Archive for March, 2010

dvd review: SHERLOCK HOLMES

March 30, 2010


With the exception of director Bob Clark’s Murder by Decree, in which Sherlock Holmes (portrayed by Christopher Plummer) hunts down Jack the Ripper, I haven’t watched a Sherlock Holmes movie in well over thirty years. As a kid, I enjoyed watching television broadcasts of the Sherlock Holmes films from the 1930s and 40s that starred Basil Rathbone. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t have much memory of any of those movies, even though the image of Rathbone as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective has been burned in my consciousness for decades. This odd combination of clear vision backed up by almost no real memory, made for an interesting contradiction of preconceived notions while watching the most recent incarnation of Sherlock Holmes. (more…)

Advertisements

Oh, the Humanity (or, Facing the Ugly Truth About Opposition to Health Care Reform)

March 23, 2010

I’m compelled to say some things about the reaction to the passage of Health Care Reform, but before I do, I want everyone to watch this video first. It is just over two minutes long, but important that you watch this video before reading any further.

Okay, you’ve watched it. Maybe you’ve watched it twice. Hopefully you’ve thought about the years of history crammed into these two minutes, and the complexity of the challenges that faced America during those times. Now, I want you place yourself in the context of that time. We’ll say, for the sake of argument, that the year is 1963. It is May, and children are marching the streets of Birmingham. These same children are being thrown in jail, fire hoses are being turned on them, their lives being threatened because they want equality. Now, where would you stand on the issue of Civil Rights in 1963? (more…)

Chris Evans cast as Captain America

March 23, 2010

Apparently, actor Chris Evans has signed on to star as Captain America in the upcoming film live action film. Some of you may know Evans from his role as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies (which sucked). Evans can also be seen in the upcoming movie-based-on-a-comic The Losers (the book sucks, so I have little hope for the film). And of course, Evans was in Push, which, big surprise, also sucked. Now, I don’t want to say the casting of Evans was a mistake, because by doing so I would be too much like one of those spastic, mouth-breathing fanboys that jerks off to naked pictures of She-Hulk. But I do feel the need to point out that I also felt the casting of Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider, Ben Affleck in Daredevil, and Val Kilmer in Batman Forever were all mistakes, and history—not too mention inept filmmaking—proved me to absofreakinglutely correct. I have the same this-steaming-pile-of-brown-goop-looks-and-smells-like-crap-so-don’t-tell-me-it’s-chocolate-pudding feeling about Evans as Captain America as I have about Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I am wrong so seldom that it seems unlikely. And I just want to make sure that I have gone on the record, and voiced my concerns that casting Evans was a huge mistake. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with some pictures of She-Hulk.

dvd review – HARD LUCK

March 23, 2010

Here we have a DVD that has been sitting in my dreaded Pile of Unwatched Movies for the better part of four years—and with good reason. Wesley Snipes as the inappropriately name Lucky, a former drug kingpin with a running streak of bad luck. Out of prison, his life is off to a new start with a loving wife, but things fall apart after Hurricane Katrina, and Lucky finds himself back in New York. Through a series of events that might be clever if handled by a better writer, Lucky runs afoul of corrupt cops, gets his hands on a ton of cash, and finds himself in the company of a loudmouth stripper (Jackie Quinones). Meanwhile, in a seemingly unrelated subplot, a pair of sadistic serial killers (Cybill Shepherd and James Liao) snatch victims off the street and torture them to death. And while all of this is going on, a police detective (Mario Van Peebles) is hunting both Lucky, the corrupt cops hunting Lucky, and the serial killers. Of course, you’d have to be a complete idiot not to see the inevitable mishmash of lame characters and even lamer plot contrivances colliding like a truck full of dog shit and wagon-load of cat piss. Directed by Mario Van Peebles, Hard Luck is the sort of terrible mess of a movie that can’t seem to end soon enough. The script is bad—painfully so in most scenes—and Van Peebles’s direction is…well…the less said about his direction the better. The only positive thing I can think to say about this movie is that Quinones looks really good naked. And while I’d be more than willing to watch a naked Miss Quinones cook scrambled eggs, I hope to never watch this movie again.

Health Care Reform – The Civil Rights Movement of the 21st Century

March 22, 2010

The passage last night of the Health Care Bill did not come easily, has not come without controversy or discord, and will not come without more hard-fought battles. But like it or not, it is here to stay. The Health Care Reform debate and the struggle for its passage has reminded me a great deal of the Civil Rights Movement, and the battles that were fought during the 1950s and 1960s in this country. Make no mistake; Health Care Reform will be to this decade what the Civil Rights Movement was to the 50s and 60s. Some people will dismiss this comparison, and in my rebuttal I would simply ask them go back and fully study the Civil Rights Movement, and the struggles this nation endured to see the passage of laws making equality a legal right. Keep in mind that large segments of the United States population were opposed to Civil Rights, felt that blacks did not deserved equal rights, blacks could not marry whites, and that anti-lynching laws infringed on the rights of those who wished to kill blacks (seriously). And I’m not talking one hundred years ago. All of this took place during the second half of the last century (after almost two centuries of racial injustice and discrimination). Here is a link to a Civil Rights timeline that I found very useful. Study this timeline, and think about how much positive change came for the passage of the Civil Rights Act. And if you do not believe any good came from that landmark legislation, you will just all likely not believe any good will come from Health Care Reform, and we have nothing to say to each other. But if you understand that changes made to make America more inclusive for all people are positive, even if it means disrupting the status quo, then you are enlightened enough to realize that we will one day look back at this Health Care legislation, and realize that we as a country did the right thing,  taking another step to the creation of a more perfect union.

Spaghetti Western Archive – IF YOU MEET SARTANA, PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH

March 21, 2010

IF YOU MEET SARTANA, PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH 1968 director: Gianfranco Parolini; starring: Gianni Garko, Klaus Kinski, William Berger

For me, watching spaghetti westerns is a lot like watching kung-fu flicks—it’s great when the story makes sense, but sometimes that’s just asking too much. Sometimes all you can hope for are some great action sequences, a hero that kicks ass, and not too many boring moments of confusing, incomprehensible plot to slow things down when there’s no action. My long-held film criticism philosophy of “all movies are good, except for the bad parts” seldom rings more true than with spaghetti westerns, a genre define by great movies frequently handicapped by bad parts. (more…)

Spaghetti Western Archive – DJANGO

March 17, 2010

DJANGO 1966 director: Sergio Corbucci; starring: Franco Nero
As far as most people are concerned, when it comes to spaghetti westerns, only one director ever made an films of merit. That director, of course, was Sergio Leone, who made five westerns—Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Band and the Ugly, and Duck, You Sucker! —four of which deserve their reputations of being among the best westerns of all time. But once you remove Leone and his films from the equation, a whole new stick must be used for measuring the massive flood of westerns that came out of Europe—primarily Italy—during the 1960s and the 1970s. Director Sergio Corbucci’s Django is that stick. (more…)

Casting Captain America

March 16, 2010

Lately, it seems like the Internets has been buzzing with rumors and speculations about who will be cast as Captain America in the upcoming movie. First of all, let me say that I doubt anyone can ever top Reb Brown’s performance in the made for TV movies of the 1970s. And while I think they should probably get Reb (pictured to the left) to return for the new movie, there are four actors that I have identified best suited to play Captain America (Victor Wong, Wallace Shawn, Bobcat Goldthwait, and John Amos). Unfortunately, Victor Wong is dead, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be perfect (if he was alive). I’d like to know what everyone else thinks of my choices, and perhaps we can get a groundswell of interest, and strong-arm the studio into casting an actor best suited for the role.

Please Excuse the Mess

March 15, 2010

Several months ago, I changed the look of the website, creating a bunch of problems. I’m trying to fix everything once and for all, which will include a new look for the site, and hopefully not as many technical problems. Please be patient.

Spaghetti Western Archive – NAVAJO JOE

March 15, 2010

Sergio Leone is the director most closely associated with the European-produced westerns popularly referred to as “spaghetti westerns.” Leone’s classics Dollars trilogy starring Clint Eastwood—A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad & the Ugly—are arguably the most popular and well known spaghetti westerns, and helped establish the director as the genre’s preeminent filmmaker. And while Leone is popularly thought of as the director who gave life to the spaghetti western, it would be the other Sergio—director Sergio Corbucci—that gave the genre its soul. (more…)