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Monday, September 27, 2010

REST IN PEACE, GLORIA STUART (1910-2010)... If it wasn’t for the fact I saw Titanic something something times when it was released in theaters in 1997 (I was a senior in high school during that time), then I wouldn’t be mentioning the passing of this very accomplished actress. But I did see Titanic something something times in theaters, so here you go.

Gloria Stuart, with Bill Paxton and Suzy Amis, in a scene from TITANIC.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE TOWN.

THE TOWN... I saw the Ben Affleck-directed film yesterday, and much like other bank heist flicks such as Inside Man, The Bank Job and even Takers, I thought it was pretty entertaining. I always think it’s cool to see on-screen robbers wearing crazy masks and disguises (such as the Joker’s goons wearing clown masks during that bank robbery at the beginning of The Dark Knight, and the late Patrick Swayze and Co. dressed up as the Ex-Presidents in the 1991 movie, Point Break) as they pull off capers against armored trucks and city banks.

THE TOWN.

I’m trying to decide which disguise was better: The grim reaper masks Ben Affleck and his gang wore in the opening scene of The Town, or those nun outfits they sport later on in the movie. Speaking of the nun scene, the funniest moment in the film was Affleck and his posse ditching one getaway vehicle to escape in another (after their armored truck robbery goes awry)...only to realize they parked right next to the squad car of a lone Boston police officer. Seeing as how he was the only cop in the area, and he was going up against four dudes dressed as old religious women armed with automatic rifles, it was understandable that this officer would literally look away as Affleck and his gang made their final escape.

THE TOWN.

If there’s one gripe I had about The Town, it’s that for some odd reason it seemed like the ending to the movie felt a little "safe". On one hand, Affleck’s character is obviously portrayed as someone to sympathize with, despite being an anti-hero and all, but there was something about that final scene in Florida that seemed a little too "Hollywood happy ending-ish" (yes I made up this term) to me. Then again, it might have actually been a cliché for Affleck to be gunned down by the FBI just like the rest of his posse did in the finale. It was cool to see Clive Owen leave that bank unscathed in Inside Man, so in hindsight, there’s absolutely nothing wrong to see Affleck leave the crime-ridden streets of Charlestown to start a new life in the middle of a Florida swamp. It’s not like he was able to get the girl at the end, after all...

THE TOWN.

I also saw the horror film Devil last night. I thought it was okay. My opinion would probably be more favorable if not for the stigma created by the "Story by M. Knight Shyamalan" credit at the beginning of the movie. Oh well. One of my co-workers mentioned a few months ago that the twist in Devil was that it was a creature terrorizing those five folks in that elevator, as opposed to one of those folks being the culprit themselves. He was wrong. I had the sudden urge to watch the TV show Supernatural (its 6th season premieres on the CW Network this Friday!) after the demon finally revealed itself in the movie’s climax. If Sam or Dean Winchester was on that elevator, the devil wouldn’t stand a chance. Then again, considering what happened in Supernatural's Season 5 finale last May, maybe not. That is all.

Five corrupt people get stuck on an elevator together in DEVIL.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

DISTRICT 10... Check out this awesome fan-made illustration, created by artist Andrée Wallin, for the hit film's would-be sequel...

DISTRICT 10 movie fan art.
© 2009 Andrée Wallin

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

IT’S ASTROTRAIN!! Okay, not really. The link to this YouTube clip (courtesy of dandeentremont) has been saved in my Favorites folder for the past two months or so...just thought I’d finally post the video here. And in case you’re wondering, Astrotrain is a Decepticon that transformed into a space shuttle and a train in the 1980’s Transformers cartoon. It would be cool to see him in Transformers 3...though knowing Michael Bay, he’ll probably portray him as a Disneyland monorail with an image of Mickey Mouse taking a piss on Optimus Prime painted to its sides.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Danny Trejo as the machete-welding character Machete in MACHETE.

MACHETE... I saw the new Robert Rodriguez action film yesterday, and um, where do I begin? Do I talk about the movie’s VERY OVERT take on illegal immigration first? Or the extremely gory but amusing violence? Or how 'bout the fact Robert Rodriguez somehow manages to get some of the hottest actresses in Hollywood to bare it all in his movies? Um... I think I’ll talk about the hot actresses’ part first.

Jessica Alba as a law enforcement officer in MACHETE.

In 2005’s Sin City, Robert Rodriguez had Carla Gugino and Jaime King showin’ some skin in the Frank Miller graphic novel-inspired flick. In Machete, he had Jessica Alba (who was also in Sin City—but as an exotic dancer who pretty much kept her clothes on) AND Lindsay Lohan doing nudesy in his film...albeit briefly. Say what you will about Lohan, but I took no offense to seeing her skinny dip in that pool before ending up nude and unconscious on a couch in Cheech Marin’s holy sanctuary. If only Michelle Rodriguez was also game in doing a scene that would eventually be featured on Mr. Skin, this would be a trifecta. I’m tempted to point out that R. Rodriguez should’ve at least have M. Rodriguez and Alba "share" a special moment at that taco truck (outside of M. Rodriguez's character showing Alba her immigration papers, since Alba plays a cop in the movie), but I won’t. Anyways... Onto the illegal immigration part.

UPDATE (September 6): I just found out online that Jessica Alba wasn't nude at all in Machete...and that the white undies she's wearing in all the TV commercials were on the whole time. The undies were 'removed' via CGI. I'm too lazy to edit the rest of this entry to accommodate this lousy bit of news, so um, continuing reading on.

Lindsay Lohan as a nude exhibitionist-turned-nun in MACHETE.

Machete would be nothing but a gory, brainless action flick featuring lots of well-known Mexican and Caribbean actors if not for the fact it was clearly obvious Rodriguez was intent on dealing with the issue of illegal immigration in his film. Most of Machete’s storyline takes place in Texas...though I wonder how controversial this movie would’ve been if Rodriguez had this flick take place in Arizona instead. Speaking of Arizona, I wonder how Machete fared in that state's movie theaters this weekend. It probably did well...most likely because of Jessica Alba’s shower scene, and Lohan’s moment in that swimming pool. Back-to-topic, it’s a nice bit of timing that Machete would be released during such a contentious time when illegal immigration is at the forefront of politics and everyday news discussions. It’s totally not farfetched that there would actually be vigilante gangs roaming around the desert—whether in California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas—looking for illegal aliens to shoot. Now that we’re on this topic, onto the extremely gory but amusing violence in Machete.

Michelle Rodriguez as a taco truck vendor-turned-revolutionary in MACHETE.

If Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have something in common, it’s that they both share a fondness for showing over-the-top bloodbath in such movies as Kill Bill and Grindhouse...respectively. In Machete, the biggest um, highlight of this flick was that hospital scene where Danny Trejo, as Machete, is having a conversation with that doctor about how long the human intestine is. Minutes later, you see Machete using a scalpel to stab a goon who was sent to kill him at the hospital, and then ripping out that goon’s intestine to use as a rope to climb out of a window and escape. If I was 6 years-old, I’d be extremely traumatized by this (assuming, of course, I knew what the heck I was watching). As it stands, I smirked at that scene. Also, what is it with Rodriguez showing priests killing or getting killed in his movies? In Sin City, Mickey Rourke’s character beats a priest to a bloody pulp...and in Machete, Cheech Marin’s preacher gets to blast away some bad guys before he unfortunately meets his fate nailed to a wooden cross. Do you think Jesus would condone Marin’s use of a shotgun moments before he got "martyred"? Do you think Jesus would condone Rodriguez’s portrayal of clergymen, period? Probably not. And for the record, I’m not a God-boy. I was being f-a-c-e-t-i-o-u-s.

Robert De Niro as a U.S. senator who's about to get his comeuppance at the hands of Texas vigilantes in MACHETE.

One last note about Machete: Robert De Niro was hilarious in this film! You know his villainous role as a U.S. senator isn’t suppose to be taken seriously (like say, his role as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II) when he’s forced to dress like a migrant worker during the final fight scene in Machete...only to be shot down by Lindsay Lohan in a nun outfit. I think he was much funnier in this movie than he was in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers (the third installment, Little Fockers, which also features Jessica Alba and De Niro, comes out in theaters later this year). De Niro’s performance in this movie is just as amusing as the amount of weight Steven Seagal put on since his heyday doing action flicks such as 1992's Under Siege. I think it’s considered bad writing that I’m bringing up Seagal so late in this journal entry, so I’ll leave it at that. Actually...no. I have one question regarding Seagal and the beginning of Machete: How did Machete end up in Texas when, at the opening scene of the film, we see him with a knife wound to one of his legs and inside a house that Seagal’s goons are about to set on fire? I’ll have to watch this movie again (on DVD, obviously) to hear what Seagal's character told Machete before his life was spared. I wonder if Rodriguez will indeed make two more Machete films (titled Machete Kills and...Machete Kills Again). Just being facetious once more. Machete was an action-packed, laughing stock of a movie.

Machete takes on a drug dealer played by Steven Seagal in MACHETE.

I also saw George Clooney’s new film The American this weekend. What did I think of this movie, you ask? Well let’s put it this way... I found a flick about a knife-welding Mexican to be more interesting. Violante Placido is very gorgeous, however, and Thekla Reuten for some odd reason reminds me of the lovely Amy Adams (of The Office and Enchanted fame). That is all.

Thekla Reuten and George Clooney play assassins in THE AMERICAN.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

T.I., Michael Ealy, Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen and Paul Walker emerge unscathed from a bank robbery at the beginning of TAKERS.

TAKERS... I saw The Italian Job-ish bank heist film last weekend, and while it had a couple of unintentionally laughable moments in it, the movie was actually pretty decent. The main reason why I saw Takers—being a Star Wars nerd and all—was to see Hayden Christensen’s acting in the flick. The last movie I saw him in was, of course, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. I didn’t see Christensen’s last film Jumper (which came out in 2008), and judging from the score it received on Rotten Tomatoes, I didn’t miss out on much. In terms of Christensen’s acting in Takers, you really couldn’t compare it to his role as Anakin Skywalker...since all Christensen had to do in this latest flick was look cool in a zoot suit and drink a glass of martini. A scene where he beats the crap out of a couple of Russian dudes with a baseball bat is nothing compare to The Duel at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Anyways...

Zoe Saldana makes an appearance in TAKERS.

Dealing with the other characters in Takers, it’s always cool to see the gorgeous Zoe Saldana make an appearance in the movie. She was hot in last year’s Star Trek, and her beauty shined through her character Neytiri in Avatar (though I have no intention of seeing her pro-longed Na'vi sex scene in the Special Edition of Avatar that came out in theaters last weekend). Matt Dillon essentially reprised his role as a cop from 2005's Best Picture winner Crash, and it was with his scenes that I smirked a bit during the movie. Doesn’t Dillon’s character ever lock his car’s door when he’s driving? Hell— Even his daughter didn’t lock her door in that scene where Dillon was sharking that SUV Idris Elba and Paul Walker were cruising in. And why didn’t Dillon just ask his daughter to jot down the description of the SUV while he was driving? Way to endanger your child’s life by not keeping your eyes on the road, jerk. Speaking of Walker (Elba’s character was okay in the movie); I’m surprised he wasn’t revealed to be a cop since he acted just like his character in The Fast and the Furious films. I was waiting for a scene where he called up Vin Diesel to ask him to get rid of Chris Brown’s character. Speaking of Chris Brown...

Chris Brown (left) reunites with his fellow thieves and has another heist in mind in TAKERS.

On the positive side, Chris Brown was sorta convincing as the double-crossing ex-convict Ghost. On the negative side, the way he talked in the film was hilarious. Apparently, he decided out of the blue to channel Snoop Dogg the minute he got out of jail. Though after his famous real-life incident with the singer Rihanna, I didn’t find it farfetched that Brown would harm Saldana’s character (who was Ghost's GF before he got sent to prison) later on in the film. Saldana’s character ended up becoming engaged to Jake Attica (played by Michael Ealy)...whose brother Jesse (played by rapper T.I.) had the coolest but most laughable action sequence I’ve ever seen on the big screen.

Zoe Saldana and Michael Ealy in TAKERS.

Seeing as how Takers was executive-produced by T.I., I’m not a bit surprised that he would portray himself as a bank robber capable of going all Jackie Chan by jumping through small windows on kitchen doors, getting hit by cars but continuing to dash away from cops like he was Usain Bolt, jumping off a wall and flipping in the air like he was Jet Li, hopping on top of car after car like he was Spider-Man, and jumping two to three stories off a building and landing feet-first on top of another car like he was um...Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Jason Statham, Spider-Man... Take your pick. Maybe T.I. will be in The Expendables 2 if it actually gets made. And you know that T.I. was lookin’ forward to that final scene where he and Ealy storm out of that building to make one last stand against the police. Guns a' blazing and dying in a hail of bullets... What more could a rapper want?

T.I. channels Jet Li/Jackie Chan/Chuck Norris/Jason Statham/Spider-Man in this scene from TAKERS.

All-in-all, Takers was an OK film. Nice touch with that dramatic music score that plays when Chris Brown finally betrays Walker and Co. to those Russian mobsters in the Roosevelt Hotel. I gotta admit... I was rooting for Ealy when he sneaks up behind those mobsters in the hotel room and blows them away with a shotgun. I bet T.I. wished he was the one who unloaded that 12-gauge into those damn Bolsheviks. But I guess he preferred to have guns a' blazing and dying in a hail of bullets by the cops instead. That is all.

T.I. and Michael Ealy prepare to go out in a blaze of glory in TAKERS.