Friday, July 27, 2007

Zodiac (2007)

I've had a fascination with the "Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius" for years. The fact that so many cults, serial killers, whackos, sickos, and twisted degenerates appeared in the late Sixties and the Seventies is pretty interesting. One of these loonies was the Zodiac Killer. They never tried anyone for the murders. Spooooooky.

David Fincher used to be one of my favorite directors - Alien3 is my second favorite of the series and Se7en is...well Se7en. After that well...I'm not a fan. I wasn't particularly interested in seeing Zodiac. I'm not a fan of Fincher, Jake Gyllenhall, or Robert Downey Jr. but hey it was something to watch.

It was a pretty solid movie all around but it really didn't instill a sense of purpose or meaning. The movie revolves more around Gyllenhall's character - a Boy Scout cartoonist who becomes obsessed with the Zodiac and lets his life go to shit and eventually writes the book that became the basis of the movie. There are some moments of tension in the movie but since we know nothing is going to happen to any of the characters we aren't that involved. There's not really any extended family melodrama showing what an unhealthy obesession will do to a home life. Yes, that's something we've seen before but Zodiac definitely could have used it.

The best parts of the movie are clustered in the first half of the movie when Zodiac is on the rampage. The kills are pretty grisly though most of the gore takes place off screen. Effective use is made of the sense of dread and knowing that real people were put in unimaginably horrible situations. Hey honey let's go to the lake and have a nice picnic. Oh shit, here comes a psycho with a knife.

The soundtrack is pretty much what you would expect - there's pretty solid and genuinely creepy use of Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man. David Shire - composer of The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three's amazing score - did the score for Zodiac but I'm not particularly sure where.

All in all I give the movie a 6.5. You not missing much if you don't see it but you won't be too disapponted either.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Ratatouille (2007)

I love Pixar Movies, you love Pixar movies, we all love Pixar movies. Just go see the new Pixar movie.

Not much of a review I know but everything I can say about Ratatouille is good. Sure I could gripe about the standard Pixar/80s-esque storyline: oddball against all odds goes his own way, meets other oddballs, team effort against the mainstream/square/corporate bad guys, heart warming sniffly learn a life lesson even the coldest heart can melt ending, and acceptance of oddball and friends by bullies/family/nay sayers in a party/reunion setting. You know what? I like it. Hell I love it. While Ratatouille didn't have the emotional family dynamic punch that The Incredibles had it was almost better because it was about cooking and the love of food. Hell I got sniffly just because the protagonist, Remy, was so passionate about food and cooking. What The Incredibles was to superheroes, Ratatouille is to gastronomy.

Oh yeah and Peter O'Toole's villianous Anton Ego, restaurant critic, is now my favorite animated movie villian.

Plus the animated short before the movie - Lifted - completely turned around the bad mood I've been in for weeks.

Michael Giacchino's score was good, playful and French, but not something I would actively seek out unless I needed something to put on random with the Amelie score.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Day Watch

Night Watch was pretty good - an unexpected and welcome change of pace from Russia sci-fi. Day Watch is the second part in the trilogy and I was pretty unimpressed. I was pretty bored and by the end I didn't care about what was going on. Yep there's a bunch of strobe lights and Russians having a party and the witch from the first movie and...

Both the book and the movie fizzled out in the last third. Meh.


1408 (2007) dir. Mikael Hafstrom

John Cusack was John Cusack, Sam Jackson wore a nice suit, and Room 1408 was haunted.

Not much of a review but 1408 is exactly what it is - a haunted house movie with John Cusack in it. I knew what I was getting and got exactly what I was expecting. Some of the movie was spooky, a few jump scares, John Cusack says something cocky, Stephen King's "man dealing with fallout of family crisis" storyline, decent direction and cinematography, some neat spooky sound design, and a fairly forgettable score with a Carpenter's song as the "uh oh" trigger. I wasn't disappointed nor was I blown away.

1408 is a solid creepy ghost story/haunted house movie that moves a little slow at times - I think the audience we saw it with was bored most of the time. Worth seeing at a matinee if you can sneak off and hide one afternoon during the week.

Humourous sidenotes:

I accidentally wore my "Steven King Rules" Monster Squad shirt to the movie. Spoooooky! I still felt ashamed when I realized what I did. At least I wasn't the lady who wore a Serenity shirt to Slither.

The next day Amanda and I were having dinner at the diner next to our house and that Carpenters song came on! Spooooooky!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Into the Blue (2005)

Yes I rented it. Yes we watched it. You know what it was actually perfectly reasonable. In all honesty I'll buy it if I see it on sale somewhere. Why?

The movie chugs along, blah, blah, blah, beautiful beach people, beautiful beaches and then BAM! actiony goodness. The movie goes sideways in the third act and turns into a kick ass actioner. There are several brutal shark attacks, shootings, spearguns, Jessica Alba whomps the shit out a dude, another brutal shark attack, and a couple of painful impact shots.

We really weren't expecting to like this movie at all and really it wasn't very good but for a summertime popcorn movie it hit the spot. The acting is respectable, the story is a knock-off of Benchley's The Deep, the chicks are hot, the dudes are buff, Scott Caan is probably sick of hearing that he really looks like his Dad, and there are sharks and people in SCUBA gear fighting. I'm a sucker for movies with sharks and people fighting in SCUBA gear in them. Thunderball is my favorite Bond movie for this reason.

Don't scoff, get off your high horse, and just rent Into the Blue. It's good summertime fun.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shadow of the Sword (2005)

Epic period piece set during the Inquisition. More boring and predictable than it should have been. It wasn't bad in any way, the acting was fine - heavy use of "hey that guy from that other period piece", the camera work and direction were fine, there were dirty peasants and some brief blood & nudity - not at the same time.

All in all not bad but nothing extraordinary at all.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

F*CK: A Documentary (2006)

Yes, an entire documentary about the "F-Word". That's about it. I'm not trying to be flippant but there's really not too much to say about this. You're either going to see it and have a good dose of "preaching to the choir" or you're not going to see it. Ice-T and Billy Connolly are the best moments of the documentary but I'm a big fan of them anyway.

Basically there's no new or interesting information in this. If I had seen this ten years ago I would have been all "right on!". Now I don't really give a shit. Oh yeah there's some good footage of Hunter S. .

Monday, May 28, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Gong Li has an awesome rack. In fact it is so amazing that it's completely distracting in every scene it appears. The girl who plays Chan the serving girl also has an awesome rack but Gong Li's is like a Chinese National Treasure. She is also an amazing actress. I first saw her in Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine. Her work in The Emperor and the Assassin was top notch. Unfortunately she was in Miami Vice and that Hannibal Rising movie. I do want to see her in 2046 but that's because I want to see 2046.

Chow Yun-Fat is also in the movie and it's great to see him acting and being as awesome as he can be.

Curse of the Golden Flower is not as thrilling as Hero or House of Flying Daggers but it is visually staggering. After an hour I started to wonder if the colors were actually on the screen or if my skullcap tincture was freaking me out. I found myself wondering how they create those colors and layers of texture. It was pretty cool.

As for the story there's an Emperor and a crazy Empress and the blah, blah, blah plot, three sons, intrigue, Gong Li's rack, golden flowers, crazy talk, crazy talk, battles, tears, sumptuous colors, blah, blah, blah plot, battles, tears, everyone dies. The end. What'd you expect? It's Chinese high epic melodrama.

Off Limits (1988)

Willem Defoe and Gregory Hines play plainclothes military police in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Someone starts shooting whores, serial killer style. The guys are on the job but why is their investigation meeting trouble at every turn? Why is Amanda Pays playing a French nun? Why is Fred Ward so loveable? Has Scott Glenn ever had a starring role? Can VC fly? Is Defoe going to fuck that rice or eat it? All these questions and more are Off Limits.

All kidding aside I think that the last time I saw this movie I must have have been in junior high. There was a long stretch of time in the late eighties and early nineties when grim Vietnam movies were a dime a dirty dozen. Most of them were pretty bleak, grim, and depressing movies: Platoon, Off Limits, Casualties of War, Full Metal Jacket, Born on the Fourth of July, and various straight to video actioners. Off Limits isn't the best of the bunch but it certainly isn't the worst. Defoe and Hines have a great rapport and some of the dialogue is great. This is one of those movies I really enjoy but some reason don't feel the need to sell people on it. Either you're gonna like it or you're not. Though one selling point is Scott Glenn's performance. It's great.

Apocalypto (2006)

It's understandable why people were so confused/conflicted/shock'n'awe'd by Apocalypto. It's a pretty solid kick ass action movie only set in a nearly unrecognizable - for this Anglo - Central American past. While yes the movie was not historically accurate - I thought that Cortes and the Spaniards showed up on the Aztecs watch, oh wait they did - and yeah there were a couple of moments I actually said, "Hurry up with the killing." but all in all Apocalypto was exactly what I wanted to watch on a Sunday afternoon by myself while eating leftover pizza.

The acting was perfectly reasonable, the story was perfectly reasonable, the cinematography was excellent, the set and costume design was even better, and except for a couple moments of shaky cam the direction was right on. One thing I was surprised by was how un-graphically violent it was. Saving Private Ryan is far worse. I wasn't disappointed but I was a little let down. I checked out a couple of reviews and people were whining about the violence. I did like the hand to hand combat sequences. People just beat the shit out of each other, no kung-fu but bad ass throws and grapples and good old fashioned ass kicking.

I would like to see more movies about the Aztecs - in particular I'd like to see a big budget Cortes vs Montezuma movie - lots of blood in the sand. I think there are a couple of Spanish flicks from the 60s that I remember seeing on TV a million years ago. Worse comes to worse I'll just have to reread Bernal Diaz's The Conquest of New Spain again.

Friday, May 18, 2007

28 Weeks Later (2007)

I wasn't expecting much from 28 Weeks Later - I'm in the minority who thought 28 Days Later was a pretty weak movie. Okay, the first half was good and the second half was nonsense but we're not talking about that movie we're talking about the sequel.

It was pretty cool, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to a fellow horror fan. Don't expect much from it and you'll be fine. Robert Carlyle is Robert Carlyle - though it's difficult not to make Ravenous jokes during his screen time. Everyone else is fine. It doesn't matter because this is one of those movie where you're just waiting for whatever bad thing to happen to them. Personally I like that. The writing was fine, nothing fancy. I did have a problem with the damned shaky-cam that plagues movies now. I don't care if it represents frenetic blah, blah, blah. I want to savor my gore and feel like I've been thrown in a strobe-lit blood filled dryer.

The gore factor was perfectly reasonable...what gore could be seen through the shaky-cam and lighting effects - one section of the movie was shown through a night scope.

All in all worth seeing for a matinee.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Frailty (2002) dir. Bill Paxton

Frailty has been one of those titles that has been on my netflix queue for years and years. I shuffled it up to the top of the queue for a serial killer double feature with The Minus Man (1999).

Frailty is the story of a man and his two sons set in the late 1970s in BFE Texas. The father - played by Bill Paxton - receives a vision from God. There are demons among us and they must be destroyed. The older son thinks his Dad has gone crazier than a shithouse rat and the younger son buys into it. Dad then gets an axe and a pair of workgloves from the Lord with which to smite his foes. From here the movie goes sideways. To his credit Bill Paxton plays the Dad well, he could have easily become a rolling-eyed frothing loony. Instead Paxton's whacko really and truly believes that he is doing the Lord's work. His crazy is spooky and rings true. The sons are played well by some kids I've never seen in anything. The older brother has some really good lines and there a few moments where his acting is effortless. The younger brother is completely devoted to his father to the point of, "Wow, that kid is gonna be fucked up when he grows up." All in all these three work well together and there are some really dark moments.

If that was all there is to the movie it would have been great: a period piece dealing with insanity, family, and the effects of extreme violence on children, etc., etc., etc. . A nice, neatly wrapped piece of Texan creepiness. Well, the rest of the movie doesn't do that. The rest of the movie takes place twenty years later. There's a new serial killer on the loose. Powers Boothe is the FBI agent on the case and Matthew McConaughey is the key to the case. Oh yeah Matthew is one of the brothers and the other brother is the serial killer. These parts of the movie are pretty crappy: poorly paced, TNT acting, and since this was shot on digital back in the late 90s, looks like cheap porn or local access music videos. It's a shame that these parts of the movie spoil the rest of it but there it is.

I can't recommend seeking this movie out but if you see it on TV give it a chance. Bill Paxton isn't a bad director and is a pretty good actor and it's fun to watch him degenrate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz is the kind of movie you either see or you don't and you enjoy it or you don't.

I enjoyed the hell out of Hot Fuzz. It really is an action movie made by action movie fans for action movie fans. Wether or not that makes for great film making isn't certain but I haven't had this much fun seeing a movie in the theater in a long time. I walked out of the theater wanting to buy another ticket and see again right there.

There definitely is a lot of fun to be had trying to find references to Shaun and all the movie tributes - not just Hollywood action classics but British movies from the 70s and 80s. Once you stop doing that and just get swept up in the movie - about halfway through for me - I just had a blast. The climax of the movie has one of the best gun battles I've seen in a long time and no that crap gun battle in Miami Vice doesn't count for beans.

Two problems I have with Hot Fuzz:

1) Internet pre-hype and the fact that we've been seeing trailers for months now. The same trailer. The trailer is good but unfortunately gives away a good chunk of the comedy. It doesn't give everything away but there were moments of "Oh hey, this part was in the trailer."

2) There are moments of absurdity in this movie. I'm talking above and beyond normal absurdity - near silliness. I'm not going to give anything away but after you see the movie we can talk about it. I'm sure after seeing the movie again I'll love these elements but right now they smack a little of, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" "Yeah that'd be fucking awesome!" "Awesome! Let's do it!"

I am looking forward to seeing Hot Fuzz again, hopefully in theater. I'd write more of a review but there's too much to give away and damn it just go see it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Smokin' Aces (2006)

After seeing it and being disappointed in the theater we watched it with our neighbour folks. Y'know it's a damn shame that the movie falls apart. It has some great actors - and some piss poor acting by Andy Garcia. Mr. Garcia why do you develop a vaguely Southern accent halfway through the movie? The alternate ending is just as rotten as the theatrical ending. Did they do an advance screening for slack-jawed hillbillies who needed to be spoon-fed the "twist"?

Unfortunately I think this genre of action movies needs to be retired for a while. The wacky, twisty, hyper slick, and 90s hipster characters need a vacation. It might be time to shift back towards vet action movies - loose cannons, locos, and former special forces dudes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pathfinder (2007)

What a disappointment. Totally wasted potential. Cheap jump scares. Hyper-kinetic combat scenes. Piss poor CGI. Worse digital blood. Mindless, boring, and not particularly worth a shit. I was actually more bored when I left. I had more fun playing Pirates of the Caribbean 2 pinball in the lobby.

Don't waste your money - seriously. I could have gotten more use out of my money if I had wiped your ass with it - not even my own ass. If you want to see a movie with Vikings just watch The 13th Warrior.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Grindhouse (2007)

You probably have - in one way or another - heard something about Grindhouse. The hype machine has been running full blast for months now. Reviewers have been jumping up and down in rapture or piss, bitching, and moaning as only net-reviewers can do. I suggest cruising for general reviews and checking out Louis Black's excellent article from the Austin Chronicle about the history of grindhouse movies and all sorts of good stuff. Here's the link to an article about Grindhouse being an opening weekend dog and Weinstein wanting to chop the movie:What went so wrong with Grindhouse.

I was too young to see many of the grindhouse/exploitation/splatter movies in the theater but growing up I had WXXA Channel 23 and UHF 62. I spent most of the weekends of my youth watching these channels. On Saturday, beginning at noon would be a triple feature of 60s and 70s movies: thrillers, westerns, espionage, war, car movies, Bronson vehicles, badly dubbed European junk, crime classics, and of course horror. 4pm Saturday afternoons were awesome with hits like: Demon Dog, Food of the Gods, Blood Beach, Squirm, Life Force. Oh yeah real gems. Then - if my Grandpa would let me stay up or if I snuck in some TV time - late night horror shows and exploitation movies. As a teenager I watched all kinds of crap thanks to the magic of VHS. Later, when Mike & I teamed up we watched mountains of movies. I guess more or less Grindhouse was the kind of movie tailor-made for me.

Grindhouse was a blast, a really fun experience. We went to the Alamo Drafthouse and in all honesty this was the way to see it - a packed theater, burgers, and cold beer. Hootin' and hollerin' fun. Most of the problems I had with the movies I had after walking out and most of those problems were with Death Proof.

Planet Terror was the kind of movie that I've been complaining that they don't make anymore. It was gnarly, nasty gory but gore - none of this torture slasher crap that's been cranked out over the last few years. Gore, fountains of the stuff, dismemberments, decapitations, vehicular homicide, cannibalism, oozing sores, and all kinds of nastiness - the audience loved it. The story was straight up: evil military wants toxic gas, toxic gas makes people into flesh hungry psychos, bad-ass protagonists are immune to gas so it's up to them to save the day. What more do you want? This ain't a fuckin' Merchant-Ivory movie. Okay, I could have used more T&A.

The acting was what you expect from a Rodriguez movie - the cast seem to be having so much fun that you can't help but get caught up in the insanity. The directing and cinematography - again it's a Rodriguez movie - you just get caught up in the fun. The score was on one hand a bit too Sin City with the heavy handed saxophone theme but the incidental scoring had some synth work over a subdued theme and it sounded like something straight from a giallo classic.

Oh and the Machete preview was totally, completely, shit your britches awesome. It would be a crime to spoil such awesomeness for any of you who plan to see it. God it was cool. I would much rather have seen a double feature of Planet Terror with Machete.

The trailers between Planet Terror and Death Proof were - as we all know - fake but they were a total blast. My personal favorite was Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the SS. C'mon people it's Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS with werewolves! Let's just say it was awesome and leave it at that.

A question for you folks who haven't seen it at the Drafthouse - did it have the preview for Hobo with a Shotgun? Just curious.

Then we have Death Proof. Right off the bat, the car sequences were some of the best I have seen in a long time, a real long time. The wrecks were pretty freaking intense and exactly what I wanted to see. The wife beater Kurt Russell wore in Big Trouble in Little China is hanging on the wall of the Texas Chili Parlor. A good chunk of the beginning of the movie was filmed in my neighborhood. The soundtrack was pretty excellent in my opinion - a solid mix of STAX, Brit Invasion, 70s schlock, in short a good Tarantino soundtrack. Zoe Bell - as herself - is my new crush.

Problems with Death Proof:

It was a major mistake to put Death Proof after Planet Terror. Granted Death Proof wasn't finished because - if you believe the Austin rumour mill - he was run out of town for chasing under-age tail and just being a party monster. Who cares? Even if it was finished it didn't belong after Planet Terror. Too much time spent on chicks having chick talk. Now before you get all uppity and offended - there are some enjoyable moments of dialogue between the women though some of it stinks a little of written by a guy mythical bad-ass macho women. However, this is supposed to be an exploitation grindhouse homage. Let's get to killin'! Get to jigglin'! C'mon, seriously. There were a couple of moments I looked at my watch during the dialogue. In fact the dialogue was so realistic that I realized I could just as easily be listening to drunk Austin chicks in RL. I got bored and started looking at the set dressing and playing, "Guess the local." I have to admit - though I'm not proud of this - I started getting annoyed by the fact that I kept getting distracted by Austin. I realize it's a nit-pick but c'mon it's my neighborhood, get it fucking right.

When it comes down to it Death Proof could have been a pretty good stand alone movie with some polish and more character development but as a companion piece for Planet Terror it failed the genre it was trying to pay homage to. Death Proof could have been a very stripped down, intense, and effective chase movie. Well, it was...for about twenty minutes.

When it comes down to it I can understand why Grindhouse bombed its first weekend out. David Denby wrote, "The movie won't do much for anyone who doesn't have an academic or fanboy absorption in junk." To a certain extent that's true. Your average movie goer doesn't know or care or want to see a movie like Grindhouse - c'mon opening weekend it was trounced by Blades of Glory and Are We Done Yet? Granted it was a full house last night here in Austin, TX but like we say here, "Austin ain't everywhere else."

While thinking about the movie and putting together this review together it made me wish that I was in high school seeing this for the first time - not be so damned jaded and nit-picky. Then again if movies were good enough I would have to be jaded and nit-picky. Damn it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Lookout (2007) dir. Scott Frank

The Lookout is an indie heist movie that is a better character study than it is a heist movie. Not to say that the heist is bad - if the heist wasn't there The Lookout would have been a pretty bleak and potentially dull movie.

What makes the movie is the acting. Jeff Daniels pretty much made the movie for me - trust me, he's almost worth the price of admission alone. I've only seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Brick (2006) and Third Rock from the Sun and now The Lookout but he's a damn fine actor. He seems well-suited for indie crime movies. The bad guys weren't anything particularly spectacular which is not a bad thing - they were just sketches of stereotypes: the manipulative leader, the Lance Henrikssen doppleganger, the musclebound get away driver, the scruffy safe cracker, and the sexpot bait.

The Lookout is definitely a winter rental, which is when it'll probably be available on DVD.

7.5 out 10.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Time Machine (2002) Dir. Simon Wells

This movie was actually OK> If it was a video game I would play it. If you don't want the sci-fi adventure The Time Machine from 2002 spoiled for you, DO NOT read on. Repeat, if you do not want this movie ruined for you and were planning on some special day in the future of watching The Time Machine say during a marriage proposal or the birth of your child Spoilers are included.

American Werewolf in Paris Orcs, blow darts, a moon torn asunder and Guy Pierce in a "Basin of Gore" are just a few of the surprises that await you during this 96 minute adventure ride. Guy Pierce tries to prevent the death of his love by traveling back in time. Instead of getting shot, she gets hit by a carriage. I actually laughed out loud at that. So he looks for answers in the future... and fucks that up too. He arrives in the future to find that our colonization of the moon has destroyed it (as he gets further on in the future, they show the moon pulled more and more apart). The A.W.i.P. orcs are hilarious and they look like something out of the Dark Crystal. Jeremy Irons' make-up is pretty cool and he gives a sort of Saruman-esque performance.

All in all, this is an eighties film made 20 years to late. I enjoyed it but don't go out of your way. Think Stargate with American Werewolf in Paris Orcs...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shooter (2007) dir. Antoine Fuqua

Many of us grew up as fans of action movies - those of you who didn't go put on something frilly and make me a turkey pot pie - and as an action movie fan I was kind of pumped about Shooter. It's pretty standard if you're familiar with the genre:

Elite US military bad-ass sees his best friend die in front of him during a mission gone wrong. Fast forward three years - our hero is living in the middle of BFE alone with his dog. One day government agents show up and ask for his help. Only he can stop an attempt on the President's life. Elite bad-ass does the job because he has sworn to protect what America stands for even he doesn't like who's in charge - he's a patriot. Then on the day of the "thwarted" assassination the President gets lead poisoning and the elite bad-ass gets framed, gets shot, escapes, has to rely on training to stay alive. Gets healed up, gets some allies, goes after the corrupt government officials and the evil Senator backing them.

Sure we've seen it before but this was exactly what I was expecting and exactly what I wanted to see. Movies like this are one of my cinematic comfort foods. A great movie to kick off a long day of Saturday afternoon watching.

The acting was pretty satisfying. I'm a big Marky Mark fan and will pretty much watch anything with him it. Danny Glover was a great sleazy "You can't touch me, I know people." Black Ops bad guy. Ned Beatty really made the movie for me as the corrupt Senator. He kind of reminded me of Noble Willingham's Sheldon 'Shelly' Marcone from The Last Boy Scout.

You're not missing much if you wait until this is on DVD or if you can sneak into a matinee. Definitely enjoyable.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Marie Antoinette (2006) Dir. Sofia Coppola

Marie Antoinette is one of the best films in years. I have loved all of Sofia Coppola's films since her beginning and this one is no exception. The film is brilliant eye-candy and takes a unique perspective on the ill-fated queen of France. Coppola has a wonderful way of (and I need to tread lightly here) giving her films a feminine perspective without abandoning her male viewers (I speak specifically about her almost sexualized appreciation of Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation and of Kirsten Dunst in The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette.) Coppola's characters are not incredibly wordy which gives the actors she uses the ability to exude the character's persona without distraction. I personally have trouble accepting Kirsten Dunst when she talks too much >.<

Costumes and sets are a whirl of Baroque Sorbet. The soundtrack is an odd assortment of mostly New Romantics (i.e. Adam & the Ants, Siouxie & the Banshees, The Cure, New Order, etc.) which is rather haunting and surprisingly fitting at the same time. The film slows towards the middle to accomodate the story which is not a detriment to the film whatsoever. See this movie. From the moment "Natural's Not In It" by Gang of Four kicks in at the very opening you are in for a visual and aural treat.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Host (2006)

We managed to score some passes for The Host - conveniently on a Tuesday night. I only knew a bit about the movie from the preview and a bit of hype from and aicn and a couple of other sources but all in all just figured it was going to be a Korean monster movie. It was a Korean monster movie but it was definitely more of a school of nature striking back at man a.k.a. "What have we done?" instead of booga-booga gonna eatcha monster.

Basically it's the story of a charming disfunctional family versus a big gnarly genetic mutant river monster. I can understand the comparisons to Jaws but in my opinion it was more like Close Encounters of the Third Kind - as far as creepiness, fear of the government, and feel. I enjoyed The Host but honestly feel that I missed a majority of the references, jokes, satire, and social commentary simply because I am not South Korean. According to the sites I've checked out The Host has broken Korean box office records.

Bong Joon-Ho's interview with Cineaste is an interesting read and makes the movie a bit more enjoyable. I do think it's interesting that The Host is considered an anti-American movie. I understood that the American military doctor was the bad guy. The fact that the beginning of the movie/beast creation was based on fact - a guy was ordered to pour a massive amount of formaldehyde down the drain into the Han river lends the movie a certain creepiness. This doesn't strike me as anti-American though - shifty government scientists have been fucking up nature and mankind in our horror movies for decades.

I don't think that The Host will do well in American theaters, not because of the anti-American sentiment but because we like our monster movies loud, violent, scary, and hardcore. The Host has too many head-scratching moments that get shrugged off because of cultural differences. I recommend the movie to any of you folks who are Asian cinema fans or fans of a more sophisticated monster movie. Of course there's already talk of The Host being remade by Hollywood so if you want to wait and see something stupid, loud, and generally crappy then just be patient.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Crank (2006)

Crank was, is, and will continue to be a totally bizarre, retarded, and utter blast of a movie. I didn't see this movie in the theater because, well, Transporter & Transporter 2 sucked. I mean sucked something unholy. Worse than bad exploitation anime. Jason Statham rules and I'm a big fan and enjoy his mugging and at times pure mean amounts of violence but his movies suck.

I don't know why I rented Crank - it was just one of those movies that I put in my netflix queue and then one day it arrives and I go, "What the fuck? When did I decide to rent this? Was I drunk?" So Sunday - I didn't have anything to watch so I threw it in.

Crank kicked ass. Ridiculous? Yep. Violent? Hell yep. T&A? Check and check. Techno/punk/LA rap? Indeed. Crazy camera work/lunatic angles/hyper kinetic editing tricks? You betcha. Crank had everything except Lou Diamond Phillips - now that would've been off the chain. Dwight Yokam was in it and I'm a big fan of his acting career so that was double plus good.

This is the kind of movie that is so absurd and insane that you have to just jump into it and drill some holes in your head and give in. Actually Crank might make for an acceptable double feature with The Big Hit.

American Hardcore (2006) Dir. Paul Rachman

I owned this book immediately after it was published. I coveted the way it was put together, almost as an anthology of punk rock show fliers. Steven Blush (author) essentially published his entire collection of hardcore memorabilia including photos, album covers, zines, etc. I feel that it gives a wonderful illustration of both the politics of the time and the DIY mentality.

With such a love for the book, it is difficult to approach the film objectively. To me, the essence of the book is screaming, snarling, bleeding youth which the movie quickly dispenses with by interviewing aging scene contributors like Tony Cadena (Adolescents), Al Barile (SS Decontrol), and of course a greying Henry Rollins (Black Flag).

As an introduction to what was happening in punk rock during the early to mid-eighties, I think that the film will turn on alot of kids that think bands like My Chemical Romance are punk. To people who have had a couple of kids, watch sitcoms and have otherwise completely forgotten their roots, I think the film will be a fun walk down memory lane with alot of, "Oh my God, I had completely forgotten about those guys."

Obviously, the film cannot go near as in depth as the book and leaves out alot of very important factors that the book addresses (The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, Necros, Youth Brigade, etc.) Another obvious point is that much of the archival footage looks bad and sounds worse. I realized about a third of the way through the film that they had taken live footage and edited the studio album recordings over it. In my opinion, it would have been alot better to use many of the outstanding photos in the book to illustrate points in the evolution of hardcore and have them narrated by some interviews.

All in all, a watchable and entertaining film for anyone interested in hardcore period.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

IQ 32 (Midwest Fuck You)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Casino Royale (2006) dir Martin Campbell

Anything I say cannot convey how awesome this movie was. I will say that whatever reservations I had about this movie that made me not see this in the theater I was completely and totally wrong and I apologize for anything bad I said about this movie.

Wait, no one thing: I will continue to say that Casino Royale has a pretty crappy opening song. That's not to say that it's awful - it works with the credits. The song just sucks. I would've gone in a more trip-hop kind of way but hey that's me.

So except for the sucky opening song this is an awesome Bond movie. I actually like James Bond again. I think this movie made me renew my love of action movies again.

I'm buying this when I have the $$$. The two-disc "special edition" is not worth it. The second disc are some crappy making of documentaries and a made-for-TV special Bond Girls Are Forever. Not worth the time.

300 (2007) dir. Zach Snyder

300 is one of those movies that seems to have split audiences and me. Audiences love this movie. I did not. Apparently I should have liked this movie: sword & sandal action, monsters, action, Frank Miller, and a whole bunch of woo! I'm more of the opinion that 300 was nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing.

On the upside:

300 does complete justice to Frank Miller's work. Personally I'm a Sin City kind of guy - both comic and movie. 300 definitely looks like the comic and nice work guys.

This movie will do exceptionally well with women. Hot dudes in leather underwear being heroic and kicking ass with added ogle appeal. It's not off-puttingly gory - for those ladies who would normally not watch anything with gore. The female character is strong and possibly the most interesting character in the movie.

It's a sword and sandal action movie. When's the last time they made one of those?

Thanks to Bart & Sarah we got to see this at the IMAX in San Antonio at the Palladium Theater. The theater experience was surreal that it really gave it a "Blood & Circus" feel.

On the downside:

There have been a good number of reviewers who have panned or been hard on 300 because they call it a video game movie. If they meant they wanted to skip every cut scene in between action sequences then yes I agree. Painful over acting or under acting or sometimes barely acting, vapid plot, cardboard characters - I didn't care at all about any of the characters, a barely rousing narrator - hey Faramir no wonder they like your brother better, silly splatter pixellated gore, and a general grainy pixellated "style", over blown frenetic and at times absurd score. Not so much bad as boring which in an action movie is even worse.

All in all:

Part of the reason that I am so disappointed by this movie is because I expected it to kick ass. I wasn't expecting Babel or whatever preachy drek is considered top shelf. For all intents and purposes I got what I was expecting but it ended up being a poor imitation of a genre I love - guys against all odds. I'm sticking with movies like The 13th Warrior and for what it's worth I'm glad Pathfinder is coming out next month.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Black Snake Moan (2007)

No need to mince words here: Black Snake Moan is not what you are led to expect from the posters and trailers. This is not the Southern Gothic exploitation movie some reviewers have called it. It starts off in that direction but about two-thirds of the way through switches gears and shifts into a piss poor message of hope movie.

On the upside Black Snake Moan is great to look at, the music is scorching, the acting is solid, (Samuel L. Jackson gets to act for once) and even skeletal Christina Ricci has a great rack. The first half of the movie is great and moves along nicely no fuss, no muss. And then it falls apart. My biggest problem is with time. There just seems to be an absurdly short period of time for everything to happen. This makes all that transpires seem trite, forced, and undermines the rest of the movie. If characters had the chance to develop a believable rapport, been able to really dig into their characters, then Black Snake Moan could have been Old Testament powerful.

Maybe I'm missing something but in the end Black Snake Moan was about as thrilling as a muzak version of a Stevie Ray Vaughn song.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Prestige (2006)

Christopher Nolan makes pretty cool movies - Memento (2000), Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005), & The Prestige (2006) are cool. They've got a great look, decent scripts, and are generally interesting to watch. That being said I didn't think that The Prestige was all that great. It was good but...

1) I didn't care or like or dislike or really feel anything for the characters. Two rival magicians and the stunning woman they both love and the greatest trick in the world. Okay, sounds good. Throw in Michael Caine and David Bowie? Bonus! Maybe I wasn't giving Jackman, Bale, and Johansson a chance. Note to Johansson: you're gorgeous and - when not trying - a really endearing actress. When you put on a terrible Brit accent and try to act it's just kind of painful to watch.

2) The Prestige would have made a great graphic novel adaptation of the novel. Steampunk just works better as a graphic novel than a movie. It's just too difficult a genre to translate i.e. Steamboy or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

3) The surprise ending is heavy handed and spoiled the rest of the movie for me. Amanda liked it and I'm sure that there are plenty of you out there who dug it. Our differences are what make us all special.

On the upside:

1) Magic is neat.

2) Michael Caine and David Bowie were in the movie.

3) It was beautifully shot and Scarlett Johansson wore corsets.

4) Magic is neat.

Oddly enough watching The Prestige really made me want to watch The Illusionist (2006) even though it has Ed Norton in it. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Abandoned (2007)

The Abandoned (2007) was a pretty good ghost story. Ghost story/haunted house movies are a) few and far between & b) mainly crap. It just works out that way. The Abandoned wasn't particularly complicated or rife with twists but there was something satifying in it for me. I wouldn't say run out and throw down money for it in the theater but rent it when it comes out in time for Halloween.

Apologies but I am under the weather and can't summon the energy for a grand slam review. Here's a full review from

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Number 23 (2007)

While this is not a review of the movie I just had to bring this The Number 23 review to your attention. Kevin Crust - you rule. I'm a bad review junkie and this is an awesome bad review. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Starter for 10 (2006)

Starter for 10 is my generations' sort of second hand nostalgia - that is if Adrian Mole was more of a role model than Holden Caufield, your favorite bands ended up Mancunian and mix tapes were the only way that you could let someone into your life.

The plot is basically this: University bound guy from a working class boardwalk town gets accepted on his own merit. Falls for busty dream blonde while ignoring the fact that the "funky" hat brunette is the better match. Ends up screwing everything up, has falling out with his buddy who was left behind. Life goes to shit, he sulks back to his working class roots while Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want plays. Makes up with his best friend, gets his shit together, and goes "Once more unto the breach."

If this doesn't sound particularly fresh well...shut up. I had a smile on my ugly mug, a toe tapping, and laughed at those moments - "I can smile about it now but at the time it was terrible."

I honestly didn't know this was a period piece until I saw the preview - by the by the preview has an awful song playing over it that would have been better replaced by an Echo & the Bunnymen or Tears for Fears song or hell Peter Gabriel's Games Without Frontiers would've worked well.

Here's the obligatory run down:

Acting: I don't know who these actors are - except for Charles Dance who in my opinion should get a lot more work than he does - but I plan to see what movies they've been in or will be in. Protagonist Brian Jackson - James Chronicles of Narnia. Well. Huh. In any case he was really good in Starter for 10. The ladies were spot on and hot, y'know in an accessable way. Supporting cast was solid through and through.

Directing & Cinematography: I had not a single problem. Solid work. What can I say I'm a sucker for shots of shutdown for the season boardwalks. Most of it was unobtrusive and there were no fireworks or "look at this fabulously artistic shot".

Writing: Adapted from David Nicolls' A Question of Attraction - which I plan to read soon - by David Nicholls was brilliant. It captured the awkwardness and humilitations of those years of life. I was cringing as I was laughing.

Soundtrack: All joking aside I think that I made this mix tape in the mid-90s. I'd buy the soundtrack if I didn't already own all the songs...except for one or two.

If you get the chance to see this movie then I hope you do. That is if you're an old fart close to or past 30. If you're not then you should see it anyway - at the very least it's a really endearing romantic comedy of errors of sorts with an amazing soundtrack.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go lay upon the floor, smoke, and listen to something melancholy.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

I'm going to start by saying that I never liked the books even as a kid. I was much more a LOTR and Lloyd Alexander fan. The characters in Lewis's books were all pretty much spoiled English brats and nothing particularly interesting happened. I didn't and still don't care about any of the religious allegory folderol. This movie gives the impression of being made simply to have something to plug the post-LOTR holiday fantasy movie vaccuum.

Narnia is an excellent example of what can potentially go wrong with fantasy movies:
1) None of the characters are interesting, developed, charming in that little British kid way, or even remotely likeable.
2) Everything that could have been cool was pretty crappy - either because the movie was edited slap-dash and quick cut or because there wasn't really anything cool in the movie save a couple of WETA monsters.
3) The score was...well...I don't remember any of the score so that's a bad sign.
4) Aslan died because he was ashamed of being in such a crappy movie.

I hope I don't have the kind of kid who would like this swill. Then again if fed a diet of the same stuff I grew up on plus LOTR chances are they might have decent taste.

Because I Said So (2007)

I am never going to see this movie. Chances are that none of you are going to see it either unless forced to by family members during some sick holiday spending time together death march.

The reason I mention this movie is because i have to draw your attention to the reviews for it: Man, some of the reviews are brutal. Scroll down to the bottom to read the Wall Street Journal verdict.

Reading negative reviews on is one of my favorite ways to waste time. Granted I also like reading negative reviews for movies I like just so I can get my dander up. If you have the chance check out the reviews for Ghost Rider.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tears of the Black Tiger (2001)

This was kind of a crap shoot. Either this movie was going to be abyssmal or pretty cool. The group we went with was fairly divided. I thought that it was pretty cool.

If you haven't heard anything about Tears of the Black Tiger then let me tell you the basic premise. It's a Thai Western with star-cross'd lovers shot in a classic '60s style only with insane ultra-violence and filmed only a few years ago. If you're familiar with classic Westerns with "John...Marsha...John...Marsha" melodrama complete with sighs, wistful glances, and tears...lots of tears then you won't be surprised. If you're familiar with old HK movies with melodrama/violence/melodrama/violence/"Happiness is as fleeting as the sweet Spring breeze." sigh/cheezy song/violence/melodrama/big showdown/tears/the end then you won't be surprised. Some of you may be surprised by the level of graphic violence. I was to a certain extent. There are: a couple of pretty grisly head shots, explosions that blast people into little chunks, dismemberments, and lots of people getting lead poisoning. It's pretty refreshing actually because the action breaks up a good chunk of melodrama & flashbacks. The violence also creates a good amount of the humor in the movie, at least in my book.

Apart from the cheese and the action and the astounding colors I will say that I really dug the soundtrack and look forward to adding to my collection if I can find it. The soundtrack consists of an insane mix of Thai ballads, lounge numbers, mushy love songs, bizarre pseudo-Spaghetti Western influenced scoring, twangy guitar & whistling - I swear to God it was Thai Western Swing, and one bizarre piece of scoring that had a lot of disconcerting warble on it. Sure it wouldn't make for everyday listening but still it'd be a solid addition to a collection.

I wouldn't say that this movie is for everyone. I can understand why it would turn a good number of people away. Watch the trailer. If you like what you see then watch the movie. If not then don't watch the movie. Simple as that.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)

After his success with Escape From New York (1981) Carpenter decided to remake The Thing. I'm sure that somewhere in my N-BOT sodden mind I can remember why he chose to do this but for here and now I cannot remember why. Really my shady memory doesn't matter because...

His version of The Thing is fucking brilliant. It's in my top five best horror movies ever made. Seriously kiddos - this is a scary fucking movie. This is not a movie you watch with your buddies and quaff ungodly amounts of cheap cerveza and yuk it up. Like the original Night of the Living Dead or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre this is a movie best watched alone. Personally The Thing is best watched on a snowday.

So what makes me love this movie so much? Well...Carpenter's homeboy Kurt Russell puts down some fucking awesome acting as R. J. MacReady. The fact that this cowboy on the ass-end of the world doesn't play into the "oh gosh it an...huh...what was that?" kind of role makes it. He reminds me of Dallas - Tom Skerrit's character in Alien - that is if Dallas hadn't been such a corporate cog. Add to that the fact that the "supporting" cast is brilliant makes for an awesome movie. It really is an ensemble piece. You'll recognize everyone if you're old enough.

Why is this a scary movie and in my top five of scary movies?

Well...because it's perfectly paced. From start to finish there's doubt and an overwhleming sense of unease. No matter how many times I see The Thing I still get that twisted-up sensation during the blood test. I get wrapped up with this movie every time.

Add to the fact...

Ennio Morricone's score to The Thing is flawless. The last time I checked the score was out of print (OP) and remaining copies of the CD reprint were very expensive. Not quite as $$$ as Michael Kamen's score for Die Hard but still...

All in all: If you haven't seen this movie then the fekkin' Hell wit ya. This is one of the best.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Action movies of the late 80s and early 90s were awesome - this is something we can all agree upon. I was digging around on netflix and ran across Roger Ebert's review for The Last Boy Scout. Part of me wants to call him a sissy panty waist for crying about violence. Lately I've become more and more annoyed by people who complain about violence and profanity in movies. I don't care if they don't want to watch those kinds of movies that's fine. I don't want to watch movies with Drew Barrymore. However don't watch a movie then piss, bitch, and moan about how it was so violent and so vulgar and crude - a recent example being The Departed. It's a fucking action movie.

Part of my love for The Last Boy Scout is because of the insane violence and over the top profanity. Joe Hallenbeck is one my heroes. Seriously. I love the fact that he's completely beat down by life and just doesn't fucking care. This is what saves his bacon throughout the movie.

I'm pretty sure that this movie is a litmus test for new people I meet. Chances are if you don't like this movie then we're not going to get along. I'm just sayin'.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

We made this our Tuesday night feature and it was well worth it. Most of you have probably seen it or heard something about it or seen a preview or two by now. This was another one of those movies that we had been tracking since started mentioning it. Then it opened in Europe and was delayed in the States for what seemed like ages. I had almost given up on seeing it and just put it on netflix.

I am really happy that I didn't. I haven't felt my insides shifted by a movie in a long time. It sounds nuts but I'm sure you know what I mean. There are some moments in movies where you feel your guts get twisted up or you're so engrossed in the movie that bizarre cinematic empath kicks in. There some truly visceral moments in Pan's Labyrinth - not blood and guts and veins in your teeth - but some moments that are hard to watch. Not because of Argento-esque splatterpunk or gore for the sake of gore. In fact Del Toro and his editiors manage brilliantly to cut to another scene or angle just at the moment of impact. This old fashioned "what you don't see is worse than what you do see" sensibility mixed with a few moments of "oh shit" - i.e. the bitten off leg floating to the bottom of the boat pond in Jaws - makes for some gripping watching.I think that I might be putting the cart in front of the horse by starting off this review by talking about how gory or not gory it is. Then again...

Pan's Labyrinth is a fairy tale. It bothers me that many reviews call this an adult fantasy. Many of us read Grimm's Fairy Tales while growing up. If you didn't then you don't know how fucked up those stories are. Cannibalism, infanticide, beheadings, baking with bonemeal, abandonment, white slavery, wicked stepmothers...and people worry about video games making people go apeshit whacko? Pan's Labyrinth has some bizarre, menacing, and really troubling moments in it. There were times I was worried for the main character Ofelia. I don't worry about protagonists in fairy tale and fantasy movies. Fuck, the term fairy tale these days usually has an element of risk akin to eating a new dish at a restaurant you go to weekly. Fantasy is nothing more than shit shovellers saving the day. Now don't think that you should drag a little kid to see this movie - Del Toro doesn't sugar coat a single god damn thing and that's why I love him. Hell I'm worried about having nightmares from a few moments of this movie.

All right, enough, how was the movie? Pretty fucking awesome. Sergi Lopez is an actor I swear I've seen before but in this movie he is a monster. His El Capitan Vidal is truly evil. Sure there's some redeeming nepotism but all in all this guy is someone who would be perfectly happy running a forced labour camp or a death squad. I'm going to look into finding more movies that this guy is in becaue he makes my blood run cold. Ivana Baquero - Ofelia - has a quality to her that I can't quit put my finger on. Not china doll, not fragile, not innocent, not creepy hot Natalie Portman, I really don't know what it is except that she was completely believeable in her role. If someone has some input on this I'd like to hear it.

The cinematography is amazing though some may think that it's overly dark. I'd be interested in adding the score to my collection though no one theme or piece - save El Capitan's 78rpm really sticks out. I recommend this movie to a friend, family member or neighbour. It's been a long time since I've seen something that I get feeling that the director said, "Fuck it. This is the movie I want to make and fuck you if you don't like it."

Man it's nice seeing movies in the theater again.

Late addition: Turns out that Sergi Lopez was in Un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien or With a Friend Like Harry or possibly a more accurate translation With a good friend like this. This is a movie I've ranted about before and Sergi Lopez is the bad guy in this too. Man this is a creepy movie. Slow and excellent Sunday watching.

Children of Men (2006)

Solid dystopian speculative sci-fi movies are very hard to come by. Post-apocalytpic movies usually involve zombies, eating dog food, and driving machines built out of buses and aluminium siding - all well and good for hooting and hollering and spilling cheap beer on yourself. Movies like 1984 and Blade Runner are a rarity. Cyberpunk is kaput. Really doesn't leave fans with much.Children of Men really worked on every level for me. I'm taking it for what it is - dystopian misery in a reality not far removed from our own. Yes I realize that there are different themes and inferences to be drawn from The Nativity to left-wing propaganda. I don't care - it made me feel like I was watching the future. No flying cars, no robots, no hope, everything gone to shit, bombings, pandemics, and all the fun ways people treat each other like shit. The more I think about this movie the more I like it.

Down to brass tacks: the acting was great and completely believable in my book. The cinematography was brilliant. Part of the reason why I want to buy this when it comes out on DVD is because I need to read all the graffiti and assorted set dressing. The script worked for me - I'm going to pick up the novel ASAP. I recommend seeing this in the theater because the sound is top-notch.

Just go see this movie. If you don't like it please let me know why. I'd be interested in hearing other people's views on this one.

The Departed (2006)

I'll be completely honest - I thought this movie was gonna be pretty crappy and at certain points I thought it was going to crap out. The last couple of Scorcese movies just haven't done a single thing for me at all. In fact quite the opposite I thought they sucked or have held no draw for me. DiCaprio & Nicholson aren't actors I go out of my way to see. Most of time that turns me off of the movie. What can I say? I'm not a fan.

The Departed worked for me. I left the movie happy which is on the twisted side considering that it's a pretty grim movie. Whatever plot holes or problems there were didn't bother me at all - I'm not going to nitpick. The acting was solid across the board - though Nicholson grated on me at times. DiCaprio pulled off a good performance. Matt Damon is a great scumbag. Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, and good old Ray Winstone were the real prizes for me. Personally I would have prefered to have seen them on screen more often.

For a remake of an HK movie I thought that The Departed was pretty damn cool. The script was pulled from Infernal Affairs (2002), a Hong Kong cop drama with Andy Lau and Tony Leung - both fine HK actors. I can't recall seeing this movie in all honesty though I know I've pulled the box off the shelf at Vulcan and gone, "Huh, HK cop drama." Oh yeah, checking I realized that I haven't seen Infernal Affairs because it sounded like any number of HK cop/action/dramas from the early/mid 90s only without Chow Yun Fat in it. Many thanks to Mike for opening my eyes to those.

Hands down it was the dialogue that really shone. Sure it was tough guy dialogue but hey these were tough guys in a tough guy movie. The soundtrack was typical Scorcese - no real surprises or tracks that stick in my mind. The editing was good though I have to admit that I think there might have been something wrong with the print at the theater. Some of scene changes seemed really abrupt and early on the dialogue just cut out - unfortunately it a chunk of the scene where Wahlberg is tearing DiCaprio a new one.

Pros: Dialogue. Wahlberg, Baldwin, & Winstone. Nice seeing a movie when nothing good happens in the end. Matt Damon getting beat to shit.

Cons: Editing. Forgettable soundtrack. Jack Nicholson making shit up - no seriously. There are three scenes which Nicholson just acts all weird. I can just imagine him saying, "Look I wanna do this see. It'll be fucking genius. Add all these layers and shake up the squares." There are people out there who like watching Nicholson blow himself on screen but I'm not one of them.

All in all it's not Scorcese's best movie or my favorite movie of his. Hell I don't think that it's really Oscar material either. It is what it is though: a solid, mean, nasty, vulgar, brutal, depressing, and thoroughly enjoyable cops and robbers movie.