Thursday, August 10, 2006

Watch This Space

Not having a job has given me a ridiculous amount of time.. and the opposite amount of money. This fun combo naturally leads me to a LOT of free screenings. So, I've decided to start doing a regular post reviewing said movies before they come out. Of course, like everything else in my life, I've procrastinated, so all the movies below have come out. Oh wells, hope you still enjoy...

The Descent   (C-)
Um, how the hell does this have an 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes?? I don't get it. I do love scary movies, and sure, this made me jump a few times, but come on writers, put a little bit of effort into the dialogue. And even if they had, these five actresses would have butchered it. Horrible all around, but it gets above a 'D' because it was set in a cave and it was dark. It would get a 'C' if they showed some boobie, which would seem like a no-brainer with an all female cast.

On a side note, have you noticed that trailers lately, including this one, have really upped the use of "from the studio that brought you [insert title here]"? This one has "from the studio that brought you Saw and Hostel", and the trailer for Accepted starts with "from the studio that brought you American Pie". This must stop before it gets way out of hand:
"From the studio that brought you To Kill a Mockingbird and Schindler's List... Fast and the Furious 5: the Gaza Strip."

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby   (A-)
Will Ferrell is back. I was starting to get a little concerned... the last movie of his I enjoyed was Anchorman, which I know a lot of people did not. To all of you, you suck. So have most of Ferrell's movies since: Kicking & Screaming, Bewitched, The Producers... okay fine, I didn't see The Producers but I bet it sucked.

But no worries, he's back in full form in this one. I laughed quite a bit for the first third of the movie, then it went into a lull, and I returned to laughing for the last third. Overall, a great time. Sacha Baron Cohen was AWESOME, it really doesn't matter what he's saying, he sells it with the facial expressions and accent. I cannot wait to see Borat.

And I truly believe every movie should end with bloopers... even dramas. Imagine ending Platoon or The Godfather with a nice little blooper reel, it'd be pretty awesome.

Standout Song:
"Cochise" - Audioslave

Little Miss Sunshine   (B+) (A-)
Wonderful job all-around, great, but pretty damn good. I've watched this movie about five times now, and everytime it gets better. Had to go back and change this review. Solid acting, great script, Sufjan songs on the soundtrack... makes you laugh, makes you cry... definitely watch it. The little girl from Signs is again incredibly adorable and endearing here. The teenage son's played by Paul Dano, who looks exactly like Elliott Smith, and he lives in my old apartment building in NYC. God, I miss New York... my old job.. my friends....

*gun to head*
*drive-by on LA street kills me first*

Standout Songs:
"No Man's Land" - Sufjan Stevens
"Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens
"You Love Me" - DeVotchKa
"How It Ends" - DeVotchKa
"Coming Home" - the 88
*this song was on the trailer

Clerks II   (A)
LOVED this movie. It's actually better than the first, and it was surprisingly touching. Very few movies can make your heart feel all warm while also throwing in a donkey sex show. Like the original, it's a lot of talking about random things, which is where Kevin Smith's at his best, covering Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars, Transformers, and the nuances of "ass to mouth".

If I ever become suicidal, just show me Jason Mewes doing the "Silence of the Lambs" dance repeatedly and I'll love life again. I also loved the romantic storyline between Brian O'Halloran and Rosario Dawson, very sweet. Rosario is smoking hot. And definitely keep your eye on the new guy, Trevor Fehrman... hilarious.

My buddies and I got an extra special treat at this screening, as Kevin Smith came into the theater and did a Q&A session for about an hour and a half. I'm pretty sure he could've gone on for another three hours if the ushers didn't stop him. The guy likes to hear himself talk. And so do I. Check out some of his live stuff at youtube.

Standout Songs:
"(Nothing But) Flowers" - Talking Heads
"1979" - The Smashing Pumpkins
"Everything" - Alanis Morissete
"Misery" - Soul Asylum
"ABC" - Jackson 5
*don't wanna get sued, so I'm just gonna link to the youtube scene

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest   (C)
Superman Returns   (C)
X-Men: The Last Stand   (C-)
They were all disappointing. These were the huge blockbusters I'd been waiting for? Hate you Hollywood! The scripts were really, really awful for all of them. And they were all ridiculously long. There is no need for a movie about pirates and a giant squid to clock in at two and a half hours. And as Kevin Smith said in his Q&A, "Could Superman please punch something? Something's wrong when you have Lex Luthor beating up more guys than the Man of Steel." Also check out Kevin Smith's funny tale of his Superman script experience. Maybe Bryan Singer should've stuck with the X-Men franchise, cause then the third one wouldn't have blown so hard, and someone else could've told a Superman story where the villain's demonic plot isn't selling real estate.

Waist Deep   (C-)
Not as bad as I was expecting... but not good. Tyrese is actually a pretty good actor, who I hope gets some better material. This was a typical B-movie, pretty well directed, but the script left much to be desired.

I did walk away from the movie with a heightened level of already existing fear of The Game. This guy was in a three-day coma in real life after being shot five times during a failed drug deal. I'm pretty sure he did a little method acting for this film.

The ending is so lame that it becomes pretty solid comedy. Actually, I recommend you go watch just to have that nice laugh in the last five minutes.

Oh and Meagan Good is smoking hot as well. She was also in the movie below...

Brick   (A)
This is my favorite film of 2006 thus far. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, it's crazy to think this is his first movie. Very, very impressive. It's a noir set in high school, with all the old-school noir dialogue... which could've really flopped. But the actors really pull it off... Lukas Haas is perfect as The Pin, and who would've thunk that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would become one of the best drama actors of his age? The score is really cool too.. composed by Rian's cousin, Nathan. For you independent moviemakers, check out their story of how they got the movie made (scroll down). A labor of love.

Anyhoo, it just came out on DVD so go buy it!! It's also on my "be my generous friend" list in my sidebar, so be a kind soul and send me a copy too. Just click, purchase and my address pops up as you're checking out. Oh and why don't you send me a MacBook too while you're at it.. sweet, sweet.. love you.

Standout Song:
"Emily's Theme" (Main Title) - Nathan Johnson

Okay, I'm running out of steam here... but here's a short summary of a few things I've watched on DVD lately:

25th Hour   (A)
One of Spike Lee's best. I think Ed Norton's in my top five favorite actors. Again, Rosario is smoking hot.

Apt Pupil   (B)
Interesting movie. Sir McKellen is awesome as usual.. but I feel like the story had more potential. Nonetheless, it's still an intriguing film.

Bringing Out the Dead   (A-)
Not Scorsese's finest, but still above and beyond almost everyone else. It's oddly humorous.. didn't expect that going in. Still proves that whenever Schrader and Scorsese hook up (The Last Temptation of Christ, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver), it's something special. Anyone else insanely excited for The Departed?

Standout Songs:
"T.B. Sheets" - Van Morrison
"Janie Jones" - The Clash
"What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" - R.E.M.
"I'm So Bored With The U.S.A" - The Clash
"Nowhere To Run" - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
"Bell Boy" - The Who

Running Scared   (B)
Trying way too hard to be Pulp Fiction. And ridiculously over-the-top.. but ya know, director Wayne Kramer intended this to be an over-the-top B-movie thriller, and in the end, I gotta say, I enjoyed the ride.

The Shield Season One and Two   (A+)
The best cop drama on TV ever. Ever!!!! Why haven't I seen this show til now?! Michael Chiklis rocks my socks, and Jay Karnes, who plays Detective Dutch, really needs to be in more shows and movies! CATCH UP ON THIS SHOW BEFORE THE SIXTH SEASON STARTS IN EARLY 2007! I watched the first two seasons in one week... you should do the same.

Standout Songs:
(overall, they have some horrible songs on this show, but here's a few good ones)
"Graciosa" - Moby (Episode 101: Pilot)
"Promises" - India Arie (Episode 102: Our Gang)
"Love Loss" - Cardia (Episode 106: Cherrypoppers)
"Take Me Somewhere Nice" - Mogwai (Episode 107: Pay in Pain)
"All My Little Words" - The Magnetic Fields (Episode 108: Cupid and Psycho)
"Helicon 1" - Mogwai (Episode 110: Dragonchasers)
"Trouble" - Coldplay (Episode 113: Circles)
"If I Ever Leave This World Alive" - Flogging Molly (Episode 208: Scar Tissue)
"Overcome" - Live (Episode 213: Dominoes Falling)

High Tension   (D)
Piece of shit.

*EDIT: Figured I'd throw up some songs from the above movies to hopefully notch up the comment count. =)


Anonymous raynp said...

Great post. Dude I need to get to the video store!!


10:59 AM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Thanks raynp! Yes, go to the video store!! Or sign up for Netflix!!!

Man 400-some visitors today and one comment. I'm really losing my readers eh?

2:12 AM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Great stuff .. I'm not sure if "Clerks II" was better than the original to me, but it was indeed a great movie ... My favorite momnt, among many great ones, was Randal's passionate defense of the term Porch Monkey as Wanda Sykes and Earthquake are trying to order .. priceless

3:32 AM  
Anonymous theHypeguy said...

That's a looot of movies yo.. heh agreed with X3 and Supes not what I expected.

I really liked 25th Hour as well.. I love Spike's storytelling style. Have you seen his latest "Inside Man?" It's not the 'typical' Spike Lee Joint, but it was one very good and refreshing take on heist films.

Oh man, not you too with "The Departed".. let me rephrase.. I thought the film "Infernal Affairs" was very stale and nothing that much out of the ordinary when it first came out. Then Scorsese wants to remake and a lot of folks go "oh shit, IA was amazing".. and I'm like...really..? "Departed" has crazy star/talent power so that's going to be interesting to see. But the Hong Kong original? meh..

OOooor.. maybe I saw the bootleg at the time ;) And I need to refresh my perspective especially when it's not in focus half the time.

POST MORE dude! Enjoy your writing and tastes about tv/music.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Jo said...

Have you seen the UK ending of 'The Descent'? It's available on youtube.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Hi Reel Fanatic,
Checked out your blog, love it. We got pretty similar taste in movies.. the Porch Monkey scene was hilarious.. the hardest I laughed though was definitely Elias crying while masterbating though.

Hey HypeGuy,
Glad you agree on X3 and Superman, but does that mean you enjoyed Pirates? I still need to check out Inside Man, i hear good things.

And I know everyone's been praising Internal Affairs, but I haven't seen it yet.. nor do I plan to until after the Departed. Regardless of IA's merit, I'm positive Scorsese is gonna give us an amazing one with that cast. I mean, seriously, that cast is ridiculous.

Hi Jo,
Thanks for that info. I checked it out.. for everyeone else, the link is here:

And yeah that ending is a smidgen better, but the movie still sucks hard.

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Captain Oats, you are once again my hero. That clip of Jason Mewes doing Buffalo Bill's "Silence of the Lambs" dance had me laughing so hard I was crying. For some creepy reason, I love that song (kind of like how I still like "American Girl" despite its appearance in the movie right before the girl gets abducted). If you're interested in the original song or a rather interesting metal cover of it, I can help you out with both! (I feel like I should return the favor somehow, since you've spent the past television season feeding my OC addiction.)

You are, as usual, the champ!

~Mary (the librarian!)

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Dude, you are so right. "Pirates 2" sucked big donkey balls. What a let-down. I hope all those choads who said it was as good as the first one realize how stupid they are.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

hey mary the librarian!
i kinda like the song too... email it on over! glad you hated pirates as well... that ending.. man, they are really stretching it.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous TheNextKristin said...

YES! I love long posts, they're so fulfilling! Thank you, Silly Pipe Dreams.

For the record, The Producers did not suck while Will Ferrell was in it.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Scribe LA said...

I really liked 25th Hour, too. One of Spike's better recent efforts. Edward Norton is aweseome... and of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman is great. Ditto to Barry Pepper. The script is a good read, too.
And, I'm now definitely looking forward to seeing Clerks II, as lots of blogosphere friends have been raving.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Hey Kristin,
I will have to check out the Producers and confirm this non-suckiness. =)

Hi Scribe,
Philip Seymour Hoffman is amazing as always. Check out Kevin Smith filling in for Ebert on this podcast:

They talk about Hoffman really blooming in Talented Mr. Ripley..

3:44 PM  
Blogger Swishy said...

I saw Little Miss Sunshine over the weekend and LOVED it. I actually thought it was funnier than Talladega Nights ... dark funny, but funny.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Scribe LA said...

"hey blogger friend,
congrats on quitting your day job! welcome to a world filled with regret and self-doubt... jk. we should grab that drink sometime."

:-) Absolutely. Glad to hear you're now in LA... once I'm back home in LA in September, the drink is on! And yes, I did just end my sentence with a preposition. Thanks for the podcast link.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad that you gave Brick an A. It played at Sundance last year, but I agree that it's one of the best movies in 2006.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Krissi said...

You're back and with two great posts! Me missed you somethin' fierce! :-) Thanks for all the reviews and great tunes.

I agree with Kristin; "The Producers" with Ferrell was pretty funny. And may I add: Netflix rocks!

"Apt Pupil" could have been so much better, but then who can complain too much when Sir Ian is in it. I thought "Bringing Out the Dead" was, as you said, oddly humorous, too. And I can't wait to see "Clerks II." Kevin Smith rocks! Glad you reviewed "Little Miss Sunshine," too! I've been thinking about checking it out; now, I will!

I left you another post (below) re: "Eureka."

11:46 PM  
Anonymous mallomar said...

I woul just like to say that though I generally find your opinions on movies etc... to be spot on with mie, I think you were a little harsh on the Descent. Yes those mutant albino monster things were a little cheesy and not so scary once they finally showed up, but thats true of all monster movies. And yes the characters were pretty stock- the girl who doesnt listen and runs ahead and gets herself killed, the tough chick who's really not so tough, the chick who doesnt think she's tough until she has some turning point- but again all scary movies generally rely on these exaggerated shorthand versions of character types.

What I liked about the Descent was that it did a decent job of setting up the whole contrast between how differently people react when the shit hits the fan. And up until the albino mutants or w/e showed up I thought there was some good realistically scary stuff about being trapped in the cave, etc... although admittedly this could just be because im a total claustrophobe and that concept just freaks me out generally. And as a woman, I also appreciated that the cast was all female, and they were all pretty tough- AND no gratuitous 'boobie' as you suggested :) So I would give it at least a B-.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

hi swishy, glad you watched little miss sunshine! gotta disagree with funnier than talladega tho... i think i LOLed at least 50 times more in talladega

hey anonymous, it's pretty crazy that they made the movie for under $500,000. so well done. you have excellent taste.

krissi, me missed you somethin' fierce as well! now i will definitely have to rent the Producers..

and mallomar, most people seem to agree with you.. the movie's been getting solid reviews. but i'm sticking with my C-. i mean an A horror movie in my opinion is like... the Shining, Alien, or the Sixth Sense. a B horror movie for me would be Saw or Final Destination. And most of the rest would fall under C or below... and i just can't put the Descent on par with any of the B movies in my mind, but I guess we'll agree to disagree on this one. =)

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Krissi said...

beaming! :-)

12:08 AM  
Blogger sam said...

wow, i absolutely assumed clerks 2 would be total crap...i guess i might actually have to see it...weird.

also, i LOVED little miss sunshine. a little bit of sunshine in my life for sure. i laughed so hard at the end i had tears streaming down my face. that kid who lived in your building was really great. is he single? :)

i've heard brick was really great but i haven't seen it yet...

2:14 PM  
Blogger flick said...

Just spent 20 minutes watching the Kevin Smith link. Man, if stand-up comedians were half as good at telling stories as he was, well, then stand-up wouldn't suck so much.

1:35 PM  
Blogger kavina said...

"*EDIT: Figured I'd throw up some songs from the above movies to hopefully notch up the comment count. =)"

mission accomplished.

i've been wanting to watch Brick for ages and your review has really kicked it up a notch on my 'urgent watching' list. 'The Shield' sounds good. i'm not really into the whole 'cop' thing but i guess i'll give it a try...i've liked all your choices so far so if i dont like it, i can always leave you 'anonymous' threats..

- kavina x

1:05 PM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

hey kavina, yeah im not a big 'cop drama' fan either... so i was suprised how much i loved the Shield... i will warn you that it has the worst opening credits and theme of all time

7:30 PM  
Anonymous kiran said...

Great posts, thank you! I can't believe you've been to all these screenings. I too loved Lil Miss Sunshine. Granted, its a total crowd pleaser and none too edgy, but if you weren't laughing out loud during the final dance performance than you have a cold, cold heart. Did that scene remind anyone else of Napoleon D?
Can I please add Miami Vice in there? Warning: Colin and Naomi totally botch their attempts at regional american dialects but the cinematography is beautiful and dreamlike, also satisfied my fantasy of being a rich-bitch gangster's moll.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous mallomar said...

Thanks for responding to my comment; I agree we'll have to disagree on that one. But hey Im totally with you on everything else- Brick was one of the coolest movies Ive seen in a long time, and Little Miss Sunshine was one of the funniest movies Ive seen in a long time. And thanks as always for the music. :)

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Christin said...

I totally hated Pirates. What a disappointment. Anyways, thanks for sharing your thoughts and the songs. Can't wait for GA to begin in a couple of weeks.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Jayne said...

I saw Little Miss Sunshine last night and loved it. Thanks for the music!

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally figured out how to remove all the anti-virus,anti-cookie software that was preventing me from downloading songs and making me very sad, so I'm revisiting some of your posts.
Definitely agree with everyone on the love for Little Miss Sunshine and Brick was pretty enjoyable too. Have you seen Mysterious Skin? Clerks II made me laugh really hard but I just didn't buy Dante as appealing personality-wise. I actually liked Last Kiss although it made me groan a few times.

9:02 PM  

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