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I've come across the term 'Elevator Pitch' a lot here recently - this being a rough summation of a proposed idea that can be conveyed in roughly the span of an elevator ride. This term gets dropped a lot in regards to the motion picture industry where enterprising screen writers have to go through a sort of 'speed dating' process of rapid firing their ideas at one film executive after the other in the hopes that one of them will be willing to drop some serious green to produce the next 'Atomic Bikini Werewolves', 'Zombie Dad', 'Honolulu Vampire Nurses' or 'Evisceration 3: Teenage Snuff Film Apocalypse' (check the Sci-Fi channel for listings). In fact, I've been told that in Los Angeles there are towering skyscrapers that have had all the offices gutted out of them so that they house nothing but elevators. Here swarms of suits and screen writers travel the endless vertical labyrinth pitching scripts, dropping names and hammering out the details to 'Saw 7even: Who haven't we killed yet?'... ah the magick of Hollywood!

So I thought it only fair that I attempt a little something I'll call the 'Elevator Review' - an equally brief review of movies I've seen at the theaters, rented, bought the bootleg version while riding public transportation or accidentally wandered into while channel surfing - for you, the time strapped reader of this humble blog.


Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - (in theaters) - It's no country for old men as the venerable Doctor Jones trades nazis for commies in the search for a legendary city made of CGI's. Think of it as National Treasure 2 if National Treasure 2 was vaguely watchable.

Wisconsin Death Trip - (DVD) - A beautifully shot documentary about the crimes, murders and madness that plague a small Wisconsin town at the end of the 19th century based on the book by the same name. Basically this is like watching a lost Nick Cave album that has been turned into a movie.

The Fall - (in theaters) - A bedridden stunt man befriends a little girl at a hospital where they are both patients and proceeds to tell her an exotic story that could basically be the next 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' in one of the most visually stunning films I've seen in awhile. Think of this as 'The Cell' (by the same director) if the Cell had a personality to back up its good looks.

Teeth - (DVD) - This is the story of a young woman, one of those 'Promise Keeper' types who discovers her budding sense of sexuality along with the fact that her vagina sprouts teeth during sexual intercourse. Much rape and cock castration ensues. Not my cup of tea per say but the little lady got a lot of laughs out of it... so there you go.

Control - (DVD)- The life and death of Ian Curtis - legendary lead singer of the seminal band Joy Division. Think of this as the dark antithesis to 24 Hour Party People, not a bad flick when it focuses on Ian's life (along with the early years of Joy Division) but I found the handling of his suicide a little heavy handed. Also the acting's pretty good, but the kid they have playing Ian can't sing worth a shit and it's painful to watch him butcher some of my favorite songs.

Oh and don't forget The Signal comes out today - the little indy film that could - made by some of my friends here in 'Terminus', Georgia. Highly recommended though to be fair, I can't claim to do so impartially.

Okay, that's it for now... I have to get back to hammering out my script for 'Ice Pirates 2: Revenge of the Space Herpes'. Until then, have your people blog my people ...

Ciao, Baby.
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My dad used to tell me that it was traditional to tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve, and in that spirit (ow!) we settled for a Grand Guignol London Style - Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - and make no mistake, London is as much a star as Depp or Carter, at least as translated through Burton's magnificently executed vision, which for me at least, invokes wonderfully the London of Hogarth, Dickens and Blake ("I wander through each chartered street, Near where the chartered Thames does flow, And mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe."). Read more... )
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I scored some free passes to a sneak peek of "I AM LEGEND" last night over at Atlantic Station (which isn't really a station for some reason). Seems I got people who know some people - Industry People. Players. Big time. Each with the kind of name that once I drop it you won't be able to pick it back up. The word on the street is they've heard about my blog and how the kids be digging the mad flow of Jack "THE MACK" Babalon. They fear the power of the blogosphere. Of the Internets... all of them!!! They fear my hundred and whatever friend list. They know that it was my review of American Pie 8: Stiffler Versus Jason that crumbled their mighty Porkys-lite franchise...

...okay truth be known I got a set of passes at my local video rental last week - Videodrome actually - that they were giving out to anyone who happened to grab a pair off the counter.

Happy now?

Good! Let's go on to the movie...

The Quick Pitch: It's Castaway meets Night of the Living Dead... with one of those budgets that rival the GNP of third world nations.

The Run Down:Read more... )
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LoeG:Black Dossier )

Reel Life )

Now i'll leave you with my favorite photo of the day:

Jayne Mansfield et Sophia Loren au Romanoff's à Beverly Hills en 1958

That look Sophia is shooting Jayne is just fucking priceless!!!

This, to me, is the human translation of that look your cat gives the dog when you bring him/her home from the pound and into the house for the first time.
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Thanks to my man in Scotland [livejournal.com profile] therealmacgyver for the link.

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Last night I was accidently initiated into the visceral surrealism of Fernando Arrabal's cult classic I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse. I found the film by pure chance actually, tucked away in the corner of Videodrome where the more eclectic movies are kept from the uneducated whims of their more casual customers. This is where the good shit is kept kids. A hide in plain sight secret stash of Jodorowsky's, Warhol's and the apocalyptic mash-ups of Craig Baldwin. It was filed with some seriously esteemed company as far as I was concerned. I checked out the back of the box and saw enough to develop a nagging intuition if you will, a shrug rather than a leap of faith. Read more... )
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It might seem like a strange choice I know, but for reasons I find difficult to explain, Kelly's Heroes is one of my favorite movies of all time. Of course that would be a list that included The Warriors, O'Brother Where Art Thou?, the original Dawn of the Dead and Slacker, so I realize that my tastes are a bit eclectic at times.

But between this film and Joseph Heller's wonderful Catch-22 I found myself better able to navigate my way through the mental rigors of military life during my brief stint in the NAVY (Is it me or do most 'angry young men' often choose either Captain Yossarian or Holden Caulfield to act as their role models... "Catch-22 in the Rye Syndrome" maybe?). Both, for me at least, are excellent demonstrations of the operating dynamics of the perenial love-hate relationship between absurdity and authority.

In fact I tend to classify the three main characters in Kelly's Heroes as representing the three divisions of the psyche according to Freud. So Kelly (Clint Eastwood), the former Lieutenant now Private is the Ego. Big Joe (Telly Savalas) the gruff but almost maternal Master Sargeant serves as the Super Ego, while Oddball (a tres young Donald Sutherland) the proto-hippy Tank commander acts as the Id.

The three divisions of the psyche must work together (along with a growing rag-tag band of discontent army personnel) to rob a bank in the middle of German occupied France. A bank that holds not cash but rather several tons of gold bars (symbolizing perhaps the alchemical gold Jung speaks of once psychic integration/ equilibration has been obtained... or more likely, symbolizing gold bars in nazi occupied France).

For some the movie acts as a metaphor for a certain working class wisdom that holds that the best laid plans of officers (Zero's as we used to call them in the Navy) is nothing compared to the cunning can-do attitude of your average grunt when the prospect of getting paid, getting some or getting away clean is involved. For me though it's a map both of and for my own brain as it navigates through the pitfalls of work, wars and worrys that keeps me from reaching that great metaphysical bank heist behind the Tiger Tanks that prowl around my own little piece of Chapel Perilous.

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Thanks to Teddy Bear and Kulani, yours truly got to weasel his way into an advanced screening of 28 Weeks Later last night. The follow up to 2002's wonderful 28 days Later is definetly a case of once bitten (or in this case vomited on with blood), twice shy. The first fifteen minutes of the movie hits hard with the intensity of a Turbo-Zombie attack on crack but sadly the movie can't quite keep up at this pace and quickly biodegrades into a shuffling corpse of it's own potentiality, one that feeds on a set of implausible circumstances instead of the traditional diet of fresh intenstines and brains!

The Synopsis of Evil: It's been over six months since the RAGE virus spread across the United Kingdom with devastating results the likes of which have not been seen since Madonna became a British citizen. The 'Infected' have starved to death (stupid rage 'zombies') and outside a small community of survivors, England is a giant island graveyard and London has become a ghost town.

But don't worry folks... the American military are here and they have a plan!

Yes leading an international NATO relief team, Uncle Sam has arrived to ensure that the last remaining Britons have a semblance of civilisation to return to by establishing a quarantined safe zone in a section of London. We follow Tammy and Andy, a brother and sister who are reunited with their father (the always wonderful Robert Carlyle) in the London Safe Zone. However with "Operation Enduring Metaphor for America's Incompetency in the Middle East" in full swing one can see trouble for the reunited family coming quicker than you can say "Land of the Dead called and they want their premise back".

As one might presume from the previews, the virus becomes active again and spreads insidiously through a series of plot holes apparently scattered throughout the city of London. In fact a lot of potentially interesting subplots seem to fizzle out as it's revealed their inclusion was only there to propel the story towards the impending outbreak.

The Wrap it up light is on: I don't mind, what will no doubt be perceived as, a strong anti-American sentiment throughout the film, at times a bit obvious and at others spot on. But it is ironic though that the film resorts to some of the worst American Hollywood cliches - including buckets of explosions (including the kind that can be outrunned on foot), false jolts, gratuitous violence against women (in my opinion at least one scene went a bit too far in my opinion, not gore wise really but in it's length compared to other attacks on victims comparatively) and finally the "Yeahbuwha...?" moment at the end of the film.

28 Weeks Later really seems to suffer from the absence of Danny Boyle, who opted out of directing to a role of producer, who in my opinion knew the value of shock after mounting dread rather than shock for shocks sake.

If the movie took itself less seriously this could easily have been Grindhouse for people who only have two hours to kill instead of three and a half. If it winked at you a little more then you might just be willing to accept the gaping plot holes with a laugh. Instead it tries to take itself a little too seriously for such glaring admissions to be permitted.

Buy the ticket, rent it, HBO it or ignore all together?: All in all the movie has enough good scenes in it to warrant a rental when it comes out or a peep if it hits your cable late night in the future... but little more than that.


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