The Wrestler (2008)

Much ballyhoo'd return to grace for Mickey Rourke, it is everything the hype machine claims it to be, and more, for cheap quotable praises are all too easily given away these days. With that out of the way, I will go on record as saying that the last film I saw in 2008 was also the year's best for me. Granted, there was MUCH I didn't see this year, and this assessment is based on a very small sample size of current film. However, Darren Aronofsky's film did for me what so few modern films achieve: it made me feel, it reminded me that I, too, am a human being. Whether or not that is the ultimate goal of all film, or whether that should be a yardstick by which to measure a film's success, is another post altogether.

The wrestler and the stripper are symbols, as obvious as it may seem, for those who rely solely on their bodies for their living and as their bodies begin to fail them, so goes their worth in the world. As each grows older, and the form is stripped away, all that is very apparently left is the soul and the innate need to be loved, wanted, needed, simply not to be alone. Aronofsky eschews all sentimentality, though, in favour of raw emotion, of small lives laid bare and lived large, of characters who are legends in their own mind, but who ultimately come to the terrifying, soul-crushing, and ultimately redemptive and profoundly human realization that this...is...it. Facing the void. But being too stubborn or dumb to turn away. This small spark is all we have and we must clutch the spark, protect it, never let it go out. As long as we have that tiny spark inside of us, then the soul of man can never die. Instead of throwing in the towel, the characters soldier on, absurdly and beautifully. Just go see it (at the cinema, yes). The final scene alone is worth the price of a million bleeding hearts, and the rest of the film is just as good.

The Wrestler breathes, it bleeds, it weeps; it is broken, it sins, and it forgives. It simultaneously revels in the absurdity of human life and shows why that life is worth living. A more powerful and affecting film I have not seen in a long, long time.


Dropkick gets into The Spirit of the season

ok look,
I love shitty movies. I do, that's my thing.
I mean, it's not my only thing. I like a lot of quality flicks too, it's just that i get all gitty about the crap. I mean the real horrid crap.
I LOVE Doom, I LOVE Speed Racer, I LOVE The Rundown, I LOVE Cool World.
When i want to relax and be entertained i throw on a Spiderman or a Star War, not a Herzog film.
So when I woke up on Christmas morning and read the reviews for The Spirit i was ecstatic.

A quick search on Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes will show you, it is one of the worst reviewed films of the year.
Roger Ebert says "There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material"
Rotten Tomatoes has The Spirit at 15% of freshness, while metacritic has The Spirit at 33% out of a possible 100% in... goodness.

All these poor reviews only made me want to watch it more. I learned soon after watching Speed Racer that complete escapism isn't well received nowadays. I don't know if it ever was. But highly stylized escapism, no substance - that's the kinda flick i get going about. Flicks like these are the cult favorites of tomorrow. And that's what the Spirit is. Yeah, it's a piece of shit now but in 20 years people are gonna be watching this at midnight in rundown cinemas yelling out lines and cheering and throwing their own poop at the screen.

It's a flick with absolutely no redeeming qualities.
The acting is shite, the "directing" is totally shite, the plot is complete shite, and the look of the film was just borrowed from Sin City - The other film Frank Miller directed.
Funny because this film plays much like a Sin City yarn, only longer... much longer and less hard boiled.

What makes this flick so gosh darn unique is the absurdity of the whole thing. Why is our hero an unlikeable womanizing detective who is in love with his city? Why is Samuel Jackson giving an over dramatic monologue in a Nazi uniform while Scarlett Johansson, also in Nazi uniform, keeps piping in standing in front of a giant photo of Hitler? Why are all the women barely clothed? Why is Sam Jackson dressed as a cowboy? Why is Eva Mendez photocopying her ass? Why is The Spirit making out with the angel of death? Why is Jackson now a samurai with giant sideburns? What in the hell is happening in this movie anyways?

Hey, i paid 13 bucks to watch this thing and still have no answers.

The Spirit is based on an old Detective serial from the 40's, much like Dick Tracy it follows a detective solving crimes and romancing the "dames". What Miller has done here seems to deviate from the original comic. Although I've never read it myself I knew it WASN'T about a guy who died and woke up days later in his coffin with superpowers which is what this film is about. Here The Spirit is invincible and curiously enough his arch nemesis "The Octopus" (played by the craziest Samuel L. Jackson doing Samuel L. Jackson ever committed to film) also has the same power. The story is split between The Spirit wanting to know the why of his resurrection and him tracking down his lost childhood love Sand Seref (played by the bust busting Eva Mendez) who has become involved in the affairs, mistakenly, between Spirit and Octo... i think. It is, much like Frank Millers comic work, a love letter to film and pulp noir. If you focus on those elements of the film there's some fun to be had but Miller decides to also make this film a parody on detective serials, and comic book superheroes in general. Now that sounds intriguing but combined with all these different elements the film falls flat of successfully being a tribute or parody of any genre.
Instead the film becomes completely flat lined, a low steady hum that never changes its tone. This will drive most people who see this film insane.
But if you enjoy hanging around Central City (the mythic metropolis the story takes place in) and the hyper stylized noir campy world it embodies, you'll feel a little out of place but you'll know there are worse places you could be. *cough* Twilight

I say pass until the dvd release and then rent it from us. it will be most enjoyed if aged 10-20 years though so don't get too anxious.

With Love,
Kid Kadar


A challenge....

Buffians.... I hereby issue you a 2009 challenge - Unearth a film masterpiece – In the early throes of '09 I'm proposing we go on a treasure hunt. Using what ever aids, sources and research tools you can think of to discover an unheralded movie masterpiece. It can be new, old, foreign, short, feature, doc, kids film, porno or anything else provided it was intended to be viewed on film.

I'll kick in $200 with each taker adding $20 of their own. Winner takes all. You have the month of January to complete your search and in early February, we'll show each piece (over several days if necessary) at Segredos. We'll vote by secret ballot and declare the winner.

I can assist in tracking down odd titles if need be but will be participating as well. Mike Brown has an extensive collection and access to other collectors and has agreed to help if he can.

Who's interested? We'll need at least 4 or 5 to make it worthwhile.


As good as it gets.

Quality in film is a subjective matter. Cinema, for the most part, tends to be a product of its time, its topicality relevant to the moment and rarely universal. Most genre pictures fall distinctly into this category with comedies stale-dating faster than donuts and thrillers not far behind. It is a rarity to find a film that translates ahead in time and retains its relevance with future audiences. As a result, only the best that cinema has to offer tends to be remembered generation to generation. We tend to compare these standout films from the past with the entire cross section of present day output and overstate the qualities of earlier films as a result. Breakout mainstream movies suffer disproportionately unfair comparisons to earlier works because of intense marketing and awards campaigns designed to increase awareness with the audience.

Film is the assembly of a multitude of components - a script, a director, a cast, producers, technical production, costume and set designers and a host of other people create the work that ends up on the screen. The roles and tools each of these parties have to work with has changed immensely over the years as rudimentary techniques have been replaced with newer ones designed to improve the efficiencies and look of the final product. CGI replaced huge sets and arguably increased the realism and authenticity of many movies. Many films simply couldn't be made without the advent of computer enhancement and design. The best of these CGI reliant films allow modern filmmakers to seamlessly create spectacular set pieces that could only be imagined by earlier directors. Whether this has made cinema better or not lays in the eye of the audience.

The culmination of the grandness of modern CGI enhanced films is probably the LOTR trilogy, a series inconceivable without it. Peter Jackson managed to create believable versions of the Tolkien world in a way considered impossible a mere decade ago. This year's blockbusters The Dark Knight and Iron Man along with countless other films continue to build on the possibilities facilitated by the technical prowess of Hollywood's studios. Only hindsight will tell if these pictures hold up over the years and for future audiences.

At a more basic level, film making outside the mega-budgeted blockbusters has also changed. Screenplays have arguably become harder edged and more deeply steeped in realism. Audiences seem to crave the exploration of darker territory and many recent films have delivered the goods. This year's No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Gone Baby Gone and several others pushed Film Noir conventions in new and unusual directions. Others like The Fall, Paprika, Persepolis, Southland Tales, Micheal Clayton, The Lives of Others and many more offered up new takes on cinematic style and substance. All in all, while mainstream cinema may be in a rough patch in terms of general consistency, a good number of standout films still made their way into theatres.

The 1980's might be a good example of another time where popular culture was in a collective nosedive. While there is precious little to celebrate from this lost decade, a host of films from this period have stood the test of time. Films as diverse and revered as Repo Man, Paris Texas, The Terminator, Raging Bull, Blood Simple, Stranger Than Paradise, Children of a Lesser God, Aliens, Brazil, Platoon, Runaway Train, Akira and The Last Emperor all sprang from perhaps the worst period of 20th American pop culture. Twenty years down the road, we will be able to look back at this period of cinema with the benefit of hindsight and perhaps a different slate of films than we might expect will have aged exceptionally well. Who knows? All I can say for certain is Drop Kick will still be gay and likely hungover.


All right, Kadas - you called down the thunder.....

As the result of my chosen vocation and love of the art form, I tend to synthesize my observations about society through the prism of cinema. As a tool for this task, it probably isn’t terribly effective, beyond articulating the pop-culture trends of the moment, but the correlations and evidence that something of the fantasy worlds created in film are, at least in part, reflections of the time and place in which they were created, seems valid enough.

Popular film making has often oscillated between periods of poignant social commentary and purely escapist fare (think the decline of Film Noir being followed by the mostly pompous trash of the early 60’s) but never before has Hollywood so gracelessly – and exclusively - embraced the vacuous mass-produced and mass-consumed blockbuster as they have come to over the past 10 years. I would go as far to say that American popular film might not recover from the disintegration of traditional cinematic convention that currently pervades the industry. A fundamental shift occurred in Hollywood during the past 30 years and I have yet to hear that trend well articulated - or even acknowledged in some corners.

Quantifying this shift is difficult because it has happened slowly and almost imperceptibly. It might best be illustrated by observing the vast differences between earlier and more current examples of the form. In the case of modern day cinema, to isolate the block of output from, say the early to mid 1970’s and compare that to the output since 2000, could possibly serve to show the trend more obviously and with greater impact than simply following the path chronologically.

It could be argued that the last golden era of Hollywood film making occurred in the period from roughly 1969 to 1974. This period coincided with the final collapse of the traditional Hollywood studio system and the rise of a youthful - and modestly independent – group of auteur/directors. Many American films released during this period are varied yet powerful indictments of the establishment (the Vietnam War and Watergate among the common themes) and the impact that these issues had on the psyche of the American population. It might be further argued that this intensely critical and often almost paranoid period of film making ran its course and served its purpose – offering insights and observations into counterculture and the disintegration of the publics' trust in its institutions and authority. What followed was another Hollywood oscillation into banal fantasy worlds that offered pat answers – Jaws, for example, serving to a) reduce “fear” to the realms of the unknown, and b) eliminate “cause and effect” from “actions and consequences”. The public ate it up, due in no small part to the removal of blame, implication and collective responsibility from the equation. The Conversation, Parallax View and Mean Streets, to name but a few had, just 2 or 3 years earlier, demanded the recognition of causality whereas the pure predatory instinct of a shark did not.

Star Wars, arguably the first true blockbuster in any modern sense, went one step further, facilitating a complete disconnect from reality using the intricate construction of a fantasy universe that required virtually nothing from its audience. The massive success of the Star Wars franchise announced the arrival of form over substance in American film making and the intervening 30 years has involved honing big budget pictures into what they have become today - almost perfect exercises in pacing, momentum and pure escapism. Filmmakers have distilled their product into its purest and most saleable form by draining it of anything that gets in the way of pacing. This evolution finds the typical movie audience often more bombarded than engaged and sadly leaves critical elements of the traditional film experience out of the equation. It should be noted that exceptions to the rule obviously exist and that a number of filmmakers have opted out of this creative cul-de-sac but the vast majority have not. It should be further noted that cinematic history is full of mediocrity and slapdash releases intent on offering nothing more than diversion. What is worth consideration, however, is just how much of present day cinema is devoted to offering little else.

A chicken and egg argument presents itself with regard to Hollywood’s output and that of the audience’s responses and expectations. Have films become inane exercises in hyper-mediocrity because the audience won’t support anything of merit? Drawing parallels to other forms of entertainment – books, television, music and so on, might suggest that filmmakers are simply responding to the market conditions of the day, but I think it’s rather more complicated than that. A better comparison might be to that of the huge expansion of gambling and casinos across North America. It would be hard to conjure up a more useless and destructive form of entertainment then a casino and yet the gambling industry’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. We have evolved into a society that demands instant and perpetual gratification from cradle to grave and film has come to reflect that fact. Film has the ability to provoke analysis and reflection on and about the human condition but unfortunately, it too, has been reduced to a simple commodity to be consumed, discarded and replaced by next weekend’s new big thing. Another pull on the one-armed bandit you could say.

One has to wonder whether American filmmakers can pull out of this creative nosedive or if, in fact, they even recognize that it’s happened. The blame for this creative dilemma needs to be applied to both the filmmakers and the audience. I sure some would argue that the splendidly dull and seamless visual stunts of the latest Bond film or the technical perfection of the next Marvel comic book adaptation is the natural and inevitable course for Hollywood’s dream factory, pointing to the huge box office receipts and critical acclaim that often accompanies these bloated amusement-park-ride flicks. The endless stimulation of video game graphics perhaps is the goal, but it is becoming increasingly evident that the emperor has no clothes. After the camera stops shaking and the sparks fizzle into darkness in the third act’s final display of pyrotechnics what remains is often an audience entertained but not engaged. The Wizards of Oz are exposed for what they are – illusionists without substance hiding behind blue screen wizardry and technical proficiency. The stories remain culled from old comics, TV shows and hack writers of dubious merit stitched together by screenwriters more apt at connecting big set pieces than telling tales.

It’s unlikely that the public will demand better. They are enamored with the simplicity and meekness of current film making. Great film requires more than just passive observation by the viewer. It demands engagement, presents questions, probes possibilities and integrates relevance and real issues by way of metaphor and allegory. We have been witness to the evolution of cinema that is, for all intents and purposes, reaching the apex of technical perfection while simultaneously hitting bottom with regard to the art of plot and character development and the telling of stories with any general relevance to the human condition. Critics and audiences alike are evidently bewildered by these diametrically opposed cycles and often confuse quality and efficiency. They are not the same thing.

Whether film reflects the state of society or the opposite holds true, those of us interested in the grandness and possibilities of cinema must search for it in other places and times. The past is rich with movie excellence and has never been more accessible than it is today. We also have the less diluted world of international film to explore, both past and present. Independent filmmakers continue to work outside the direct influence of Hollywood’s mainstream machinations and their work sometimes finds it’s way into distribution. The odd substantive Hollywood film continues to slip through the mediocrity grinder relatively unscathed and into the local Cineplex. This combination of alternative viewing options quietly keeps the art form (and its advocates) alive and well, even while the big boys are busy deciding what to blow up next.


Batman, why I don't care about Batman, how I tried to care about Batman and how you don't care about how I didn't and then tried to care about Batman.

Batman is a man dressed in a black rubber bat suit fighting crime and stuff. Worst premise since Nazi surfers must die? Even the presence of Christian Bale really adds little to the credibility of this irrational holy sack of nut milk. It might be 'kinda cool'. The budget is big and gadgets are clever but it really isn't, is it?

Just to make sure it was the rest of the world that was wrong and not me, I went on a cigar waving investigation into my own opinion forming smooth noodle maps. Here it is for you to not read.

My issues really don't lie with the film in question so I'll back off before Kadas and Scott form an alliance (leaving me in possible danger of complete character assassination). Dark Knight is clearly a decent movie. What really leaves me conflicted is omnipresent with the genre. The very nature of sci-fi/fantasy means you can explain ANYTHING away. This makes writers squat over their typewriters and piece together the smudges of crap in the redraft. This isn't necessarily strict to the sci-fi genre. Just watch Quantum of Solace to see a sick bag of unnecessary effects and coerced action sequences hurriedly explained away with pseudo science. It's a very thin line to tread.

Not to mention (well…here comes a mention) nearly every sci-fi story is a rip-off, even the good ones. It has become urban myth that the first Alien project was pitched with the concept 'Jaws in space' but it's absolutely true. Most sci-fi films today are guaranteed to make their money back whatever. Cue more lazy writing.

I think back to my childhood. A good Sci-Fi or Fantasy adventure is every kids dream come movie. Who can remember being absorbed into the fantastical spandex codpiece that is Jim Henson's Labyrinth for the first time? The uber-camp spectacle of Flash Gordon (1980), the weird robot romance of Short Circuit and the Tolkeinesque dwarf tossing Willow? These are the films that make a childhood.
The problem I found as I got older (on my journey towards the pinnacle of mid twenties overweight neurotic checkout boy I am today) was that a lot of these films had no basis in reality. I simply can't suspend my disbelief that easily anymore. Everything became a joke.
I found I could continue to deny the real world well into my teens with the help of some r18 lovelies. The dark nightmare that was Terminator, Alien, the (1st) Matrix. These films at least referenced our world as we know it. What next? A slew of mediocre at best comic book movies. The League of extraordinary gentlemen? Must try harder.

By the time Lord of the rings came out I'd pretty much had enough.

Here are a few reasons to hate Sci-Fi/Fantasy:

I'm not sure when it was decided that funny collar = future! But when genre conventions become clichés it's time to rethink. So why the hell are people still wearing Sci-Fi jackets?

The most hateable lead actors in the galaxy?

"Duuuude!" Keanu Reaves in The Matrix can surely only be outdone by the epic super douche that is Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. Closely followed by the distracting smugness of Emile Hirsch in Speed Racer. That film needed rescuing instead it got the final nail in the coffin. Anyone remember Shyamalans cameo in The Village? That actually made me cough up what can only be described as faecal matter into my popcorn. I still ate it.

And finally, the fans.

I get nostalgic and miss the good old days. I just want to be entertained sometimes damn you. Sci-Fi/Fantasy films make you excited and disappointed on levels at which only a naïve child should be excused. But isn't this part of the fun of movies?

I have recently started to reconciliate with Sci Fi. I spent the last 8 hours watching Joss Whedons Firefly and have been thouroughly entertained.

For anyone that wants a sci-fi that really is down to earth, watch the awesome Primer.

This is as gritty and real as the genre gets. It won't take you on the highs and lows of 'T2' or make you lose a dougan like 'Robocop', but it has such a feel as to really get you to rethink the whole genre.

I feel guilty, I've been a snob. I've let a few bad apples spoil my fun.

Imagine me, stumbling in the desert, tattered and torn and on my last legs. Arms outstretched imploring the giant vagina-mouthed brain in a jar from Dune, "Please Sci fi/Fantasy, please have me back! I am sorry I generalised and mocked you, I was wrong. I just want to watch 300 and get psyched before paintball. Will you take me back?"
She holds me close, I wipe a tear from my cheek and close my eyes. I'm home.

So, When is The Watchmen coming out?


takin' notes West enders?

For future reference,
-Howl's Moving Castle does not go into the Sci-Fi section. It goes into the Miyazaki section.
-Le Divorce is not a French film. Although the "Le" can probably screw you up. I thought the cover with Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson was a wee bit of a giveaway.
-Le Gai Savior does not belong in the Queer section. I know the title probably helped in that fumble but it does in fact go in the Jean-Luc Godard section.

East End don't play that way


I'm not sure I'll be able to make it in Scott

From Kendall's email this afternoon...


I have some bad news to warn you about... last night I slipped on some ice and landed on my side pretty badly, I thought I might have broken my ribs but I went to the hospital this morning for x-rays and apparently i just banged them up real good. I've been given some percocets and stuff for the pain, but the pain is definitely there. I think that since it's not broken, and with the aid of pharmaceuticals, I should be fine for my shift on wednesday (though possibly useless on ice cream). I am hoping that today's pain will be the worst, but I just wanted to give you a heads up and wanr you that I may be rather slow for the next week or two.

Please also excuse any typos - I am typing with one hand because when I got home from the hospital I managed to slice a chunk of my finger off on a soup can. I bet you just can't wait to have my klutzy presence in your store! I'm such a disaster, you'd better have me over for drinks soon before it's too late.


Paranoid Park (2007)

Two words: Severed Corpse. No, not the GWAR song, but what is ostensibly the crux of Gus Van Sant's pre-Milk effort, Paranoid Park. What Van Sant is really interested in here, though, are not the gory details (and they are surprisingly VERY gory) of the death, around which everything in the film revolves, but once again, the faces, backs and showering bodies of high school teens. Not as creepy as it sounds. In PP, he mines the same territory and style he explored in the superb Elephant and underrated Last Days, though Van Tarr gets a bit lost in this one. I don't know if it's the script, or the oft-horrendous non-actors' acting, but the film feels a bit flimsy. As usual the cinematography is soul-crushingly gorgeous, and there are some beautiful instances of soundtrack and film meshing synchronicitously (probably not a word). But overall, fans of the director will probably feel cheated by the threadbare plot and what feels like two movies in one: the first half's experimental-film feel cut with grainy super-8 slo-mo footage of skaters riding "Paranoid Park" (actually Portland's Burnside, and what are seemingly outtakes from Fruit of the Vine, Northwest, and Tent City); and the second half, which focuses more on the murder mystery, the implications of which are sadly hard to care about. If he had have picked one side and ran with it, there could have been an excellent film in there; as it stands, Van Sant has made a mildly interesting, but frustratingly flawed one.


Dear Lord! - It's a shite avalanche!....

The releases for the next couple of week…

Burn Before Reading
House Bunny
Mamma Mia!
Death Race
The Women
Hamlet 2
The Mummy: Tomb of the Undead Dragon
Emperor of Bloody Sand Storm Death Part 7
Cheetah Girls (..and this sounded so promising)

Maybe we should look at that KRK order again with fresh eyes Joe. What the hell am I going to watch over Christmas?


Toronto.... currently in production

For those of us interested in 'the industry' (anyone?), here's a link to the Toronto Film and Television Office website:


This list shows all the current productions in the GTA. If you want to know what's going on, everything from Romeros new 'Blank of the dead' to Flashpoint to the latest crap Bell commercial is on here. Word has it that Britarded director Edgar Wright of Sean of the dead and the massively overrated Hot fuzz is set to shoot his next feature here in the summer. T'ronners still got it.

Two from Bob Clark...and a poll!

Stumbled across this article by Lee Ferguson earlier today on the CBC website and thought it nicely sums up two perennial favourites from the late, great Bob Clark - killed, along with his son, by a drunk driver in 2007. I'll honour his memory by watching at least one of the two (Black Christmas, which I do every year) in the next couple weeks. On a related note, I'm thinking of starting an I Love Margot Kidder campaign - Olivia Hussey's nice, but Margot....oh, Margot....

Oh, for the first time ever (not sure if it's going to work) I'm adding a poll on the sidebar. Vote early, vote often, and leave any additional remarks/films you think are unfairly excluded/included in the comments. You can vote for as many as you wish. It's going to be mad dope.

Sean of the Dead.

It turns out that Canfield isn't mad at us afterall Joe. Whew! He is still hung over and has no recollection of how he got home Sunday night/Monday morning. I mistook his absolute silence these last 3 days as another one of those "Sean's mad about some slight he perceived someone (normally me) tossed his way". It turns out he's just a big baby who can't handle 27 shots of bourbon and 15 beers. Creampuff.

Jenny G mentioned earlier today that Canfield was probably totally pissed with her too - although she can't remember what nasty things she said to him. He doesn't even remember talking to her, but I could almost swear that they were sitting on the sofa completely engaged in conversation for about 20 minutes.

Had I known he was as bombed as he was, I would have sent him home with 3 Thai transvestites, a jar of mayonnaise and a camcorder - just like we did with Ben last Xmas.

Missed opportunities.



Lives Of yo mOthers

I finally got around to watching The Lives of Others the other night. Since i was first hired at the Buff it had always been on my list.

When i first started working it was a one night rental and my coworkers and friends (trust, i keep the two groups as separated as possible) couldn't shut up about it.

Now here's my two cents. Excellent film. I mean superb stuff hands down.

It was funny though, I was thinking, as the film started noise diving towards the tear jerking finale, that this is the first German film I've seen in a long while where no one has died tragically. By the looks of things at that point, it looked like things were going to work out alright for everyone.

Just as that thought was given enough time to process some character ups and dies. In a ridiculously tragic way.

What's the deal Germany!? What, like the film wasn't already dealing with enough tragic subject matter!? Why you gotta go and break everyone's heart? You're on thin ice Germany!

Sure the academy will love you for it but it gets my panties in an uproar. It just annoys me. It isn't subtle what you're doing Germany, you can't just up the emotional tone of your already highly emotional films with death and expect the world to applaud you forever! a day is gonna come Germany, where your awesome technos and Ramsteins will revolt and nu rave German cinema will take off. Where no one dies tragically for no reason, where the heart of your pictures will focus on blond fat kids who eat chocolate and get stuck in suction tubes... Augustus Gloop was German right?

Anyways, just like how i felt with Funny Games, L.O.O. is almost an amazing picture.

The film tries to up the ante on your constitution by throwing some tragedy in your eyes but guess what? I DON'T CARE.

I have a friend who said while he was working at a movie theater he would always catch the tragic death as he was getting ready to clean up and open the doors while Lives of Others was playing. And he would shed a tear every time.
The only time my heart strings were pulled was the closing line of the picture. Which really was a beaut. But the tragic death? c'mon, just nonsense.

minus that arrow shooting straight for your heart this film was a cinematic Tijuana donkey show... in a good way.


Hand on, Hand off - Dropkick soars with Hancock

Hancock is just flying off the shelves and with a recommendation from the big boss himself i decided to check out what all the huff was about.

The idea was totally my cup of whiskey soda; A superhero who, while trying his best to help people, falls out of the public's good graces and tries his best to become great again. I won't hide the fact that i'm a comic book geek or that i get all sweaty over big budget summer blockbusters. Cause i do' and that's what makes me so sexy. so the mix of big budget/real superhero/Will Smith had me skipping home to watch this.

It's impossible in our day and age to not hear a peep on a film. You will always, no matter how hard you try not to, read a review in a paper or have one of your friends go on about it and how good or crap is was. Especially as a film store employee you are privileged enough to hear a small review from customers upon any certain film's return. They'll toss you the DVD across the counter and say something like "fantastic" or "not bad" or "you should destroy it".

For Hancock i heard mostly less favorable things on it. Most customers just shrugged their shoulders at it; which only increased my curiosity on the picture.

Hancock isn't a bad movie but it's a flawed one for sure. The first half hour of the film was pretty much what I expected. An angry at the world Superhero who tries his best to help but can't help being a miserable drunken asshole. That scenario in itself is worth a dozen movies, not just half a hour of one. The titular hero saves the life of an unsuccessful (although you wouldn't be able to tell that from his house) PR man (played by Jason Bateman most recognized by today's' youth as Michael Bluth from Arrested Development who plays the same character here as well but best known to the oldies as Teen Wolf Too!) who takes it on himself to clean up Hancocks' image in exchange for saving his life. Image clean up detail includes going to rehab for drinking, anger management and prison which wraps up the films enjoyable first hour.

I had read a few places and heard from the lips of the peoples who be living on the streets that there was some convoluted twist that would have you running for the hills. While not as drastic a twist as seen in Danny Boyle's Sunshine, it is still a twist.

But since i was ready for it i actually kind of guessed it. And it's not even that much of a twist.. it's more of a shout. and just complicates things.

My problem with Hancock is that it has no real beginning or end. It felt like scenes from a second and third film of a solid superhero trilogy. It's a film that demands a prequel before the inevitable sequel. A sequel would be boring. I mean.. why can't Hollywood deliver on the goods sometimes? why can't we have a movie where people suck? where a superhero played by Will Smith is a drunk asshole who hates people. That's a movie with something to say.

This movie just says "hey, I'm entertaining rent me on a weekend night and enjoy me. Watch me with popcorn or whatever it is you like to put in your mouth while watching a flick. I'm dumb, let me wash over you. Let me take advantage of your wasted time."

but all in all, it was fun and funny. check it if you're waaaay too awesome.. like me.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia or Seinfeld shared a crack pipe with Arrested Development

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is hands down the best show on television at the moment. It's the next Freaks and Geeks, it's the next Arrested Development, god damn this is the next MASH.

The show has just wrapped up it's 4th season on air, the Film Buff currently has seasons 1-3 on DVD.

IASIP revolves around 3 best friends Dennis, Mac, and Charlie who all own a bar in Philly. Dennis' sister, affectionately named Sweet Dee, works at the bar as well. For the first season these are the only main characters playing off each other with the same chemistry the Seinfeld gang had.
In season 2 Danny Devito joins the cast as Dennis and Dee's father which mixes things up a bit.

Sunny in Philly plays like Seinfeld on crack. Every character is completely self obsessed, narcissistic, and just plain rude. The basic idea of every episode is to see the gang in a new predicament. The titles of each episode explain what the gang will be getting up to for the next half hour. The episode titles themselves are usually the opening joke to any given episode as every episode opens with a quick 2-3 minute scene that cuts to the title of the episode and then the series' opening title sequence which is shot around Philly completely at night. Such episode titles include The Gang Gets Racist, The Gang Runs for Office, The Gang Goes Jihad, The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby, The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation, and one of my personal faves The Gang Dances Their Asses Off.

Although this formula is sometimes played with, using titles like Charlie Got Molested, Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass, Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire, Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender, and Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom.

Laughing this hard is criminal. I was bent over crying my eyes out while my roommate was shooting white wine from her nose. it was a scene to behold.
Anyways, Sunny in Philly, is incredibly funny, exceptionally written satire that is some of the best freshest comedy around North America today.

This comes highly recommended. The first 3 seasons, although devoured in mere days, have been dancing a tango in my dvd player. It's constantly playing around the house. I noticed today on my way out that it was playing, and no one was in my room watching it, so i left anyways. very entertaining stuff, check it out.


My Head Hurts....

The quiet solitude of Casa Segredos was shattered last night. Crews surveyed the wreckage this morning searching for traces of a small piglet who became disoriented and accidentally wandered into the Wallace and Lansdowne speakeasy early last evening.

It was horrifying” said one bald, vegetarian, bass-playing, computer programmer attendee, who wished to remain anonymous, “They literally tore it limb from limb and devoured it in seconds flat. They were like fucking locusts

A Toronto Humane Society supervisor, evidently shaken from what he'd seen inside said, “It was obviously a bloodbath. I'm sickened by what happened in there. Several local chickens have also gone missing and we believe there may a connection.”

Police discovered hundreds of dead brown soldiers after they raided the notoriously private Segredos complex early Monday morning.

“A massacre”, was how one officer described it, “Things obviously got out of hand. The bathroom was flooded several times even though a sign above one of the urinals clearly stated that the water needed to be turned off.” “These animals obviously can't read”, added another.

Segredos (Portuguese for secret place) owner, a slightly tubby man known only as La Sporgenza was quickly ushered away in handcuffs into a waiting cruiser by officers this morning. He spoke only briefly to reporters suggesting that the real ringleader was, “Reed! - it's Joe Reed you want... and the Colombian!” before police tazered him repeatedly, tossed him into the back seat and sped away.

Investigations by various law enforcement agencies into what exactly happened Sunday night continue. A city-wide manhunt for one Joseph Reed of Toronto is currently underway. Immigration officials suggested in a news conference that Mr. Sporgenza is cooperating in their search for several U.K. illegals also thought to have been in attendance. The mysterious Colombian however, remains at large.


The Dark Knight Viewing #2

I rewatched The Dark Knight tonight and was struck by how different the film feels on a second viewing. I think I liked it more this pass. The film felt less uneven and more cohesive than it did the first time and while its flaws are still evident, as comic book movies go, it's an interesting accomplishment. The Dark Knight and another comic book movie, Iron Man, occupy the top 2 box office positions for 2008 and notwithstanding their common origin (comics) and oddly similar alter egos (both single, billionaire business men by day and costumed vigilantes relying on technologically enhanced suits by night), the differences between the two films are significant. Crime, anarchy and chaos rule Gotham and Batman brings justice and vengeance to what is in essence an isolated and decaying urban island. Iron Man's world, by contrast, is a military one. Tony Stark is a weapons developer and manufacturer and war is his business. Iron Man is thusly engaged on a wider (or at least less specifically definable) stage. These differences in scope define and help place Batman and Iron Man in their respective corners. I wrote in a previous post that the politics of Iron Man troubled me. I felt the film was all-too-much a rallying cry for the Bush Doctrine and while I think director Jon Favreau got a lot right, he missed the boat entirely on the politics and cardboard bad guy front.

So it comes down to this: The Dark Knight is an urban movie, about urban issues of crime and anarchy with Gotham standing in for New York while Iron Man is a national movie, about America's role in world affairs. I don't mean to say that these films are exclusively about these matters but their respective setting and story lines do split relatively cleanly across the city/nation divide. The Dark Knight is a relentlessly bleak dissertation of the state of urban society. Writer/Director Chris Nolan explores and expands the concept of the “hero” to a far greater degree than does Favreau in Iron Man. I read a fascinating book about heroic figures recently that said among other things; “Heroes don't have to be good, they have to be great.” and “Heroes rise to the occasion when they are needed. A healthy society does not require them”. Bruce Wayne/Batman fully meets this criteria whereas I'm not so sure if Tony Stark/Iron Man isn't merely an extension of the military and therefore less a hero and more a soldier.

Kadas made the comment that The Dark Knight is more a crime movie than anything else and on this second viewing, I'm tempted to agree with him. It's head and shoulders more complex than Iron Man and I think a much better film. It'll be interesting to see where each franchise goes in subsequent films and how their success will effect the portrayal of other superheros down the road.


Joe's Restricted Comments on Britarded's Post

So I'm going to add mine here.

Good post Tom. While not exactly a film thread I wanted to draw a line from 1) my request to provide a few reviews for the year end flyer, to 2) Kadas answering back that he would do 8 reviews (seemed high to me at the time, but so does Kris), to 3) Zero (nada) reviews actually coming from Kris, to 4) Kris's yearly Xmas bonus calculation = 1 pay period (x) the number of reviews provided for the year end flyer. Maybe if you're short (of money) at Christmas Kris you could borrow some from Kendall (4 reviews AND she's in England) or Joe (5 reviews) or even Nick (2 reviews AND wasted on red wine most of the time).

See how the thread goes there little buddy?