in some ways – especially when compared to so many of the other films of the era and genre – Mandingo can be a bit mediocre. (more…)

dvd review: SOME KIND OF HERO

June 17, 2008

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Richard Pryor was one of the funniest comedians of all time. The ironic thing is that if you were to watch any of Pryor’s movies that are not his concert films, you would never get a sense of how funny he really was. There is no denying that films like Bustin’ Loose and Brewster’s Millions were a tremendous waste of his comedic talent. But what’s even more ironic is that Pryor was usually at his best as an actor when he was in films that were more serious. Director Paul Schrader’s Blue Collarremains one of Pryor’s finest moments on screen (his comedy concerts not included), and showcases him as a versatile performer. Pryor would never star in a film as good as Blue Collar, although he would get other opportunities to showcase his abilities as more than just a comic, including 1982’s Some Kind of Hero. (more…)

dvd review: OUT OF THE BLUE

June 15, 2008

In the small New Zealand town of Aramoana, on November 13, 1990, a man named David Gray went on a homicidal spree, gunning down his friends and neighbors, and plunging the nation into a state of shock. Inspired by Gray’s deadly rampage, Out of the Blue is a meditative drama that sets out to recount the events of that horrible day. As with most films of this nature, Out of the Blue runs the risk of going one of two divergent paths. First is the more exploitative path that turns the entire event into a disgusting circus. Second is something more akin to a made for television drama, where the salacious violence is overshadowed by maudlin melodrama. Surprisingly, the film chooses a third, much-less traveled path. (more…)

dvd review: FINISHING THE GAME

June 15, 2008

A title card at the beginning of Finishing the Game sets up the film’s premise: in 1973 martial arts superstar Bruce Lee died unexpectedly while filming Game of Death. Lee had only shot 12 minutes of footage, hardly enough to complete the masterpiece he envisioned, but that did not stop unscrupulous producers from completing the film by using a series of ridiculous tricks to mask the fact that Lee was not in the movie. Finishing the Game is a fictionalized, mocumentary account of the search to find an actor to replace Bruce Lee. An interesting idea though it may be, Finishing the Game stops just short of being a complete failure, emerging instead as a disappointing comedy that produces few laughs and very little by way of entertainment. (more…)