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Monthly Archives: December 2010

New Years Resolution: Use Common Sense

As 2011 rapidly approaches, lets give a moment to ponder New Years Resolutions.  Sure, it”d be great to get more exercise or volunteer for a charitable cause, but I’d like to make an appeal for everyone to make better use of common sense.  Common sense is super easy to use, and it’s never to late to start using it – meaning, if you catch yourself doing something stupid, you can stop doing it, think for a second, and come up with a smarter way to do it.

Here’s a good example, brought to you by the City of New York:

Now I do feel bad for the geniuses behind this car crushing episode because you know this is going to get somebody fired – this video has been all over the place, and there will be consequences.  But as mentioned – does the city really not have tire chains for snow removal?  And wasn’t there another strategy that would have kept those other cars from getting destroyed?  I know its important to get the streets cleared for emergency vehicles as soon as possible, but let’s use our heads here for a second; don’t you, as a rational person, realize at some point you’re doing something dumb in front of a half dozen witnesses?  It’s the 21st Century – you have to assume that at least one in six people has the capability to film everything you’re doing.  There has to be a second where a thought flashes through your brain:  “Hmm, I’m not going to come out of this looking very competent.”  There’s being bad at your job, and then there’s being bad at your job while a siren is blasting, announcing to anyone within earshot that you’re working and your crushing private property because you, in fact, suck at your job.

So the next time you ride an exit lane until the end and then merge back into traffic or make a big mess in the kitchen at work, stop and think for a second: “If anyone knew I did this, would they think I was a jackass?”  If the answer is yes, then don’t do it, clean it up, and don’t crush private property.

Happy New Year!

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Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Assemble your editing team!

I feel I’ve seen more than enough episodes to weigh in on Disney XD’s Avengers:  Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – frankly, I’m pretty happy with it.  Sure, it’s melodramatic, doesn’t necessarily follow strict Marvel cannon and can be melodramatic at times, but it’s got all the elements of a good action-adventure show.  Well… Captain America says ‘soldier’ waaaaaaaaaaay too much.  Way too much. But otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the show – accept for this:

Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes intro lower manhattan on fire

"Uhm..."


I already mentioned
that the theme song is awful and they should have went with an instrumental like Justice League did (or Justice League Unlimited, for that matter), but wow…   what does this imagine look like to you?  Believe me, I understand that Marvel Comics in large part takes place in Manhattan.  I get it!  But does this awful image of lower Manhattan on fire really need to proceed the worst theme song imaginable?  I don’t think so.

So that’s my fix list (so far) for season 2 – ditch the singer, ditch the imagery of lower Manhattan on fire.  After that, it’s all good.  Assemble your editing team!

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – It’s Not Funny Anymore

Now we’ve all had a good time making fun of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark since we heard about it in the early 2000s and it only got funnier when they took over the Foxwoods Theatre way back in 2007 (was it even called the Foxwoods Theatre back then?) and nothing happened.  Finally, $65 million dollars and many years later, the show was slowly sputtering toward an opening date in late 2010, which is now set back to February 2011, even after a concussion and two broken wrists, which is when everybody stopped smiling.  Now, another actor got hurt while performing the Spider-Man musical, and ‘it’s not funny any more’ kinda goes without saying.  I haven’t been able to find anything too concrete, by right now the NY Times is saying the actor, “sustained broken ribs and suffered some internal bleeding.”  When EMS brought him out of the theater on a stretcher, “He acknowledged the crowd, which clapped for him before an ambulance took him away,” so at least he was conscious and although no one is saying so yet, it sounds like he’ll make a recovery, but this is just too much.  I can’t even make off color jokes about this – there’s risky and then there’s dangerous. How many more accidents are they allowed to have before this show gets shut down?  This is at least their third injury, if not the fourth – are we playing t-ball five strike rules?  (OK, I had one crappy joke in me.)

But it all comes down to the money, doesn’t it?  There’s just too much money invested in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and I’m starting to think that nothing short of a death will stop this thing.  I don’t think I’m getting carried away, either; big budget Broadway blunders (say that three times fast) usually account for when they can’t get Titanic to sink or the helicopter in Miss Saigon to fly, but this is different.  People are getting hurt and I can’t imagine the stress this is putting on the folks involved, not to mention the damage to their careers.  I know I’m asking a lot when I say, “Hey, the show sucks from a creative standpoint and everybody knows it, and people are getting hurt – it’s time to shut this down,” but miracles can happen.  It’s the holiday season!  If you pray, then pray they shut this down; it’s the miracle 42nd Street desperately needs.

Fear and Loathing in Hollywood, California – Red Riding Hood trailer

As if further proof was needed that Hollywood had completely lost it’s way and it’s courage, they send us, right on cue, the trailer for Red Riding Hood, a pathetic Twilight copy in a period piece/known property’s disguise.

Want more proof?  The Coen Brothers’ update on True Grit will be under the proverbial Christmas Tree this year.  Sure, I like the Coen Brothers’ movies, and I’ll see anything with Jeff Bridges, but do we really need this movie?  Didn’t we say all we needed to say with the first True Grit?  Are they going to remake Rooster Cogburn, too?  They may as well; it’s pretty much the same movie.  Yet I’ll end up plunking down cash for this one, so my point is a bit lost.

I guess I’m hoping that Hollywood will step up and take some genuine risks instead of making Avatar 2.  I’m not going to hold my breath.

Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit YouTube Video Makes Wicker Man Seem Funnier Than It Really Is

After watching Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit on YouTube, I had to check in with some associated videos to learn where some of the more ridiculous scenes came from The Wicker Man.  I couldn’t resist – I actually watched The Wicker Man from start to finish, and in context, the scenes aren’t quite as funny as they are when edited together in the aforementioned video…  instead, the highlights we’re shown from The Wicker Man seem like a string of bad film making decisions.

If you’re not familiar with The Wicker Man, here’s a crash course.

spoiler alert

It’s a remake of a good movie from 1973 directed by Robin Hardy and starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland.  The 2006 version is directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn and Kate Beahan.  The movie chronicles a California motorcycle cop’s (Mr. Cage) nonsensical, frustrating (for the audience, not just for Mr. Cage’s character) and at times boring journey.  Mr. Cage’s character witnesses a horrible accident involving a station wagon he’s just pulled over and a tractor trailer.  The station wagon bursts into flames after the collision, and Mr. Cage’s character is unable to rescue the little blond girl inside.  During his recovery from this, he begins having waking (and… uhm, you know, sleeping) dreams about the little girl, after which are over he takes some nondescript pills that are never explained.  Another cop comes by to visit him at his house and mentions that no bodies were found in the flaming wreckage and the car was not registered.  Then he gets a letter from a former fiance asking him to come to the weird farming commune island she lives on off the coast of Washington to help her find her missing daughter.  He begs a ride off the guy that flies in the imports/exports and starts asking questions, making no effort to be even slightly civil with the weird women he encounters or their strange drone like men who do not speak.  (The female dominated society is a queen bee/worker drone metaphor kinda thing!  With no talking for men!)  He essentially yells all of his questions and if the women don’t answer, don’t give him the answer he wants or don’t answer fast enough, he asks again, louder.  The women try to point out that he’s not in California and has no jurisdiction in Washington on their private property, but he quickly dismisses this as irrelevant.

There’s lots of meaningless double speak; first, the women won’t even admit the girl exists.  Then he finds the girl’s name in the school attendance records.  The teacher admits that the girl is what Cage’s character would consider dead (yeah, they believe in some sort of transferring spirit world thingy that is never explained) and she’s buried in an old abandoned church grave yard, as per the mother’s wishes.  Mr. Cage’s character is pretty sure the girl was burned to death, sacrificed for the harvest… or something.  Later, he gets permission to exhume the body, but all he finds is a burnt doll.  (Hence:  “How’d it get burned?  How’d it get burned?  How’d it get burned?  How’d it get burned?”)  Since he’s been on the island, he keeps thinking he sees or hears the girl, and this happens again; he ends up in the church’s basement, which is mostly flooded, and someone locks him down there over night.  Somehow, he doesn’t drown, which is a huge stroke of luck for both him and the ladies.  Finally his former fiance lets him out in the morning.  Convinced the girl is still alive and will be sacrificed at the harvest festival, Cage punches a woman in the face and steals her bear costume.  (Yes, you read that right, but let me convey that again, just so you are clear that this is what really happens in the movie:  he punches a woman in the face and steals her bear costume!!!)  On cue, the ladies and drone-men put the girl on a pyre, but Cage runs up in his disguise, punches another woman in the face and runs off with the girl.  They run through the woods for a while until they come to a clearing, and the girl gets too far ahead for him to keep up – she’s a fast little girl!  All the towns people are there and the girl runs to them, and the little girl asks her mom if she did it right… led him here, she means.  They reveal to cage that they are sacrificing him in accordance to their ritual.  Somehow, they got the bullets out of his gun… which is weird, because he checked his gun after the last time they would have had access to it.  First they break his legs, have a bunch of bees sting him, then they put him in a giant wicker tower and burn him  and some animals alive.  They seem to allude that his former fiance had just left the island to get pregnant; she was never running away.  Perhaps they’re also saying that the car from the accident didn’t have any bodies and was unregistered because they planned that too, somehow, so he’d be more likely to come to the island to try and save the little girl after he failed save a different little girl and as per the ritual, he had to come to the island of his own free will… or something.  Anyway, that’s how the movie ends, with him burning to death.  Imagine we could all get a fictional turn burning Nick Cage to death?!?  That’d be something.

That’s not to say there aren’t any laughs In the Wicker Man, because there are.  Nicholas Cage punching women in the face (or kicking them in the chest), running around in a bear costume, most of the dialogue spoken in scenes that take place on the island is generally funny…  There are also those deliberate movie gags that are supposed to be scary but aren ‘t.  He’s walking around in the upstairs part of a barn and falls through the floor and holds on for dear life until he drags himself back to the elevated level’s floor.  Why the barn floor gave way, I have no idea.  The barn, like the rest of the buildings on the island, seem to be in good order…  he imagines he sees the car crash from the highway hitting a little girl on the ferry…  he wakes up from a dream and he’s holding the girl’s drowned body, but then he really wakes up… lame.

I do think it’s worth mentioning that for all of Mr. Cage’s yelling, “They’re in my eyes!  Ah!  My eyes!” there are, in fact, no bees in his eyes.  Maybe he meant to say that he could see the bees with his eyes…  Ugh, this movie sucks.  I can, at least, see things with my eyes:  Nicholas Cage sucking at acting.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie review

I finally got around to seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), so it’s movie review time.  I saw it in IMAX (but thankfully not in 3D), and I have to say I strongly recommend the experience…  well, I could do without the whole “YOU’RE WATCHING A MOVIE IN IMAX!” thing and I certainly am not a fan of the $17 per ticket price we paid, but there it is.  The sound and image were outstanding, and both were friggin huge!

It’s hard to rate a movie when it’s in the middle of the story… but as far as novel adaptations go, this is a good one, and when it comes to adapting half of a novel into a cliff hanger, this movie does the job in spades.  The movie isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the better adaptations of any of the Harry Potter books so far, and it’s a fine movie, despite its unresolved plot lines and cliff hanger ending.  As always, the performances are solid:   Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and  Rupert Grint give the performances we’ve come to expect from them since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.   David Yates does a great job as director and the beautiful filming of Eduardo Serra looks great in IMAX – and lets not forget to mention the editing of Mark Day, who did a much better job than the novel did of keeping the film from dragging while the gang is out on the run in the tent. Read the rest of this entry

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