February 05, 2008
Idea Crisis 2008: Oh the Horror
Let's take a look at two very recent films, both within the so-called horror genre.
The Eyes: Jessica Alba stars as a blind woman who regains her vision through a revolutionary eye-implant procedure. The only catch: her new eyes are EVIL EYES and allow her to SEE WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!
One Missed Call: Shannon Saucsornmoome stars as a young woman who owns a cell phone and often likes to receive voice messages. The only catch? Her voice mail service is EVIL and allows her to HEAR WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DIE! Or something.
Does this sound familiar? It should. It's been done before. For instance, there's the 2002 film The Ring. Starring Naomi Watts, this film was about a video tape that TELLS YOU WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. And that, in turn, was a remake of a japanese film. It was basically the same film, except that in the Japanese version, the cursed video cassette was Betamax instead of VHS. Also I think there were mecha.
At this point, it seems like Hollywood screenwriters have resorted to wandering around Best Buy, picking random gadgets that could potentially TELL [a film's protagonist] WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO DIE!
Since the writers are still on strike, I figure I can pick up their slack by churning out derivative and idiotic screenplays. Since I'm "no longer welcome" in my local Best Buy, I strolled through a nearby strip mall for inspiration. Here are some promising horror movie concepts I came up with:
Death Toaster: It's a toaster. THAT TELLS YOU WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. Hapless, photogenic teenagers come upon a cursed toaster that dooms them to a horrible death, as well as a dull breakfast.
Curse of the Fortune Cookie: At a popular chinese restaurant, they're serving dumpings... with a side of DOOOOM. Each meal ends with a cursed fortune cookie that TELLS YOU WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DIE... IN BED!
Donut of Doom: A delicious jelly donut that squirts jelly in such a way that TELLS YOU WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO... you know what, I'm sorry -- I just can't do this anymore. Cursed donuts are too stupid, even for me. At this point, I'm pretty sure that sniffing glue is my best entertainment option.
September 24, 2007
Movie Review: Good Luck Chuck
The immovable object versus the irresistible force. An omnipotent God versus a stone so heavy even He cannot lift it. Jessica Alba versus Dane Cook.
Allow me to explain, Cheesehead Lincoln. Good Luck Chuck is the latest in a series of Hollywood films that explore a philosophical conundrum known as the irresistible force paradox. In this particular implementation, we have a woman (Alba) so irresistible no man can take his eyes off her... and a man so repulsive (Cook) it's impossible to for anyone look at him. And they both appear on screen at the very same time!
The result is a movie that is both unwatchable AND ridiculously compelling. Sort of like a Tijuana Donkey Show. But less sophisticated.
The plot of the movie is utterly trite and unworthy of recapitulation. Alba spends most of the film taking her clothes off and smashing her head into things. The latter is intended to funny, the former is intended to be AWESOME. But only one of these two intentions is realized. I'll leave it to you, The Very Clever Joey Headset Reader, to figure out which one it is. Here's a clue:
OMG JESSICA ALBA IN HER UNDERWEAR SO AWESOME !111!111ELEVEN!!1
Whereas undressed Jessica Alba provides first rate cinematic eye candy, leading man Dane Cook has the opposite effect on male viewers. On the big screen, Cook's face has roughly the same effect that chemical castration is supposed to have on child molesters. Speaking of child molesters, Dane Cook's acting ability rivals that of the To Catch a Predator guys who claim they were "just there to talk".
Of course, there is one thing that Cook and Alba have in common: neither of them are funny. At all. I mean, not even a little bit. For Alba, this isn't a problem. She's hot, so no one expects her to be funny. Dane Cook, however, is billed as a "comedian". Again, not so much. The funniest thing he does in this film is get hit in the nuts by a wild assortment of projectiles. But ANYONE can make you laugh by getting smashed in the crotch. For example, nobody would accuse Senator John Kerry of being a Laff Riot, but if I dropped a bowling ball onto his nads, you better believe that hilarity would ensure! The mark of a true comedic craftsman is the ability to make people laugh WITHOUT sacrificing the man-sack. In this regard, Dane Cook is woefully ill-equipped (both in the comedic ability and the man-sack department).
Eventually, some clever internet person will re-edit Good Luck Chuck so that all you ever see on screen is Jessica Alba. All images of Dane Cook will be replaced by... I dunno, maybe more images of Alba? If they could figure out a way to have her make-out WITH HERSELF, this might become the greatest movie of all time! Until then, I can only give this film 3 Joeys... plus a complementary bag of chips.
September 01, 2007
This Week in Revenge Fantasies
I'm an American, God dammit. And, like most Americans, I don't get mad. I get even.
Well. I don't really get even very often. But I spend a lot of time thinking about getting even. Perfect example: just last week, this assbag in an SUV jacked a sweet parking space from me in the Olive Garden parking lot. I didn't say anything to him. But I've spent every waking hour since thinking about RUNNING HIS STUPID ASS OVER WITH HIS OWN SUV AND THEN STOMPING ON HIS STUPID FUCKING FACE!!!!!
This is perfectly natural. The only thing more American than revenge itself is a good old fashioned REVENGE FANTASY. As usual, Hollywood is on top of the national zeitgeist. Theaters are currently offering a variety of films that appeal to the ass-kicking, name-taking, first-shooting, later-question-asking vigilante in each of us. But which cinematic revenge fantasy is right for you? Let's take a look.
Cast: Jet Li, Jason Statham
Motivation for Revenge: FBI Agent Must avenge the brutal murder of his partner.
Means of Revenge: Kung Fu. Gunplay. Luring enemy into one of the film's massive and deadly plot holes.
Will Appeal to...: British FBI Agents with madd Kung Fu skills and a recently murdered partner. People with a few hours to kill in the middle of the afternoon.
Film: Death Sentence
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Aisha Tyler, John Goodman
Motivation for Revenge: Dull suburbanite businessman Nick Hume must transform himself into a murderous bad-ass in order to Protect His Family. Middle aged white guy proceeds to slaughter heavily armed drug gang.
Means of Revenge: Knives. Guns. Rage (as substitute for actual combat training).
Will Appeal to...: Very angry people. Very stupid people. People who can deliberately shut off the part of their brain that considers whether something makes sense.
Film: The Brave One
Cast: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard
Motivation for Revenge: Jodie's fiancee beaten to death by ethnic bad guys (for no particular reason, cuz that's how ethnic bad guys ROLL).
Means of Revenge: Girl power! White power! Also guns.
Will Appeal to...: Militant lesbians. Slightly less militant lesbians. People who were actually able to sit through that Jennifer Lopez movie with roughly the same plot.
Film: Mr. Bean's Holiday
Cast: Rowan Atkinson
Motivation for Revenge: A group of filmmakers construct mind-numbing, insipid "comedy". Their reasons for inflicting this abhorrent film upon audiences remain a mystery.
Means of Revenge: This film.
Will Appeal to...: n/a
August 01, 2006
Movie Review: Miami Vice
Here's the concept: take everything that was great about Miami Vice, a popular TV show from the 80's, and set it in present day Miami. It's a solid concept, with only one notable flaw. In order to illustrate this flaw, allow me to list all the good qualities of original series:
List of things that were awesome about Miami Vice, the TV Show:
Synth-tastic Theme Song
Looking over this list, a few things become clear. First of all: sex and violence are just as awesome today as they were circa 1984, when the show debuted. Especially violence -- though you wouldn't know it looking at the current roster of network crime dramas. Despite the endless protestations of "cultural critics", cop shows of the 80s were far more violent than current franchises such as CSI. In my opinion, this is a crying shame. Honestly, what would you prefer to see? A team of Science Cops who build a case against criminals by meticulously gathering and analyzing physical evidence... or two badass hombres who chase down criminals in fast cars and then SHOOT THEM IN THE FACE. I like to see bodily fluids on TV as much as the next guy, but I prefer seeing them fresh - streaming out of the bullet-ridden torso of a drug dealer. Watching those same fluids get scraped off the wall and into a sample jar hours after the fact just doesn't do it for me.
However, Hollywood doesn't need to license some dusty old cop show just to cram a movie full of lurid sex and brutal violence. Obviously. Anyway, it's much cheaper to license video games for this purpose. Just ask Uwe Boll.
So if sex and violence alone aren't enough to justify making a feature film from Miami Vice, what does that leave? There's Jan Hammer's classic theme song... but that's not actually featured in the movie.
A missed opportunity, if you ask me, but I respect their decision. Replacing a classic musical theme with random hip hop tracks that 2nd rate rappers didn't think were good enough to put on their own albums seems like a winning strategy. Seriously.
Without the theme song, there's only one thing left: Retro-80s-Flavor. Miami Vice, the TV show, was a super-concentrated dose of 80s culture. The clothes, the drugs, the hairstyles... the drugs -- all Totally 80s. In fact, Miami Vice is so 80's, watching reruns today makes me wonder if the program was even filmed on this planet. There's an alien quality to it... sort of an Alternate Reality thing going on. The show is practically Science Fiction. For instance, in one of my favorite episodes, Don Johnson goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of white supremacists. In doing so, he approaches the gang wearing a pink sportcoat -- and they welcome him with open and very racist arms! In what universe do white supremacists wear pastels? Not this one, that's for sure. Miami Vice was set in some sort of hyper-80s parallel universe... and that's why we love it.
Miami Vice, the motion picture, is set in present day Miami. As such, it's just another cop movie, just another old TV show turned into a mediocre film property. Though the film does include visual references to the original show, the effect is banal and disappointing. Therefore, I award it only three Joeys... and they're not even pastel.
July 13, 2006
Movie Review: Little Man
I'm sure you've seen ads for this film. It features the Wayans brothers, one of whom plays a "little man" who pretends to be a baby. The other one gets hit in the head a lot. If you're unfamiliar, check out the trailer.
For this review, we're going to try something a little different.
Usually, when I decide to review a movie, I go and see the movie first... then I come back and tell you how much I hated it. Though I have not yet seen Little Man, I'm going to go ahead and give it 10 Joeys. That's an excellent rating! I must really like this movie.
(Those are actually Little Joeys, but they count the same as the regularly sized ones.)
OK. Now that I've given this movie a positive rating, it is incumbent upon me to go and see it. And when I see it, I must FORCE MYSELF to enjoy it as much as I just told you I enjoyed it. Otherwise, this review would be stupid and pointless. The trouble is, I'm not the sort of person who "likes things" or "finds things funny". It may take a few viewings before I come around on this movie, but I'm confident I will. Just to keep myself honest, I'll post updates after each screening.
UPDATE #1: Just saw Little Man. I feel dirty. It had a midget dressed as a baby, for chrissakes, how could it be this bad? SO MANY PEE AND POO JOKES. I'm never going to use to the bathroom again. Well, maybe its the sort of comedy that grows on you. I'm sure I'll like it better the second time.
UPDATE #2: Not so much. I'm totally screwed. Next time, I'm going to get really drunk before I see the movie. Maybe then I'll think its funny!
UPDATE #3: Yeah, I got thrown out of the theater. The booze didn't improve my enjoyment of the film, but it did inspire me to VOCALIZE my lack-of-enjoyment. Though I'm not really into marijuana, I've heard that people who get stoned think everything is hilarious. I know what I have to do next.
UPDATE #4: Is weed supposed to smell like cilantro? I smoked an entire bag of this stuff before seeing the movie and all it did was make me wish I had some fresh tomato salsa! I think that pot-dealer I met in the Taco Bell parking lot TOTALLY RIPPED ME OFF. (BTW, Little Man still sucks). Time to move onto the Class A drugs.
UPDATE #5: Heroin, crank, crystal meth, Scientology... I've put every mind altering substance I can get my hands on into my body. IT DOESN'T HELP. There's no way to alter my mind into thinking this piece of crap movie is worth watching. If only there were some way to massively decrease my (already limited) intelligence! That's the only way to make Little Man watchable.
UPDATE #6: WOOHOO! I did it! Turns out if you huff industrial solvents while watching reruns of Blue Collar TV, you can make yourself stupid enough to like anything that doesn't involve reading... Little Man included! Let's just hope the effects are temporary.
June 22, 2006
Movie Review: Click
In Click, Adam Sandler plays [the same character he plays in every movie], a family man who learns to control time with a magic remote control. After seeing this movie, I wished that I had my very own magic remote control! Just think of all the cool things I could do with it...
For instance, if I had a magical time-controlling remote, I could have brought it to the theater when I went to see Click. After the first five minutes, I'd have fast forwarded through the rest of it, thereby sparing myself 93 minutes of insipid boredom. Alternately, I could have rewound time back to when I decided to go see the movie. At that moment, I could have hit the pause button, kicked myself in the nuts and hoped that the pain would distract me enough to make me forget about the movie.
Of course, there are countless ways I could achieve the same result... if I had a time-controlling remote. I could zip further back in time, back to when screenwriters Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe started writing Click -- and try to convince them that "Some Guy Gets a Magic Remote" is not a comedic premise worthy of a feature film. Either that, or I could kill them in their sleep. Better yet, I could rewind even further back to when Koren and O'Keefe started writing Bruce Almighty, a movie with the EXACT SAME PLOT as Click, except Jim Carey is the one who gets wacky magical powers (sans remote). Then, I could smash their fingers with a brick, exponentially reducing their BAD SCREENPLAY typing ability.
But why stop there? I could go back to the 80s, when Adam Sandler was nothing more than a mediocre stand-up comedian, before he was "discovered" by Dennis Miller in Los Angeles. By hunting down Miller and strangling him with some piano wire, I could prevent Sandler from ever appearing on Saturday Night Live, thusly aborting his abomination of an acting career. Though, now that I think of it, if I tracked down Dennis Miller's father in the 1940s and cut off the man's testicles, I could prevent Dennis from ever being born. This would not only prevent Adam Sandler from starring in movies, but it would also benefit society by erasing the existence of that smarmy, arrogant fuckwit, Dennis Miller.
Sadly, magical remote controls don't actually exist. Yet. But there is good news! You don't need lame plot devices to avoid another stupid Adam Sandler movie. All you need is a little good sense. If that doesn't work, I could always come over to your place and kick you in the crotch. Seriously, I'd be happy to do it.
March 21, 2006
Movie Review: Larry the Cable Guy, Health Inspector
Everybody responsible for making this movie should be lined up and shot.
Except for the film's Production Assistant, Tighe Arnold. For him, a savage beating will suffice.
March 09, 2006
Movie Review: Ultraviolet
More like... ultra-VIOLENT. HAHAHAHA! Get it?
SHUT UP YOUR JOKES ARE STUPID TOO.
Ultraviolet stars Milla Jovovich as a genetically engineered badass supersolder from the future. An interesting casting choice, but also a risky one. Sure, we all know Jovovich can play a genetically engineered badass angelic evil-fighter from the future, as she did in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. And she obviously knows how to play a genetically engineered badass zombie fighter from the future, as she did in Resident Evil 2. But Milla playing a genetically engineered badass supersolder (from the future)? I don't know... that's a bit of a stretch.
As for the plot, it's the oldest story in the world: Boy creates (supersoldier) Girl, Boy loses control of Girl, Boy tries to exterminate Girl, Boy gets brutally murdered by Girl. And they all live happily ever-after! Except for the Boy, who is dead.
After all this time, you'd think movie villians would have learned that supersoldiers never work out as a means of world domination. If history serves as a guide, one really doesn't NEED supersoldiers to take over the world. Since the dawn of time, conquerors have conducted successful military campaigns using nothing but regular (non-genetically altered) human warriors. And sorcerery. If anything, supersoldiers tend to bring would-be conquerors down. Napoleon's decision to use cybernetically enhanced troops at the Battle of Waterloo seemed like a good idea at the time, but it didn't turn out so well. And Hitler was doing just fine until he injected his Sturmtruppen with a mixture of meth-amphetamine and albino yak DNA. Simply put, supersoldiers are a BAD IDEA.
Yet... for movie-goers, they are a pretty good idea - particularly when they carry swords and wear skin-tight, midriff-exposing fatigues. In this regard, Ultraviolet does not disappoint. Therefore I am happy to award this film one Joey... one genetically altered SUPERJOEY with a ninja sword!
January 25, 2006
Movie Review: Big Mamma's House 2
Now this is a quality motion picture!
I could write at least 10,000 words on the unmitigated AWESOMENESS of Big Mamma's House 2, starring Martin Lawrence. But I won't. Instead, I will allow my professional film critic colleagues to tell the story for me. Seldom have critics been so united in their praise... just read these quotes:
"If you see only one sequel to Big Mamma's House this winter, see Big Mamma's House 2!"
Brittany Duplieux, Bucktown Gazette
"So funny, I peed my pants!"
Stuart Moony, Incontinence Support Society Newsletter
"Whereas Raja Gosnell's original film was a keen existentialist romp, John Whitesell's sequel is a sophisticated exploration of race and sexuality in 21st Century America."
Federico Torroni, Pretentious Jackass Monthly
"A solid effort... could have used more fat jokes."
Carla Stevens, Fat Joke Aficionado
"I like tha part were he got dress up like a big fat ladie!!!"
Billy Stoker, Clark County Middle School Bulletin
"Funnier than anything I've done."
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
"Two stumps up!"
Jerry Blondel, Amputee's Weekly
"You've got to be fucking kidding me."
Joey Headset, some stupid ass website.
December 20, 2005
Movie Review: Brokeback Mountain
Once again, I have been ripped off at the movies.
In the promotional campaign for Brokeback Mountain, Paramount Pictures promised me gay cowboys. When I showed up at the theater and payed my $10... I excepted to see two solid hours of gay cowboy entertainment.
However... these are NOT gay cowboys:
In this film, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllynhhll are bi-curious cowboys. At best.
...are gay cowboys.
Until the studios "cowboy up" and present the movie-going public with the real gay cowboy experience we deserve, I can only give them 3 Joeys (two regular Joeys, plus one Pink Joey in a Cowboy Hat).
November 02, 2005
Movie Review: Doom
What do you get when you spell Doom backwards? Mood. Specifically, you get a very BAD mood - the sort of mood that only comes from knowing that you just wasted time and money on a total piece of crap. Walking into the theater, I had such high hopes for Doom... I really couldn't have anticipated the brutal disappointment I would be feeling when I left.
It started off well enough. I brought my own wireless Logitech controller to the theater. I didn't know how many controller ports the movie theater was equipped with, and I sure as hell didn't want to share with anyone. And it was a damn good thing I brought it, since I couldn't see one single plug-in port anywhere in the aisles! I was afraid that with everyone trying to play at once, they'd have to split the screen up into so many different windows that the frame rate would take a massive hit. Since I was the only one who bothered to bring a wireless unit, I got the whole screen to myself! I guess everyone else in the theater was happy to just sit there watch me play. Go figure.
After a bunch of ads, I was able to start a new game. The intro cinematics were pretty spectacular. I don't know what graphics engine they used for this, but everything looked amazing. All the textures had impressive levels of detail, animations were smooth and life-like - they must have gotten actors to do motion capture for a lot of the sequences. My only complaint was with the avatar for Sarge - the character you play for most of the game. I know they made a big deal about how The Rock was doing the voice for this character, and I guess that's why they wanted to make Sarge look like The Rock. They came close, but didn't quite get it right. Something about his face and the shape of his head just didn't look entirely natural. It seemed like a pretty lame place to skimp on the polygon count. Other than this, though, the graphics were awesome. It was like watching a movie!
As good as these cinematics were, however, they went on WAY TOO LONG. Usually, they will let you skip past the cut-scenes by pressing the select button (sometimes the start button), but I must have hit just about every button on my controller about 50 times, and it didn't do a damn thing. You are just forced to sit there and watch the whole thing. That's just lame.
Despite all this, I could have looked past the maddeningly lengthy cut-scenes in Doom if the gameplay had been solid. Unfortunately, the controls were totally unresponsive. I would try to turn left, my character would turn right. I'd attempt to strafe into a doorway, my character would do some crazy backflip through the door. Half the time, it didn't even feel like I was playing - the controls were that bad. I just about threw my controller at the screen, but that thing was expensive, so instead I threw popcorn at the people in front of me (which not only pissed off the people in front of me, but also the person sitting next to me, since it was her popcorn).
Though the controls were awful, I was still able to beat Doom in less than two hours. What can I say - I've got MADD SKILLZ and have been known to PWN even the toughest games. After I beat the game, I figured I could at least get in on some multiplayer action, but I couldn't find any option for online play. Total ripoff.
Ultimately, Doom proves that slick graphics and big-name voice acting are just not enough to make a great game. As such, I can only give it one and a half Joeys.
October 07, 2005
Movie Review: Elizabethtown
In director Cameron Crowe's new film, Elizabethtown, most of the plot revolves around Kirsten Dunst, who goes by some other name in the movie. I didn't catch the name, it may have been Carla or Clara or something like that. In the movie, Dunst is there, mostly being adorable and stuff. She wears different outfits in the movie, so you get to see different looks from her - not always the same look. All the different looks are totally adorable, which is the important thing here. If she only looked cute in one of the outfits, then they would have been better off just leaving her in that outfit. But since she looked good in all of the clothes they had her wearing, it was OK that they had her change clothes during the movie. She even wears a stewardess outfit which is totally hot.
Anyway, a lot of different stuff goes on in the movie, some of it happening in this town where a bunch of people live. I think the place was actually called "Elizabethtown" which is also the name of the movie! So the town is "chock full" of wacky people who try to be funny a lot, but aren't all that funny and aren't nearly as adorable as Kirsten Dunst is. After the town, there is this guy who drives around in a car for awhile, listening to some radio station where Kirsten is supposed to be the DJ I think. This was the worst part of the movie because it's just this dude driving around, and you don't see much of Kirsten because she's only talking on the radio. And it doesn't make sense anyway because girls who sound cute on the radio are never all that cute in real life, so why would Kirsten Dunst work for a radio station when she's totally adorable and she's supposed to be working as a stewardess anyway? She looked HOT as a stewardess.
So the guy drives around, then meets up with Kirsten again, and they make out for a while. And that's pretty much the movie.
In my opinion, this movie was OK, but not as good as it could have been, so I'll give it three and a half Joeys.
Elizabethtown opens October 14.