Shades of Grey

Monday, September 15, 2008

I am not sure I'm going to bother offering much commentary on this one, but Al Pacino and Robert de Niro want their next collaboration to be a comedy in which they both dress up as women and play sisters. No fucking joke.

Pacino: "It's a great idea. That could be something for us to work on. Robert has done some great and very successful comedy movies and he's made the transition really well, without a problem. He was amazing. He's invented himself over again and that takes a very special talent."

De Niro: "We could do that, I like the idea. We could play sisters."

Friday, September 12, 2008

JUDGED MODALLY AS A MOCKUMENTARY, Louis Schwartzberg’s directorial debut would distinguish itself only for a total lack of laughs, and character-credibility on par with Christopher Guest movies. Unfortunately, this Disney release is a genuine attempt to capture all that is beautiful about the United States, via the testimony of 24 individuals who allegedly encapsulate the synthesis of the American dream. They thus naturally range from a reformed alcoholic cowboy called Roudy, to a farmer who enjoys staging musical versions of Dracula.

Tragically this whistle-stop tour of unlikely protagonists is endowed with all the touching poignancy of a life insurance ad. Schwartzberg’s utterly misjudged tone invariably humiliates the characters that the ubiquitous low-angle Soviet realist-propaganda hero shots try to deify. The newbie auteur’s first film credits were in 1980 for no less than three films in which his role was limited to supplying time-lapse photography; in the interim he has expanded his repertoire of technical prowess to include cutaway transitional shots of bacon sizzling. Also on offer is some of the least insightful wisdom ever to grace the silver screen, highlights including a lady who claims to “have been broke but never poor” explaining said statement with the claim that “inside there wouldn’t be a heart but instead a mountain range”.

Beyond the superficial absurdity linger several more distressing oversights, such as the preoccupation with fiscally-motivated ideologies, perturbing for a movie entitled America’s Heart and Soul. The only interest it ever instigates relies on positing itself as utterly offensive, whether in its perpetuation of unacceptable stereotypes or with reference to broader intellectual considerations. Witness as the slow-motion flight of an eagle is superimposed onto a Native American’s face as his hair blows freely in the wind and token chant is heard on the soundtrack. Schwartzberg never shows any consideration or respect towards the men and women he unintentionally ridicules, mocking the plights of a reformed criminal, impoverished immigrants, members of a mental asylum and briefly a terminally ill child.

Every cinematic aspect of this film is frankly lacking: only the soundtrack’s sincerity prevent it from being a spot-on satire of every genre with which it flirts and the cinematography is a compendium of cliché. The whole endeavor seems inexplicably pointless and fails to accomplish the goal of portraying this country in any sort of positive light. Thankfully the majority of the patriotic flag-waving is left to the closing montage which concludes with the obligatory fireworks display that is a suitably underwhelming climax to a debacle of a film.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So ... Michael Douglas is to play fashionista Wladziu Valentino Liberace in a Steve Soderbergh produced biopic. Here are a couple of pictures for you to enjoy the striking resemblance...

Next up Tarantino to produce a Nelson Mandela biopic starring Robert Downey Jr as the big man.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's been a while but I've been busy. There's a web-site on its way, and I've been watching a fair number of crappy movies whilst working on it.

Movie #3722: Body Double
Brian De Palma, 1984, USA
Continuing his commendable trend of poorly ripping off Hitchcock movies, De Palma makes an unengaging incomprehensible lunge at Rear Window and Vertigo. With more nudity.
Craig Wasson - whose last film was Sasquatch Mountain, and who was a minor supporting character in the TV spin-off of Dangerous Minds - plays a man with vertigo claustrophobia, who watches people in the windows of an opposing building. Next thing you know he witnesses a murder.
Unlike in Hitchcock, Wasson gets to see a woman masturbate, and then get killed by a construction drill.
Clever plot twists abound, the best of which ("you're the Indian?") would have been more credible were it not for the world's worst prosthetics, which sort of give away that this is not a real person. Judge for yourself.

De Palma is a fucking hack. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Awakening Shades of Grey from slumber, I post a series of emails between myself and Shades last week.

From Shades, Aug. 26 1:27 a.m.
from the movie "Street Kings". MATRIX KUNG FU BOY is Keanu Reeves, obviously. this is a corrupt cop action/drama. it's not great. but it's enjoyably violent.

matrix kung fu boy: look paul. this thing you want, that you think you want, you don't want.
mr fire from fantastic four: you don't know who i am or what i want. who are you to judge me?
matrix kung fu boy: you wanna be a gun fighter, huh? [hands him gun] then let's do it.

My reply, Aug. 27 4:19 p.m.

Speaking of quality screenwriting...are you as excited as I about the forthcoming "Disaster Movie"? Man o man, do those hollywood parodies of movies still in post-production really get me laughing. The humor is timeless, I know that 50 years from now in my retirement chair I'll pop in "Disaster Movie" and laugh my ass off at the spot-on "Juno" parody: "This is my baby's foot". So utterly hilarious. I can only hope that a similiar parody film is released every year to remind me about movies that came out 4 months prior.

On a similar note, are you as excited about the forthcoming masterpiece "College"? Man o man, I was just thinking the other day that the realm of film was lacking in movies that portray the crazy lifestyle that is college. I think it would be really funny to show guys being initiated to a fraternity with some zany circumstances. Likewise, consuming lots of alcohol can be really fun and the prospect of a "hooking-up," even for the nerdy guy, is always in there. Man, I just hope that the hegemonic forces of higher learning don't impose unrealistic expectations of these budding intellectuals. If those "bringdowns" in the administration try and tell them not to party, oh boy is there going to be some antics and perhaps pranks to that will set them straight. Women are objects and college is for partying. Thank god there is a movie out there that will accurately portray this reality.

Followed by, Aug. 27 4:23 p.m.
Man, I wish I would have visited before sending that email.
From a comment on College:

This movie is so misjudged!!! When I hear people talking about it they seem to think it's just another teenage or "tween" movie. IT'S NOT! I saw College during a screening and it was raunchy! I loved it! It's a beer drinkin', "t & a", partin', awesome movie! There are girls making out, girls in bikini's...and it's hilarious! It's a story of 3 high school kids who visit college for the weekend and all the crazy things that happened to them along the way. This is where the tag: "best weekend ever" comes in. I loved the masturbating dorm-mate wearing the -my peace is growing- t shirt. Anyway, awesome movie, go see it, you wont be disappointed and you'll laugh your butt off!

And, Aug. 27 4:26 p.m.

Imdb's user's message board headings for director Jason Friedberg (auteur behind Disaster movie, date movie, scary get the picture):

disgrace to film.
If he got shot, would it be considered justifiable homicide?
I would rather watch... [game]
YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
how do we stop them?
I am going to kill this man.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Magic Hands

Hallmark presents Sweet Nothing In My Ear, an offbeat comedy about a deaf child.

Best Bit: Jeff Daniels' "I want my son back", spouted with all the gut-wrenching emotion of James Van Der Beek's "I don't want ... your life" from Varsity Blues. Never has someone seemed less convincing when signing.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Nothing funny about this one, just a little scary. It's taken from today's 'Studio Briefing' over at IMDB.

U.S. Releases Al-Jazeera Cameraman, Held Since 2001
A Sudanese-born television news cameraman who was captured by the U.S. military while working for the al-Jazeera Arab news network in Afghanistan in 2001 and imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, has been released, the network said Thursday. A Pentagon official told Reuters, "He's not being released. He's being transferred to the Sudanese government." But the wire service also quoted Sudan's justice minister, Abdel Basit Sabderat, as saying that Washington had already had enough time to produce any evidence against Sami Haj and that his country has no plans to hold him. In New York, Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: "His detention for six years, without the most basic due process, is a grave injustice and represents a threat to all journalists working in conflict areas." Al-Jazeera's director general, Wadah Khanfar, flew to Khartoum to welcome Haj and said that Haj will continue working for the network. Appearing on al-Jazeera's English-language network, Khanfar said, "We are concerned about the way the Americans dealt with Sami, and we are concerned about the way they could deal with others as well."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The South Korean modern masterpiece Failan is being remade as an American movie. This is a terrible thing ... the original was pretty perfect and a remake can add nothing.

The man behind this evil is Vadim Perelman, who once brought us the stellar House of Sand and Fog, but is current in theaters with wet blanket The Life Before Her Eyes.

Looking at the IMDB message board for the movie, I am glad someone agrees. Best comment is "DONT DO THIS YOU F++CKING C*(*+S!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So John Mayer was asked to do the theme song to The Bucket List, which is hugely appropriate from a '9th Level Of Crap' standpoint. Check this shit out...

I do want to point out the irony of someone saying, as M. Mayer does at the end there, "Say what you need to say" TWENTY-SIX TIMES IN A ROW!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

So - that thing that was making me busy is no longer making me busy, so I will no longer be as busy as when that thing that made me busy was still making me busy.

New contributor's first piece... a pseutable suidonym escapes me temporarily, but here goes...

Why Film is Most Definitely a Collaborative Medium

An unfortunate side-affect of my job in film sales requires me to occasionally attend London-based screenings of finished films which are still looking for a sales agent to come on board. Its my experience that, if a film gets to completion without a sales agent on board, there’s usually a very good reason. And that reason is usually because it is very very crap. But that’s a topic for another post.

For now, let me draw your attention to what must surely be the worst of all the films I have ever been made to sit through for professional reasons. Ladies and gentleman, I apologise as I give you Madness In The First Degree.

Now, anyone who was even the smallest amount of knowledge about the way films are made would immediately know that attempting to make a feature film entirely on your own would be a difficult, nay, ridiculous thing to attempt. So I suppose we should give Geoff Searle – MITFD’s producer, writer, director, sole actor, cinemtaographer, editor and composer – some sort of credit. Or we should do, if only the film weren’t such a horrendously self-indulgent waste of time and money. Searle spent 4 years and god-only-knows how much cash making the film, and it is almost entirely unwatchable. Imagine watching a 90 minute long pop video from the early years of MTV. Now imagine doing it whilst grinding your teeth in to the back of your fist because you are so irritated at being made to sit through this nonsense. Somehow, the actual experience of watching this film is far far worse…

Geoff seems like a nice fellow, and I suppose we should be grateful – in case any one of us, in a fit of hideous self-importance, decided that they were talented enough to make an entire feature length film without anyone else’s help, Geoff has been there and proven very definitely that it can’t be done.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

For anyone that knows Alaric, bear in mind that I warned him I would tell everyone...

He has a "great idea for a script". It's a remake of Casablanca, set in a contempotary world with Zombies instead of Nazis.

How does one come up with such an idea. Watching the classic flick, does one articulate the concern that "this would be so much better ... with zombies?"


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Yeah so I suck. No updates. Been busy. Wish some of my other writers would say something. I've seen two movies in the last month ... one was unfortunately Doomsday. Fucking Neil Marshall ... soooo good. Once.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WOW! JCVD is here! Jean-Claude Van Damme sees the Muscles From Brussells playing a fictionalised version of himself in this comedy that is a lot more tongue in cheek than Sly reprising Rambo. This trailer made me laugh a lot, though I couldn't bear the thought of sitting through the attached movie...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Swayze Update:
Whoopi Goldberg seizes opportunity to snatch limelight and comiserates her Ghost co-star. Elsewhere Patrick Swayze becomes the most searched for person on IMDB, overtaking recent Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Roland Emmerich's next feature will be the incredibly inventive 2012, which "is in the vein of The Day After Tomorrow", a phrase that sent at least three people into fits of excitement. The title references the year in which the Mayan calendar ends, and will be about the world going through "upheaval as the apocalypse comes closer". In layman's terms, the German-born Emmerich has contrived another high-and-thin-concept effects-laden science-fiction actioner that will give him an excuse to blow up and destroy things, as well as kill many faceless Americans (see also: Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla and the afore-mentioned The Day After Tomorrow). Hold your breath.