Posts

Showing posts from July, 2007

The Shark Film Office: My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)

Image
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Director: Ivan Reitman // 2006 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 5
Shark: Great White Shark
Appearance: CGI, dialogue

Sleeping with Anna Faris should be heavenly, and -- despite my deep and abiding appreciation for toothy marine creatures -- uninterrupted by the sight of a great white shark flying towards one’s head as one sits up in bed after awakening from what was probably the most emotionally and physically fulfilling night of one’s life. Setting my own personal fixation on Ms. Faris aside, this is exactly what happens to Luke Wilson just over an hour deep into the middling special effects comedy, My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Wilson sleeps with Faris, his longtime crush, after breaking up with the voluptuous, but clearly “off her rocker,” superheroine G-Girl, played almost like a mannequin for the most part by Uma Thurman, who really should remain in the employ of a director like Tarantino who clearly worships her and understands her strengths as well as her weaknesses as an actr…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Misterios de Ultratumba [The Black Pit of Dr. M] (1959)

Image
Misterios de Ultratumba [The Black Pit of Dr. M]
Director: Fernando Méndez // Mexican, 1959 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

Old Mexican horror movies get a bad rap. If you say to your friend, “Hey, I watched this old Mexican horror movie last night,” most likely that friend will first groan, and then expel a small chuckle and reply, “That must have been pretty damn crappy,” or some such declaration of the movie’s inherent badness. Part of this is most likely due to the fact that the bulk of Mexican horror movies seen in America, like Japanese kaiju, were seen dubbed with ridiculous accents by American actors, and were also largely cut up and reedited upon release. It also probably has something to do with the fact that most of them were, inarguably, pretty damn crappy. Possibly fun, but pretty damn crappy.

The problem with assumptions like this that pass into the “common knowledge” spectrum of popular thought is that their acceptance pretty much extends outward to encapsulate all examples of the…

That Familiar UV Buzz: No Next Star on the Food Network

Having dinner with Jen and Frank, our ol' buddy from Alaska, at Storyteller's Cafe last night brought me at last to a realization over which I have lost zero sleep through the last few years: I am a reality show snob. Frank posed the question, "Do you watch Top Chef?," to which my basic reply was, "Uh, no... yeah, I, uh -- I don't know why I haven't watched it, because I watch tons of Food Network, so you think it would be a relatively easy thing to switch over to -- uh, I've heard good things about it -- it's on Bravo, right?" Nothing like getting to the point, Rik. The conversation veered away from -- and then eventually stumbled back into -- Top Chef, and I really couldn't pinpoint in my head exactly why I don't watch it, except for the fact that viewing it on any sort of regular basis would force me to memorize Bravo's channel number, and I really just don't have the room for a 113th number in my skull. But the real reas…

And now... A Torrent of Unabashed Love for Spout.com

You should know the score by now, O' Loyal Readers of the Pylon. First I try something out, then I bitch about it for a score of days or so, and then I make nice with the former target of my distress. Like if I am looking for a screwdriver in the tool drawer, but I can't find it, and so I punch the kitchen cabinets in testosterone-fueled stupidity, and then maybe throw a cup across the room. Invariably, just as I let loose with a burst of sinful profanity, I will spy the screwdriver peeking out from behind a towel on the counter. And then, as John Prine once sang, "Everything's OK, everything is cool."

So it went with Spout.com. It intrigued me for a while, and I finally checked it out. When I did, it ran far too slow, even on the pair of relatively speedy computers with which I am affiliated, and it took me forever to add movies to my profile. I wasn't happy with the cover for King Kong that popped up, and I groused about that in the previous post a couple of…

Q: WHERE DID THE WIDGET GO?

A: It displeased me greatly. That, as my pal The Working Dead described it, "shiny" little box at the top left that portrayed the DVD covers of some films that were particular favorites of mine? Gone.

Why? Mainly aesthetic reasons. Chiefly, I could never get the sizing of the covers right to match the vision within my discerning eye, and also, the widget has a limit of 30 covers. So, despite there being around far more films in that file on my page at Spout, it would only show 30 of them, and only the most recent additions to the list at that. The worst part? It would not allow me to choose my list of "favorite films" from off of Spout, instead automatically setting itself to my "highest rated" films. These two lists, while only slightly exclusive of each other, are still not the same thing at all.

The worst is that the widget started to bother me after a while. I liked having something glowing and movable on my site, but the more I fretted over what films …

Purely Prurient Reasons Why I Watched This Stuff As A Teenager #1: Star Trek

Image

In Which Our Hero Fires Randomly at Anything Flixster Has to Offer Him...

Boy, was I ever livid... in the beginning...

Jumping onto Flixster that first day, looking at a list of people who had left recent reviews for Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas, and skipping past the girl who is so cool that she has to hate the movie just because "everyone else likes it", I ran across the profile of a soul who felt the movie was "completely over-rated". Naturally, I clicked on his Flixster profile, which revealed a lad who purported to be 16, which threw me because, in my Flixster infancy, I noticed he had 7,216 ratings in his profile.

7,216 ratings? Movie ratings? Need I mention that when one reaches their 16th birthday, one has only been alive for 5,840 days, give or take a leap year here and there? If you started watching 3 movies a day from the age of 10, you are still going to fall far short of having seen 7,000 movies at that youthful age. Unless this kid was an invalid (I would not leave out that possibility, but then the picture o…

A Quick One While You've Been Away...

Ach! Look to your left! What do you see?

That's right -- nothin'... Now, in the words of Joe Jackson, "Eyes right!" What do you see there?

Oh, just my latest fishie widget, landed when I opened up my account on Spout.com, which is a very specific online community for movie lovers. I had been hearing about the site for a while now, really ever since I started listening to the Filmspotting podcast from Chicago Public Radio. Never thought to check it out before, until I listened to the latest 'cast today and heard Spout mentioned once more. As I happened to be on my lunch and was bored from casting about aimlessly on the tubes of the Internets, I said, "What the heck!"

As I have documented quite fully thus far -- and which will be documented just a tad further in a couple days -- I am still not exactly enthused about my experience on Flixster, the application which I added to my fledgling Facebook page. Checking out Spout.com, I found a variety of cool servic…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Zero Hour! (1957)

Image
Zero Hour!
Director: Hall Bartlett // Paramount, 1957 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 5

It wasn't until halfway through this film that I started to think of the title in more than just the traditional way, where the term serves to denote the beginning of a military operation or as announcement that the moment for action has arrived. Watching the sweat drip off the furrowed brow of the flustered but always determined Dana Andrews as he attempts to land a plane full of ptomaine-poisoned passengers, including the actual flight crew, I wondered if the studio or the author (Arthur Hailey, who would go on to tremendous fame as the creator of the Airport series of disaster books/films -- think of this one as a test flight, which Hailey actually based on his own teleplay of the year before) actually intended the title to take on the double meaning that it does. After all, they do cast their hero, Ted Stryker, a down-on-his-luck ex-fighter captain tormented by the death of most of his squadron in WWII…

Recently Rated Movies #52: Ryan's Hope

Image
Desperate Hunger + Jack in the Box on Thursday Noon + Ciabatta Grilled Chicken Sandwich = Goddamned Food Poisoning. Felt like crap the last couple of days. Back in the saddle tonight...

The Proud Ones
Dir.: Robert D. Webb // 1956 [Fox Movie Channel]
Cinema 4 Rating: 6

I know what film convinced me that Robert Ryan was a crappy actor: Captain Nemo and the Underwater City. I saw it several times as a youth, and was always flustered with Ryan's portrayal of the title character, especially since I had fallen in love with the character in both book and film. For me, James Mason was Nemo, even if he is not as described in Verne's novel, and I also developed an appreciation for Herbert Lom and José Ferrer in the same part. But I felt Ryan's performance was lazy and, perhaps, uninterested, as if he felt the role was ridiculous and beneath him. The role is not, of course, but the film definitely was beneath him, and most likely behind him already in his mind as he made it, which probab…

The Ravaging of Influence? - A Holiday Diversion

Image
The question regarding these two pictures is not "Who's more Booty-licious?"

The questions are "Do you really think that Beyonce has ever gotten close to actually watching Fritz Lang's Metropolis? Could she even tell you what is was, or did her designer just say "Here's your robot costume, honey!"

And is she aware that the original robot, the False Maria, was designed to seduce the masses for evil purposes?

It's all about subtext, Baby Girl. The best comment I have seen on the internet about Mizz Thang's BET Awards costume was from someone who said "Great! Now the outside matches the insides!" Cannot top that one. Been intimating it for years regarding certain popular entertainers.

People are making a lot about the fact she may have stolen this robot-rising-and-stripping stage act from Kylie Minogue a few years back, and others point out she is dressed like C-3PO. Regardless of what she stole and from where the media rubes think she g…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Wolfman (1979)

Image
Masochism only plays a small part in my watching of some of these films in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film. Certainly, I enter into many of these films with a large amount of dread as to their expected quality. This can pay off in spades, however, if the film turns out, on the rare occasion, to be far better than could ever hope them to be.

If only I could tell you that North Carolina's would-be lycanthropy & Satanism epic from 1979, Wolfman, were one of these opportunities. If I could tell you, here's how I would do it: I would slowly roll up to your stately home in a surrey with some fringe on top, carefully bring the single horse pulling the carriage to a stop, puffingly crawl down from the driver's seat and amble achingly up your front steps to impart the news to you. And then, because I don't feel like coming up with another way to approach you, I will return twenty minutes later to tell you this news again in the exact same excruciatingly sluggish way. (…

Shock Show Update: Monster Movies on KDOC-TV (Channel 6, Irvine, CA)

Image
Until now, I had only thought of KDOC-TV, a local Anaheim-Irvine station that proclaims itself to be the home of "Endless Classics" and sports a Woody as its logo (don't get excited, pervs -- I meant the style of vehicle, sitting in front of a sunset, replete with surfboard on its roof), as merely a place where I could watch repeats of old Johnny Carson skits right at bedtime. Then, Carson was removed from the schedule, and suddenly, I didn't think of KDOC-TV at all. Sure, they play several series of which I am enamored (The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Cheers, Wild Wild West, The Honeymooners, Hawaii Five-O), but they also play a lot of crappy shows, too, and in this age of the DVD, I would rather just get the series I like on disc or on Netflix, and watch them completely uncut... and also not have to put up with a load of commercials to boot. Classics KDOC-TV may play, but I'd rather watch them my way.
However, this doesn't mean that I pass up the occasiona…

Make A Note of This: Who Do Ya Trust?

Despite the fact that true critics are supposed to work from a balanced center when they enter a screening or a show or a restaurant, they don't. They can't. I, myself, try to do such a thing when I sit down for a film. Whether the film is Wallace and Gromit or Hostel, I try to approach the film with a blank notepad in my head. Most critics contend that this is how they do it. But, it cannot be done. No matter how much they might protest, there is not a critic in the world who can totally divorce themselves wholly from their experience, their prejudice, and the influence of the surrounding atmosphere. That blank notepad? It's only in their hands.

And I am sorry, but if you are taking notes during a movie, then you are not watching the whole film. It's one thing to take notes during a lecture or a speech, but film is mainly a visual experience, and relies on a connection between the viewer and the screen to impart the bulk of its message. To properly see a film -- at lea…

Parallax