We Can Be Heroes If Just For One Day… (David Bowie, RIP)


I have never seen the online community as united about anything as they are today in both grieving and paying honor to David Bowie.

You can read Arleigh’s thoughts on Bowie the film actor here.

Click here to read Jeff’s tribute to David Bowie the musician.

And be sure to check out Gary’s overview of Bowie’s career.

As for me, I’m just going to share two videos.  One is the trailer for the German film, Christiane F.  This trailer — which I consider one of the best trailers ever made — is scored to David Bowie’s Heroes. (Both Bowie and the song also play a large and important in the film itself.) Secondly, I want to share a scene that I love, this one from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and featuring Bowie’s Theme From Cat People reimagined as an anthem of the French Resistance.

First off, the trailer:

Secondly, the scene:

David Bowie, RIP

Let’s Second Guess The Academy: Best Picture 2009


An Education

Back in 2011, I experimented with something that I like to call “Let’s second guess the Academy.”  Basically, we take a look at past Oscar contestants and we ask ourselves if 1) the Academy made the right choice and 2) what else would we have nominated if we had all the power.  It was always a lot of fun (and occasionally surprising) to see which films ended up getting the most love in hindsight.

So, I figured why not revive the tradition by considering the race for best picture of 2009.  This was the first contest, since the 1943, to feature 10 nominees.  At the time, most critics felt that the race was between Avatar and The Hurt Locker.  Personally, as happy as I was to see a woman finally win best director, I thought The Hurt Locker was overrated and I hated Avatar.  Which of the 10 nominated films would I have voted for?  Well, as much as I loved both District 9 and A Serious Man, I would have voted for An Education.  How about you?

Now, here comes the fun part.  Let’s say that James Cameron never made Avatar.  Let’s say that An Education never made it over from the UK.  And maybe The Hurt Locker never got a distributor and just remained an independent film that occasionally popped up on the program at various film festivals.  In other words, let’s say that none of the 10 best picture nominees for 2009 had been available to be nominated.  Which ten films would have nominated in their place?

You can vote for up to 10 of the films listed below and yes, we do accept write-ins!

Personally, I voted for: Adventureland, The Girlfriend Experience, Moon, (500) Days of Summer, The Informant!, Bright Star, Where The Wild Things Are, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Me And Orson Welles.

Happy voting!

 

 

2010: The Year In Film So Far


Everyone views history in their own individual way.  Some people remember past years by what they saw on the evening news (hence, 2004 becomes “the year Bush was reelected”) but I define them by what was playing at the nearest movie theater.  Ask me when I was born and I won’t tell you, “1985.”  Instead, I’ll tell you that I was born the same year that Terry Gilliam’s Brazil was butchered by Sid Shienberg.  For me, the quality of a year is determined by the quality of the movies that were released during those twelve months.  You may have hated 2009 because of the economy.  I hated it because it was the year of the overrated movie, the year in which otherwise sensible people ignored great films like An Education, A Serious Man, District 9, and Inglorious Basterds (which, praised as it was, deserved considerably more) in favor of Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

2010, however, is shaping up to be a far better year.  Though a final judgment can’t be passed on 2010 until 2011, here’s a few thoughts on the year so far.

Best Film (so far): Exit Through The Gift Shop, a quasi-documentary that might just be one of the most perfectly executed mindfucks in modern history.  Runners-up: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Fish Tank, Please Give, Winter’s Bone, A Prophet, Toy Story 3, and Inception.

Best Male Performance of the year so far: John Hawkes, in Winter’s Bone.  Hawkes has been overshadowed by Jennifer Lawrence but he dominates every scene that he appears in.  Just consider the scene where he “talks” his way out of a traffic stop. Runners-ups: John C. Reilly in Cyrus, Ben Stiller in Greenberg, Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception and Shutter Island, and Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2.

Best Female Performance of the year so far: Noomi Rapace as the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire.  Rapace is my new role model, a Ms. 45 for the 21st century.  Runners-up: Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, Katie Jarvis for Fish Tank, Rebecca Hall in Please Give, Greta Gerwig in Greenberg, and Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass.

Best Ending: The final shot of Inception.

Best Horror Film: The Wolf Man, which should have been oh so bad but instead turned out to be oh so good with Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving both giving brilliant supporting performances. 

Best Bad Movie: Sex and the City 2.  Yes, if I’m going to be honest, it was a horrible movie.  But it was fun. the clothes were to die for, and the film managed to bring new depths of shallowness to the examination of the oppression of women in the Middle East.

Worst Film Of The Year (so far): Chloe.  Oh, Atom Egoyan, poor baby, what have you done, sweetheart?  You made a trashy, campy softcore movie and then you forgot that these things are supposed to be fun!  Runner-up: Robin Hood, because the entire freaking movie was a lie.  However, it did feature Oscar Isaac screaming, “Outlawwwwww!” and that saves it from being named the worst.

Worst Horror Film So Far: The Black Waters On Echo’s Pond.  So.  Fucking.  Bad.

The Get-Over-It-Award For The First Half Of 2010: The makers of Prince of Persia, who just had to try to turn an otherwise entertainingly mindless action film into yet another half-assed cinematic allegory for the Invasion of Iraq.  Ben Kingsley will probably be playing thinly disguised versions of Dick Cheney for the rest of his life.  I was against the Invasion of Iraq from the start but seriously, I’m so bored with every movie released using it as a way to try to fool the audience into thinking that they’re seeing something more worthwhile than they are.

The Read-The-Freaking-Book-Instead Award: The Killer Inside Me.  A lot of viewers are disturbed by the violent way that the main character deals with the women in his life.  I’m more disturbed by the fact that all the women in his life are presented as being simpering idiots.  The original novel is by Jim Thompson and it is a classic.

The worst ending of 2010 so far: Splice with the Killer Inside Me as a strong runner-up.

Future Film I’m Not Looking Forward To: Roland Emmerich’s Gusher, an ecological thriller based on the BP oil spill, starring Will Smith as the President, Dev Patel as the governor of Louisiana, Paul Bettany as the head of the evil oil company, and Ben Kingsley as Dick Cheney who will be seen cackling as oil-drenched doves wash up on the shores of California.  (How did the oil get to California?  Emmerich magic.)  Of course, the nominal star of the movie will be Jake Gyllenhaal as the young engineer who says stuff like, “This well is going to blow!” and who is trying to reconcile with his estranged wife (played by — does it really matter?  Let’s just say Emily Blunt gets the role this time around).  And let’s not forget Robert Duvall, who will play a grizzled old-timer who says a lot of grizzled old-timer stuff.  Look for it in 2012.

My prediction for which film will be the most overrated of 2010: The Social Network, which has not opened yet but Sasha Stone at awardsdaily.com seems to think that it’s a slam dunk for greatness which is usually a pretty good indication that the end result is going to be a predictable, bourgeois crapfest.

So, that’s 2010 so far.  It’s shaping up to be a good year.  I’m still looking forward to the release of Blue Valentine, Animal Kingdom, Get Low, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Last Exorcism, Wall Street, and the rerelease of Godard’s classic Breathless, which is one of my favorite movies and now I’m going to get a chance to see it in a theater!  Life is good.

Found on YouTube: Dean Miller — Zombie Exterminator


Nearly a year ago, I was searching YouTube for the trailer to Umberto Lenzi’s 1980 zombie film Nightmare City and I ended up coming across a tribute to the film’s main character, the virile and bearded TV news anchorman Dean Miller (played, with a notable lack of enthusiasm, by Hugo Stiglitz.)

The video artfully takes Lenzi’s overlong film and reduces it down to 3 and a half minutes of Dean Miller killing people.  Interestingly, not a hint of nuance or plot is lost in the process.  Anyway, the video has always made me smile so I figured why not share it?  I should clarify that I have no idea who actually put this together beyond the fact that I had nothing to do with it.

Actually, I’m being a little bit too hard on Nightmare City.  For a Lenzi film, its actually fairly entertaining and it does feature one of the abosolute worst endings in the history of cinema.  If a hurricane ever hits North Texas and I find myself having to stay inside for a few days, my survival plan is to pass the time writing up a review of Nightmare City.

As previously stated, Miller was played by actor Hugo Stiglitz.  Quentin Tarantino, of course, later borrowed Stiglitz’s name for Inglorious Basterds.  Tarantino’s Stiglitz, it must be said, was a bit more interesting than the actual Stiglitz.

5 Performers Who Deserve A Role In A Tarantino Movie


One of the great things about watching a Quentin Tarantino film is the chance to see B-movie actors and various grindhouse veterans getting a chance to show off just how talented they actually are.  Below are four men and one woman who, in a perfect world, would have a date with Tarantino in the near future.

1) Giovanni Lombardo Radice

Who is he? He’s one of the great Italian exploitation actors.  He played a character named Charles Bukowski in Cannibal Apocalypse.  He was Bob the Pervert in City of th Living Dead.  Remember his little disco dance in House On The Edge of the Park?  And who can forget him snorting cocaine, getting castrated, and shouting “Twatface!” in Cannibal Ferox?  He was also a regular in the movies of Michele Soavi and though he hasn’t been as active in recent years, he can be seen in both Gangs of New York and the Omen remake.

Why Should Tarantino Use Him?  Are you kidding?  Because he rocks that’s why.  Plus, Tarantino has said that he’s a fan and, in a documentary included on the Cannibal Apocalypse DVD, Radice expressed a desire to some day work with Tarantino.  And, with his current bald look, Radice could easily play Mussolini if Tarantino wanted to make a prequel to Inglorious Basterds.

2) Tony Sirico

Who is He? He’s the Italian version of Danny Trejo, a real-life gangster who went to prison and then became an actor. 

Why Should Tarantino Use Him? Because Paulie was my favorite character on The Sopranos.  Sirico deserves at least one starring role in his  post-prison career.

3) Colby Donaldson

Who Is He? Okay, Colby’s kinda been a little bit pathetic on the current season of Survivor but in his two previous appearances on the show, Colby was the man.  In between reality show appearances, Colby has pursued a career as an actor and, surprisingly, he’s not half bad.  His best post-Survivor role, though, was playing himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Why Should Tarantino Use Him? Because someday, Tarantino’s going to have to make an actual western and who would be better to star in it than my fellow Texan, Colby?

4) Fred J. Lincoln

Who is He? Lincoln has spent most of his career working in the porn industry but Lincoln has appeared in a few “mainstream” movies.  Most infamously, he played “Weasel” in the original Last House On The Left.  In the 70s, Lincoln was the owner of Plato’s Retreat, an infamous sex club in NYC.  He’s also one of the central figures in Legs McNeil’s The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry .

Why  Should Tarantino Use Him?  David Hess got the majority of the attention but, of Last House’s trio of killers, Lincoln was the truly scary one.  A cameo in a Tarantino movie would be the perfect way to pay credit to Lincoln’s role in one of the seminal exploitation films in history.

5) Catriona MacColl

Who is She? English actress who appeared in several exploitation films in the late 70s and early 80s.  She is probably best known for starring in Fulci’s Beyond trilogy.  Currently semi-retired from acting and living in France.

Why Should Tarantino Use Her? Because she starred in The Beyond, of course!