‘Snowpiercer’ is a Much Grittier ‘The Hunger Games,’ For Railway Enthusiasts

Chris Evans snowpiercer still If you haven’t seen Snowpiercer yet, you need to, immediately. Here’s what it’s about, in case you saw it on one of those Best of 2014 lists and were still on the fence….

Basically, in the future – 2031 to be exact – the human race has decided to release a chemical into the atmosphere to cool the climate, but it works too well and freezes everything and the last few remnants of mankind are stuck on a train that circles earth once a year.

It’s based on a French graphic novel (Le Transperceneige), and is basically a much grittier, gorier South Korean version of The Hunger Games, except on a train.

With Chris Evans as Katniss (or Princess Elsa), Jamie Bell as Peeta, Tilda Swinton as Effy, and Ed Harris as President Snow. HUNGER TRAIN!
Frozen arm snowpiercer
The train circles the earth once a year and works on a horribly unfair class system, with the people at the back of the train eating roach protein and getting their arms frozen off and broken with sledgehammers by the rich sushi-eating folk at the front when they misbehave.

Brooding dude in a beanie Curtis (Captain America) decides to do something about it and break through the security gates to take control of the “eternal engine” with the help of an imprisoned drug addict and his clairvoyant daughter.  Continue reading “‘Snowpiercer’ is a Much Grittier ‘The Hunger Games,’ For Railway Enthusiasts”

Sue Me, I Thought ‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Was Really F*cking Boring

cargo container train car The Walking Dead finale
As anyone with a TV, Facebook or even the most snail-paced internet connection knows – The Walking Dead season 4 finale was on last night.

Considering how uneventful and equally or less exciting than every other non-finale episode, I’m baffled by the amount of websites that called it “shocking,” “exciting” and “brutal.” (Spoilers ahead.)

Carl almost getting raped? – not shocking because we knew it would never happen. Rick being reunited with the gang? – not shocking because we knew it would happen. Rick taking advice from a dead man…? No.
Rick and Daryl season 4 finale still
The real shocker was that nobody died. Not Glenn (dead in the comic) or Maggie (what I expected) or even the new characters, and that the craziest events of the season didn’t occur when the gang ended up trapped in a train car together, but two episodes ago, when crazy-eyed Lizzie exclaimed “Don’t worry, she’ll come back. I didn’t hurt her brain,” after murdering her younger sister.  Continue reading “Sue Me, I Thought ‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Was Really F*cking Boring”

The Bling Ring Review: ‘Artsy’ Movie About Shallow Teenage Thieves Doesn’t Work

still from the bling ring cast
Sofia Coppola directs a movie about every three years, and each one prior to 2010’s Somewhere, which I didn’t see, was beautifully designed and disconnected in that way that we all are when we step into a crowd.

Sadly, the style Coppola applied in the Oscar-winning Lost in Translation simply doesn’t work in a film about morally corrupt, glamour-obsessed teens.

For months we’ve read about Emma Watson’s imitation of Alexis Neiers, who, with Nick Prugo, Rachel Lee and a few others, was convicted of burglarizing the homes of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan.

Coppola’s fifth feature film opens with fragmented conversations with Marc (Israel Broussard as Prugo), a nervous young man who doesn’t quite fit in, and continues on to his life at an alternative school in Calabasas where he almost immediately befriends Rebecca (Katie Chang as Lee, the bling ringleader).

Continue reading “The Bling Ring Review: ‘Artsy’ Movie About Shallow Teenage Thieves Doesn’t Work”

Super Gory, R-Rated ‘Evil Dead’ Slays Box Office

Jessica Lucas Evil Dead
Comedies, dramas and action films rated “R” by the MPAA have a notoriously hard time at the box office. Horror movies, even more so.

The ones that have fared well with the Restricted rating had directors like Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island) and/or were nominated for Academy Awards (The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs).

Usually there’s a certain lack of credibility that adult audiences tend to skip. That was not the case for Fede Alvarez’s remake of Evil Deadwhich came in #1 and made $26 millionContinue reading “Super Gory, R-Rated ‘Evil Dead’ Slays Box Office”

On Behalf of All of Portland, Let Me Apologize in Advance For ‘The Real World’

Marlon Williams The Real WorldI’m sorry that the male cast of The Real World: Portland are misogynist boars who spend their time flashing women and deciding who has the hottest ass in their concrete mess of a house. And I’m sorry that the nicest female cast member is a Hooters waitress…

It may be an accurate representation of the human race, but it’s a terrible representation of Portland, Oregon. In the first episode “Bondage, Butts and Burlesque,” the cast goes to – you guessed it – a burlesque show, where they run into swingers (okay, sort of accurate) and sweaty Jersey Shore types.

Yes we have clubs. Every town does. We have a nightlife that consists of microbrews, $2 Pabst, karaoke, concerts, strip joints and 24/7 Voodoo Donuts. The typical Portlander does not “go clubbing,” but typical people do, and I suppose that is the “reality” portion.  Continue reading “On Behalf of All of Portland, Let Me Apologize in Advance For ‘The Real World’”

Guillermo del Toro-Produced ‘Mama’ Destroyed by CGI

Megan Charpentier mamaGuillermo del Toro, who often produces for first time directors, became involved with the latest PG-13 ghost story in theaters after Spanish commercial-director Andrés Muschietti sent him a short film.

Sadly, Mamá the short is much more captivating than Mama the feature starring Jessica Chastain as the non-maternal bass player-girlfriend of a man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) whose brother recently died after committing a heinous crime.

Here’s a plot summary, from del Toro himself (void of spoilers unless you haven’t seen a preview):

“The kids are abandoned in the woods by their father. It’s half-fairy tale, half-horror film, and they survive five years in the wilderness and nobody knows exactly how. And the thing that kept them alive is a ghost. It looked after them, it’s a presence of a dead mother. And then they come back to civilization and it comes with them.”  Continue reading “Guillermo del Toro-Produced ‘Mama’ Destroyed by CGI”

Novelist Jonathan Franzen Heckled at Reading in Portland, OR

Jonathan Franzen James SpaderOn Thursday I went to a reading by author of The Corrections, and Freedom, Oprah-feuder, luddite and Time Magazine’s last “Great American Novelist,” Jonathan Franzen.

He read from a new piece he’s working on, a piece that consists wholly of footnotes on Karl Kraus, the Austrian satirist who Franzen relates to and calls “The Great Hater.”

Franzen spent much of the night comparing Kraus’ hatred for newspapers to his own hatred of technology, specifically Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Amazon.

Right after delving into why he dislikes Amazon (‘Like, half my friends own independent bookstores’), a woman who I assume was over 35 yelled, “I BOUGHT YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON!”  Continue reading “Novelist Jonathan Franzen Heckled at Reading in Portland, OR”

Review: Texas Chainsaw 3D (It’s Bad, But Not As Bad As You’d Think)

Alexandra Daddario chainsawTexas Chainsaw 3D beat out the Christmas-favorites Django Unchained and Les Miserables this weekend for a surprising $23 million box office victory. Rare for an R-rated horror movie, and a franchise that many feel is more hopeless and dead than Leatherface’s victims.

The seventh installment, starring Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Parenthood), “Say Ahh” rapper Trey Songz and Scott Eastwood (Clint’s son), opens with footage from the 1974 classic, and starts where it left off.  Continue reading “Review: Texas Chainsaw 3D (It’s Bad, But Not As Bad As You’d Think)”

The Lack of Dialogue in ‘Les Miserables’ Will Make You Cry

Anne Hathaway cryingAnne Hathaway tells MTV she cries when she watches herself in Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables because she’s “still connected to the experience of making it.” I, on the other hand, cried because there isn’t a single line of non-singing dialogue.

The lack of talking is something you might have missed from reading reviews, which have been mostly positive. Hathaway shines as factory-worker-turned-whore Fantine as does Jackman, Sacha Baron Cohen (for show-stealing comedy relief), Helena Bonham Carter, Isabelle Allen as young Cosette, and Samantha Barks.

Just please don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say there’s no talking, because there really isn’t any.

When you read an interview with Hooper and they talk about his choice to use “little spoken dialogue,” they mean “no spoken dialogue.” And when he says the “primary communication form” is singing, he really means “the only communication form.”  Continue reading “The Lack of Dialogue in ‘Les Miserables’ Will Make You Cry”

New York Observer Critic Needs To Be Clotheslined and Buried Alive in Cement

I saw Silver Linings Playbook yesterday and enjoyed it as much as Looper and Argo, my two prior favorite movies of 2012.

Lone critic for the Observer disagrees, calling out the title (based on a book), Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence and the director (David O. Russell, The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees).

I draw the line at the word “overrated” being used anywhere near the vicinity of Jennifer Lawrence, whose Oscar-nominated performance in Winter’s Bone speaks for itself.

Slap-worthy excerpts:

“The ridiculously titled Silver Linings Playbook, not in the same league as The Fighter, doesn’t do for Bradley Cooper what that movie did for Mark Wahlberg.”  Continue reading “New York Observer Critic Needs To Be Clotheslined and Buried Alive in Cement”

Lindsay Lohan’s Bellybutton Walks The Red Carpet, Plus ‘Liz & Dick’ Reviews!

Raise your hand if you understand the innuendo in a title about Lindsay‘s bellybutton being close to her red carpet? Lower your hand if you don’t think it’s funny. Alright, that narrows it down to all of you. Now direct your eyes to this Motel 6 hooker dress, worn at the L.A. premiere of Liz & Dick.

What’s the most offensive thing about this? The holes in the front, or the visible hole in her stomach?

I’d say, at this point in her life, her bellybutton is the most appealing thing about her, but only because it’s an innie and I don’t see any Raisinets inside.

Here are some of the Liz & Dick reviews Lindsay Lohan won’t be readingContinue reading “Lindsay Lohan’s Bellybutton Walks The Red Carpet, Plus ‘Liz & Dick’ Reviews!”

Bella Makes Her Final Kristen Stewart Face – ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ is Over

On Sunday I dragged my withered tuckus to a matinée of Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

I saw the past three movies in the theater (New Moon made Eclipse look like it was based on a Pulitzer finalist) and therefore felt obligated to see the final installment.

Yes I like the series, no I don’t like admitting it.

I stopped reading the books after Jacob made Bella’s baby his future wife using only his eyes. It was very monarchical, and maybe the last misguided-stab-at-romance straw. But that’s what Twilight is, right?  Continue reading “Bella Makes Her Final Kristen Stewart Face – ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ is Over”

‘V/H/S’ Manages To Be Scary, Despite Not Making Sense

Like most horror fans, I was quite taken with Ti West’s The House Of The Devil, so I was naturally excited when I heard he was going to be a part of a found footage film called V/H/S, even though I’m not normally a fan of the shaky camera POV.

V/H/S, which debuted at Sundance and has no less than six directors, is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I could watch it three more times and still not know exactly what it was about. Could be devil worshippers, vampires, zombies or ghosts…

The movie focuses on a group of criminals, and at first feels like some sort of Last House On The Left-style snuff effort because of a parking lot scene where they film themselves grabbing a young woman and lifting her shirt up as they hold her boyfriend back.  Continue reading “‘V/H/S’ Manages To Be Scary, Despite Not Making Sense”

“The Mindy Project” – Mindy Kaling’s On Screen Self-Masturbatory Fantasy

Mindy Kaling might have picked the right time to leave “the Office,” but her new show “the Mindy Project” is definitely a step in the wrong direction.

I am a raving fan of “the Office;” so much so that I am blinded by the most recent season’s absence of Steve Carell and I am willingly following the show into its ultimate death (I am thinking sometime in Spring 2013).

After last season wrapped, it was announced that even more long time collaborators would be leaving, including Mindy Kaling and Paul Lieberstein.  Kaling has gone off to Fox to do her own thing, which is apparently just one large self-masturbatory fantasy setting after another.  Continue reading ““The Mindy Project” – Mindy Kaling’s On Screen Self-Masturbatory Fantasy”

‘The Newsroom’ Breaks Out The Big Guns

Aaron Sorkin, Scott Rudin, Jeff Daniels, Greg Mottola, a voice cameo by Jesse Eisenberg? What more could HBO viewers ask for? Witness The Newsroom, which debuted on Sunday with decent premium channel ratings of 2.1 million viewers.

The show, made by the man (Sorkin) who wrote Moneyball and The Social Network and created The West Wing, follows a team of dysfunctional journalists and staff members who work for a well-known CNN-esque program called “News Night.”

I watched it yesterday and enjoyed it despite long-winded, unedited moments of dialogue. Fortunately it is good dialogue with an Emmy-ready cast worthy of delivering those witty lines that often relate to relevant stories of the past, like the BP oil spill of 2010.  Continue reading “‘The Newsroom’ Breaks Out The Big Guns”

‘Prometheus’ – Smart Director, Dumb Scientists

Ridley Scott was smart to not market Prometheus as a prequel to Alien, because that’s exactly what it is. Not in the cinematic “all your questions are answered” shoot-cut-wrap sort of way, but it does cleverly give fans of the original the easter egg they’ve been waiting for.

Scott is smarter here then he’s been in a long time, presenting you with special effects that make Battleship and everything else from recent years besides District 9 look like they were shot a day after computers were invented. Scott has also not lost his talent for creating the same tension for the audience that his characters are experiencing.

Scientists to be exact. Two in “charge,” though not as much as they’d like to be. Then a captain, medic, pilots, an overseer, an android, a geologist, a botanist, and a few others.  Continue reading “‘Prometheus’ – Smart Director, Dumb Scientists”

I Don’t Take Comfort In Change, That’s Why I’m Happy That Bill Clinton Is Still A Pimp

Porn star Brooklyn Lee (Mission Asspossible, Nacho Vidal The Sexual Messiah) posted this picture of her, Tasha Reign (Farm Girls Gone Bad), a third unidentifiable woman of the night YouPorn, and Bill Clinton on Twitter.

They were at a French gala benefitting both the Prince Albert II of Monaco and William J. Clinton foundations on Wednesday.

It’s good to see him doing his thing. Surrounded by women who get paid to make parodies of The Avengers, Revenge Of The Nerds, and Spiderman. (Yeah, you missed auditions, the Avengers porn parody is done)

Nearly two decades since the Lewinsky scandal, still married to Hillary, and surrounded by implanted ladies who, no matter how they try, can’t quite seem to wash the lube off their hands. No worries though. The women aren’t quite chubby enough to be Bill’s type…  Continue reading “I Don’t Take Comfort In Change, That’s Why I’m Happy That Bill Clinton Is Still A Pimp”