Showing posts with label 2000's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2000's. Show all posts

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Neo-Noir Watch: Femme Fatale (2002)

Watched:  04/07/2024
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  First
Director:  DePalma

A while back I was watching some DePalma movies, and enjoying them, and made a mental note to watch Femme Fatale (2002) sometime.  And, then, whilst watching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which stars one Rebecca Romijn as Lt. Commander Una Chin-Riley, I was once again reminded to watch the film, and bought it on DVD via eBay for, like, $4.  

And then promptly forgot to watch it.  

Well, no more!  I have now finally seen Femme Fatale, and...  this is a tough one to discuss.  

DePalma is a curious film maker.  I genuinely like some of his work, and, at minimum, find stuff like Body Double at least worth a watch.  He's like a film studies book come to life, but he also isn't afraid of every day adult things like "people get naked" and "have sex" and gets those are pretty major motivations for people, and so can be for characters.* But he's also usually telling a thriller/ neo-noir crime story (see: Dressed to Kill or Blow Out) and so there's something to hang that on.  

Femme Fatale plays all of DePalma's greatest hits.  It has the most breathtakingly bizarre use of the concept of "doubles", it absolutely makes our kinda hero (Antonio Banderas) a voyeur, it goofs on identity, fate and concept of a femme fatale.  Heck, it opens on Romijn watching Double Indemnity.

Romijn was still a bit green when she took on the role, and I note that she was nominated for an off-brand Raspberry type award for this, but if the past few years have taught me anything, it's that those awards tend to age badly and generally show more about the awards' intolerance for anything not fitting into neat categories of that year or talent stretching beyond what the committee *thinks* they should be doing for a living (Romijn had been a model - which will shock no one watching this movie).  

I think Romijn is actually *pretty good* in this.  The character is a bit of a cypher, by necessity, and when the woman behind the face pokes her head out, it's interesting and buyable.  She's not as good as she's been on Star Trek, but - again - early days, and dealing with some material that works as an academic exercise as much or more than a coherent film.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Uncanny Valley Watch: Beowulf (2007)

I have no idea how to feel about them putting heels on Grendel's mommy

Watched:  03/26/2024
Format:  Paramount+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Robert Zemeckis
Selection:  Me

When Beowulf (2007) was released, all it did was make me feel guilty I'd never read the book.  I never had it as a class assignment, and despite owning a copy, I just never prioritized it.  However, it would still be 2023 before I finally got around to blowing through what is a quick read via audiobook.  

But then I forgot to watch the movie, which I have now finally taken care of.

First:  I had no idea the whole movie was animated - I'd only heard about animated, naked Angelina Jolie which is a YMMV proposition.  

Once I figured out Robert "Polar Express CGI Nightmare Fuel" Zemeckis was in charge of this venture, I settled in.  

Look, I'm not a Norse Mythology scholar.  Nothing close to it.  Neil Gaiman, one of the two screenwriters on the film (the other being Roger Avary) is, actually, a Norse Mythology scholar, so I bow to him on the many and significant changes he made to the brief story.  I don't know what his motivation was, but it's a re-shaping of the story that has an impact on the sparse themes and point-of-view of the original poem.  Which is a fair thing to do with a text that's about a 1000+ years old.  And it's highly unlikely the version we've been handed down was anything like the original 500 or so oral-tradition tellings of the story.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

00's Watch: Pootie Tang (2001)

Watched:  03/22/2024
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Louis C.K.
Selection:  Jamie

It's easy to forget that before he got #metoo'd, Louis C.K. was maybe one of funniest, smartest guys working in comedy.  I was a fan of his FX show and stand-up.  And it's all the more remarkable he became what he did before his big fall, because this movie and his failed sitcom should have tanked his career.

Now, Pootie Tang (2001) is, hands down, one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.  It's one that gets funnier every time you see it, imho.  And while C.K. is listed as director and writer, I can only imagine how this thing was actually put together, because it seems like it was a bunch of late 90's stand-ups and comedic actors piling into a movie and doing bits.  I would *love* to see a "how this was made" doc.  

I am sure there are people who watch Pootie Tang and do not enjoy it, and those people are dead inside. Not everything lands, but the ratio of success is incredibly high.  And clearly the direction was "I dunno, just do your bit" for most of the film, including for Robert Vaughn who is happily chewing scenery and absolutely gets what his role is here.

Anyway, it's a great chance to see a ton of folks you know from TV and elsewhere as they were riding their wave or just before they blew up.  Heck, a teen-aged Kristen Bell is in the movie for about 20 seconds.  But you've got JB Smoove, Jennifer Coolidge, Reg E. Cathey, Wanda Sykes and more.  Star Lance Crouther didn't really do much more acting - which is a shame, man.  He's incredibly funny and charismatic.  Some of the comics aren't as big as they were, and I don't really know what happened to them - but I don't follow comedy.  Back in the day, Laura Kightlinger and Dave Attell were huge in comedy.  And both are still out there in various capacities and occasionally I'm still, like "hey!  Is that Dave Attell?" when I'm watching a thing.  But time, it does march on.

So, here's your unapologetic endorsement of Pootie Tang.

I have no idea what The Kids would think of this one.  This may be my new litmus test.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Doc Watch: Hell on Earth - the Desecration and Resurrection of "The Devils" (2002)

Watched:  03/21/2024
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  First
Director:  Paul Joyce

So, I posted on the 1971 Ken Russell film, The Devils, and old college chum and podcast contributor, Ryan M popped into my social media to recommend this documentary (I'll link to his letterboxd review).  

I'm glad he did.  The movie is not your usual US or British cinema offering, and hearing what the thinking was, and what happened in production and upon release was fascinating.  The doc captures several of the folks involved in the picture 30 years on, still vibrant, and with clear memories of what they all considered a massively important film that was brutalized by a few critics and rejected by audiences.  

Were this Holy Mountain, I'd get some of the rejection by audiences and critics - Jodorowsky is brilliant, but his films are straight work to watch.  The Devils challenges a lot, but is not a puzzlebox to view.  As can happen, it seems The Devils may have simply spoken right past the critics who were concerned with "taste" and a lot of external factors rather than the film in front of them.  Which I absolutely understand, but that doesn't mean it isn't a failure of the critic or reviewer if you can't meet the film where it lives (and this is something even at this dumb ol' blog I try to do, and I know I still fail routinely).  

So, I'll leave it to you to read what Ryan M has to say on the key scene that was cut, it's re-discovery, and how it's handled over at his review (I agree with every word he writes).  I'll add in that if you think that scene is a blaspheme, you're missing the point of the film, and it would have been an absolute exclamation point on the film's major themes to keep it in.  

But also I'll chime in with how pompous the reviewer was and remains who dismissed the film.  And I deeply enjoyed watching him absolutely get owned by the documentary while refusing to give an inch.  

Not many movies get to enjoy this kind of retrospective or get to return to what amounts to the scene of a crime as it were, and get a chance to see something they thought lost.  I have 100,000 words on the complications of art and commerce, anti-censorship, et al.  But if you've been kicking around the blog long enough, you can probably guess my stance on these things (art and commerce is complicated!  Censorship = bad!).  Add in the peculiarities of 1970's British censorship, US-based censorship, dumb people and poor media literacy, and it makes for an interesting confluence of events vis-a-vis The Devils.  

If I have one last note - and the doc came out before the show, there's some real Garth Marenghi's Darkplace energy to the host and his presentation style.  I am guessing this was just a BBC thing at the time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Neo-Noir Watch: Sexy Beast (2000)

Watched:  03/05/2024
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  First
Director:  Jonathan Glazer
Selection:  Me

I had a budding interest in noir and neo-noir when this movie came out, but I remember having no interest in the film.  I suppose it was a trailer or write-up or word-of-mouth that did the trick, but I couldn't say.  Now it's on Criterion, and my tastes have ebbed and flowed over the years, and as I couldn't recall why I didn't want to see this movie, I gave it a shot.

In some circles, this movie is a bit of a classic, enough so that there is a television show coming in short order (or arrived already in England, I don't know) that tells the story of the early lives of the main characters of the movie.  

The movie is a weird mix of a single-location character drama and crime movie, and I... didn't think it worked.  Which is a tough thing to say about a beloved movie with famed actors like Sir Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone and Ian McShane and which still gets referred to a lot.  But I just... didn't buy it.


Saturday, March 2, 2024

G Watch: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)

Watched:  03/02/2024
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Masaaki Tezuka & IshirĂ´ Honda
Selection:  Me-ish

This is the one about the very lazy scientists who create a wormhole on earth and don't monitor said wormhole and it lets in a bug, and that bug almost destroys the planet.

So, yeah - this movie is part of the Millennium series which kicked off with Godzilla 2000, and which I'm unclear if there's even supposed to be any continuity.  But Godzilla is a problem, so science decides the thing to do is create a gun that can shoot a black hole at him, which...  look...  that just seems like you're creating way more problems than you're solving.  

On a test run, the scientists are successful, but the black hole leaves a @#$%ing wormhole and no one seems all that worried about it and I guess they go home?  Because that night a giant bug flies out and leaves an egg a very, very dumb kid picks up.  But he's been sworn by our supposed hero not to tell anyone about the experiment, so, logically, he tells no one about the egg.  

Which he then dumps down a Tokyo sewer when the egg gets slimy.  But the egg is hatching thousands of tiny bugs that will grow into horse-sized dragonflies that kill people.  So, amazing job all around.  

It's not really a wonder that some Godzilla movies harp on how the Japanese government tends to shoot itself in the foot and hurt the citizenry by constantly trying to hide information.  

Anyway - Black Hole Gun doesn't quite do its job on its first live fire, and Godzilla is swarmed by giant dragonflies who siphon off some of his *power* and take it to their resting queen in a submerged city.  The queen then fights Godzilla, and if you signed up for a pretty good kaiju fight, I have great news for you. 

I may slowly be developing a thing for women in well designed helmets thanks to these movies, but there you are.  Our hero helps direct the Black Hole Gun at Godzilla and the movie ends with us knowing they only think they got rid of him.  By the time the credits finish, we think they did not as the dumb kid from the movie's first half is seen staring out a window in what we can only hope is Godzilla about to crush him.

This movie is weirdly gross.  Doug described it as "gristley", which seems right.  There's a lot of stabbing of Godzilla by a stinger, and lots of ooze and slime and bug parts.  Which is interesting as the movie is rated 7+.  Kids were tougher in 2000.  There's also two straight up horror movie deaths as the dragonflies take out some unsuspecting people.  But the design on the dragonflies and the eventual Megaguirus is really solid and shows what Toho was pulling off really well in this era.

Some fun casting:  Yuriko Hoshi who was in a couple of Showa-era films returns as a veteran scientist with some major mom hair.  And Misato Tanaka is pretty solid as our helmeted lead.

This is nowhere near my favorite Godzilla movie, but it has some good bits.  Godzilla has the edgier, pokier design, and I love the pink in his dorsal fins, which is why I'm pumped about Pink G in the coming film.  

Sunday, February 18, 2024

00's Watch: Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Watched:  02/17/2024
Format:  Criterion Channel (I know)
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Harry Elfont/ Deborah Kaplan

When I moved to Arizona for reasons I can hardly remember in the summer of 2002, I remember spending my days unpacking while Jamie was at work - and Josie and the Pussycats (2001) running all the dang time on HBO.  So, no, I have no idea how many times I've seen it.

I was well aware of the concept.  As a kid I knew Josie and friends from Archie Comics, and I had seen both versions of the cartoon, Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outerspace (Hanna Barbera was nuts, y'all).

But like a lot of people, I dismissed the movie when it came out, assuming it was *not for me* and aimed at pre-teens.  Which, fine.  But not my movie.  But sitting there, delirious in the Arizona heat, I sat and watched a few minutes of the movie and was, like, "...ooooohhhh.  They let them make this?"

And I don't mean that in a bad way.  When this hit in 2001, making a movie for the audience about how they were being easily led dressed up as a frothy, fun ride was kind of unheard of.  And also sort of reflected the spirit of the Gen-X generation's initial push into leadership roles in media - just before they decided it was more lucrative to be the villains from this movie instead of spunky musicians.


Sunday, December 17, 2023

Christmas Watch: Elf (2003)

Watched:  12/14/2023
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  John Favreau

Not too long ago on the nu-social medias (BluSky, maybe?) I opined that Elf (2003) is the last generally agreed upon holiday "classic".  

While there's plenty of good Christmas movies that have arrived in the past two decades, it's hard to find one this many people have seen - which maybe isn't the best endorsement, but it is a fact.  Elf was the last holiday movie to land in regular rotation on basic cable (as in "24 hours of Elf!"), and it's hard to imagine that in our splintered way of viewing media and smaller and smaller shares of audiences that a movie will be able to get much traction as part of folks' holiday habits.  And, even now, the classics of a decade or so ago have been pushed aside for 1980's Gen-X nostalgia and the endless Die Hard debates by people young enough to have their own movies.

It's not hard to see why Elf has earned it's place, though, and why it's imitated with movies like Noelle.  It's a great concept to imagine a North Pole elf loosed in the big city, trying to connect to the rest of us and missing.  There's an innocence and joie de vivre ascribed to children that it's fun to see a 6'3" guy embracing.

The "elf culture" gags are fantastic, and - while I know Will Ferrell's energy isn't for everyone - but it seems to be coming from a place in this one.  And, really, the whole cast in this thing is great.  Casting James Caan as Buddy's father was absolutely inspired.  Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Michael Lerner, Amy Sedaris, Andy Richter and Kyle Gass, and, of course, Peter Dinklage.  

It fits neatly into a space where we've already seen innumerable movies about how Santa is de-powered because there's not enough Christmas spirit... like, that's a major plot point and they never really get into it.  We just look around and say "yeah, fair enough, I guess".  And it knows we've all seen the stop-motion Rankin-Bass specials enough, it just overlays that world over the North Pole.  

Anyway, you've seen Elf.  I don't need to belabor the point.  The only real thing that sticks out in 2023 is - why on earth does Zooey Deschanel's character fall for Buddy?  Inquiring minds want to know.  He's a grown man who acts like a hyper 7 year old, has no job, and is insane/ obsessed with Christmas.  Which is going to feel weird in July.

I mean, yes, he helped encourage her to sing, but.  Look, people encourage me to do stuff all the time, but I am sorry - I do not start making googly eyes at you as a result.  Googly eyes are reserved for Jamie.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

TKD Watch: The Foot Fist Way (2006)

Watched:  11/12/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Jody Hill

I saw this back in the day when it was a theatrical release (apparently contributing $40 or so of the $250K take), and while I am sure it was originally hitting the festival circuit in 2006, I saw it in 2008.  

At the time, I took my pal Matt, who had just earned his Black Belt in something other than Tae Kwon Do. But strip-mall TKD was something with which I had a lot of familiarity.  I, myself, tested for a Black Belt circa 2001 after a few years of lessons.*  And, yes, everything in the movie about how these schools operate felt absolutely true.  

Your strip mall TKD dojo is a place where grown adults take instruction and direction from 13 year old kids left in charge of the class, and it's a place where people with jobs spend their time yelling mispronounced Korean words and treating everything with deadly seriousness as they kick targets and punch dummies.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Godzilla Day Watch: Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)

Watched:  11/03/2023
Format:  Amazon 
Viewing:  Second or Third
Director:  Masaaki Tezuka

So, I'd seen this one before, and as near as I can tell, it's a favorite of the Millennium Era (spoiler, y'all.  I kind of dig all eras for their own reasons).  And that's not a bad take.  The suit in this one is pretty rad and toyetic, Godzilla is in "unstoppable natural force" mode, and the story is just absolutely bananas in the best way.  And, man, so much monster-fighting.

Our story - Mothra and a pair of Faeries (is there any other kind from Infant Island?), show up to tell one of their old contacts from the original Mothra movie that Mothra wants the JXSDF to return 1954 Godzilla's bones to the ocean.  Where are 1954 Godzilla's bones?  Inside of MechaGodzilla.  Why?  REASONS.  Apparently that's what they used as the support structure.  

So, yes - (a) the Godzilla you've known since Godzilla Raids Again is NOT OG Godzilla (which makes sense since he's very dead at the end of the first film.  And (b) there are mystical forces at play that want those bones in the ocean, and those forces talk to the Faeries and Mothra.  

Of course there's a very earnest and hard working mechanic who met Mothra who, by day, is on the flight crew for MechaGodzilla.  There's a bunch of other characters, but I'll be honest - they kind of don't really matter.  This is about Current Godzilla wanting to fight the bones of his counterpart, Mothra showing up and self-sacrificing, and MechaGodzilla being haunted.  It is a ride.

I won't hard sell you on this movie - it's part of a series and I didn't mean to watch it.  But we pulled together a last-minute watch party and I intended to watch Godzilla versus Astro Monster, but apparently that got pulled from Prime on Nov. 1 and I panicked.  

If you're going to panic, there are worse movies to decide to watch.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Hallo-Watch: Ghost Ship (2002)

Watched:  10/20/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Steve Beck

So, I remembered this movie being better than I expected when I watched it back in the mid-00's.  Watching it in 2023, it is as bad as I first suspected when the trailers hit.

It has a few highlights - the opening is a banger if you can tolerate some gorey gore.  There's some interesting set design, and the overall concept of a haunted ship (on sea or in space) is a good one.  I like haunted house movies, and what is a cruise liner if not a floating resort?

But the movie is essentially a cliche-fest, borrowing from better films and engaging in the goofiest of 1990's ragtag, blue-collar, post-Abyss team dynamics that just absolutely throttled movies by the 00's from Deep Blue Sea to Name-Your-Film.  We get bits of The Shining, we get bits of just general ghosty-stuff you're like to see in any spook movie new or old, but now with CG!  Which was all producers thought we cared about in 2002 (spoiler: it absolutely was not).  

What's weird about this movie is that it's never scary.  Beyond that, I'm not sure there's really ever any tension.  It's so by-the-numbers that you'd literally have to be a kid who hasn't seen anything to get anything novel out of it.  So then you're left with execution.  And - it's...  again, by-the-numbers in a way that at the time we were told was being done for sale to foreign markets.  Which.... (a) cool for them, but I am also your audience, and (b) I don't know if you've ever seen an Asian film or a European film, but "complicated" is not something they have any trouble wrangling, so why these movies get reduced to people shouting last names at each other and commenting on "tiddies" is beyond me.

The cast on this movie was kind of no-joke at the time.  Gabriel Byrne, an up-and-coming Julianna Marguiles (her magnificent hair reduced here for blue-collar action heroism).  We have a rising Isaiah Washington, Karl Urban and Ron Eldard.  Less well known, Alex Dimitriades, Desmond Harrington and our token ghost-girl, Katie, played by Emily Browning.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention torch singer Francesca Rettondini, who plays a ghostly chanteuse.  While noteworthy for general foxiness, Rettondini would, in 2012, go on to become a television host, and in that capacity would be aboard the Costa Concordia when it ran into rocks, capsizing to become one of the larger scale boat disasters in Europe on this century.  No, Rettondini does not find the irony amusing.  

A few items of note:  Apparently these people all believed they were in a very different movie about people trapped on a ship who slowly go mad thanks to ghosts, but when they showed up, they found out that the script had been re-written to make it what we see on screen.  Which absolutely feels like a second draft generated by a Script-o-Tron 2000 running on Windows 98.  

Also - the movie was directed by a gentleman who had directed just one prior film, and this would be his final bow as a director of features before heading into commercials, which has apparently treated him well.  But it does make you wonder how much the very big name producers (Joel Silver, Zemeckis, etc...) decided to just push this guy around as a young gun-for-hire, which was a standard power move in the 90's.  

Anyway, the movie decides that in the third act it needs to have a plot, and that plot is clunky, dumb and even a little confusing.  We are forced to learn that there was some heist of gold?  A second boat?  Armed bandits?  a quadruple cross?  I don't know and I don't care.  It's dumb and unnecessary.  Ghost stories don't need concrete origin stories.  Especially when they get tossed out in favor of "actually, demon magic" immediately after.  

Horror is hard, y'all.  It really is.  And I know people love this movie, and I gave it a pass for something like 17 years since I last saw it, but.  Nope.  It's just a product of the time in so many ways, and really has nothing new to offer that doesn't happen in the first five minutes.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

PodCast 253: "Justice League: The New Frontier" (2008) - SimonCanada and Ryan talk Comic Book Movies

Watched:  09/09/2023  
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Unknown.  Probably fourth 
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Dave Bullock

An all-new Simon from an all-new nation joints us on an all new frontier! We talk a 2000's-era comic and animated superhero classic. Join us as we jump back to a different era to look toward a better superhero tomorrow!



The Flash Theme - Kevin Manthei, Justice League: New Frontier Soundtrack 
Green Lantern Theme - Kevin Manthei, Justice League: New Frontier Soundtrack 

Playlist: DC Comics and Movies 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Bat Watch: The Dark Knight (2008)

Watched:  09/15/2023
Format:  Drafthouse
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Nolan

SimonUK and I attended a 15th Anniversary screening of The Dark Knight, arguably one of two films that set superhero movies on their current trajectory from 2008 (Iron Man being the other), as DC and Marvel made their way from "huh, superheroes are a fun novelty" to "please stop it with the superheroes".

It has been years and years since I've returned to The Dark Knight (see what I did there?!), and there's a lot of water under the bridge.  But it's also a movie I saw so many times between 2008 and 2012 or so that I also have a hard time just slipping back into the movie.  

It still has the wildly confusing discussion at the end, that does, in fact, make sense if you squint and go along with the premise of what will, in fact, sway Gothamites to stand with law and order.  But it's arguable the film needed to be more clear in the moment.  Clearly, Nolan's capable of that messaging - because he really, really sticks the landing on "actually, people aren't murderous trash, Joker, you dick."  But that last scene really scrambles on the whole "Batman went on a murderous rampage, not Harvey" bit so that they make Harvey the symbol of justice as a martyred hero.

It's an odd bit of legacy that the Joker is seen as a "mad dog chasing a car".  He's clearly not that at all in this movie, but we take what people say in movies at face value instead of literally all of the evidence piling up.  He says he's no schemer, but he intentionally gets arrested and sews a bomb into someone's stomach so he can get to the guy in the holding cell in the middle of police headquarters.  I mean, that's... wildly more interesting than Jared Leto's dipshit with the face tattoos.  

But, man, is some of the dialog in this movie clunky.  It's people speaking in trailer quotes and ensuring that their reason for existing as part of this iconography is clearly understood.  Some of it works, but, you have to let yourself sink into the fact that this is a modern myth and not someone's attempt at realism.  We're conveying *ideas* here, not worrying about Batman's inner-life.

Also - man, does the Batmask not work.  I don't know who decided it's essentially a fake nose, but it is.  And in close-up, it looks insane and makes Bale's very normal mouth look very not normal.  Paired with the Bat-voice, it's a lot.

"maybe I don't want to breathe through my nose..."

Despite all this, Ledger's performance is one for the ages.  That's not news.  I should really watch that Joaquin Phoenix movie sometime, because I expected it might suffer by comparison, but apparently did not.  Who knew this guy would become Oscar bait?



Anyway, I still like the movie.  It's not aged into a curiosity quite yet, and it still has massive impact on superhero cinema.  If you look at the myth-building and argument of ethical models as the story, I'm not sure it's been topped.  After all, we're still crawling out from the DCEU that was formed in its image and from a WB who learned all the wrong lessons from this movie's success.  But it also was part of that 2008 one-two punch for a reason.

All that said, I do hope the new Batman movie series and whatever happens with Bats in the Gunn-driven DCU work out.  

I'm still blown away we got what we got out of these films.  And I am sure in a few years I'll be back here defending The Dark Knight Rises.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Croc Watch: Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)

Watched:  08/11/2023
Format:  Amazon 
Viewing:  First
Director:  Some Guy

In 2001, I recall the arrival of Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles and my own reaction of "what?  why?"  

In 1986, I was an enthusiastic viewer of the original Crocodile Dundee and a dutiful watcher of Crocodile Dundee II a scant two years later.  We're releasing a podcast on Crocodile Dundee this week, and after watching, Jamie showed enough curiosity about the threequel that I was willing to give it a go.  Maybe find answers to that "...but why?"

Honestly - I don't think anyone, even Paul Hogan, really knows why they made this movie.  It's not evident from the film that they had a story to tell or anyone was particularly enthusiastic about the idea.  There's no compelling narrative, but a series of listless and sluggish fish-out-of-water gags that make no sense given the 2 years of Dundee in New York, and a few that are just "hey, you'd also be confused if you were in a high end bathroom with a remote with no instructions" wacky moments.  It's essentially trying to repeat gags from the first movie (substitute a jacuzzi tub for a bidet) to worse effect.  

Whereas the first movie is bifurcated between the outback and Manhattan, this movie spends at least 2/3rds in LA.  Weirdly, it tries a framework of Sue being put in charge of the LA bureau by her dad and swiftly uncovers the guy she's replacing was possibly murdered - but... nobody cares.  Not really.  No one mourns the guy who died, and Sue only seems tepidly interested.  If clues didn't keep shoving themselves in her face, she wouldn't care one way or another.  And Mick's interest seems mostly based in having literally nothing better to do.

So, the rest is, like, Mick stabbing an animatronic snake.  Mick meeting Mike Tyson (if this movie hoped for celebrity cameos, all they get is Tyson and George Hamilton).  Mick using magical powers to wrangle a chimp on a set.

If the first film was all about a big city gal finding charm in the ultra-masculinity of a hickish backwoodsman (and fair enough as a plot.  We discuss this in the podcast and we accept it) this movie has only the faintest echo of that charm.  Linda Kozlowski seems disinterested and uncomfortable in her own skin in a way she absolutely was not in the first two films.  It's like she agreed to be in the movie for continuity, but wasn't really *that* interested in being in it, so she's there in body if not in spirit.

But that can be said for everyone.  

The excuse for the plot we compared to Brigadoon.  It would appear every 30 minutes throughout the movie, as if from the mists, and then retreat for Reader's Digest level non-chuckles for incredibly long stretches.  I don't know what the story is, but the pacing of this movie is glacial.  Like every cut has long pauses between lines and way, waaaaaay too long from start of a scene to the punchline, that just never really pays off.  

The director has done stuff I thought was "fine" to "could have been worse" before this.  Here, he must have been doing work-for-hire and running.

Part of the problem is that Mick isn't supposed to be dumb, but he is.  He's supposed to be clever, but he makes mistakes like a dumb asshole who can't read the room and then leaves the room after causing chaos, mostly unaware of what he's done.  That tension worked in the first film and was moot for the second (if memory serves) as they reversed flow and returned to Australia so Mick could become bushwhacking Batman.  But here?  He's been living with a sophisticate for 15 years.  He's just choosing to be a dummy.

Anyway, the gag doesn't work, and that's all it is.  Introducing a kid into the movie doesn't really improve things, and, in fact, signals the "why" of the softening of some of the humor.  Except that this movie also wants you to know it's about Mick being sexy if knife-wielding saddle bags are your jam.  And your kid commenting on a woman's ass is a good, wry chuckle.

Add in some old white guy racism, sexism and the patented queer-panic and transphobia of the first film, and it really may be that Hogan and Co. were stranded in the outback since the mid-80's.  But you gotta hit those same beats from the first film.

I guess I kind of hated this movie.  

Apparently law suits were thrown around about who had written this, but the only reason that happened was because the writers needed full credit for full pay.  They really didn't want to be associated with the film.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Superheroes Every Day Guest Spot: Iron Man (2008)

Watched:  07/22/2023
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  John favreau

We guested over at Superheroes Every Day!  

Host Danny Horn was kind enough to have me on for a convo re: the first real Marvel Studios film.

Join us for all three acts of Iron Man (2008)!

Act I:

Act II:

Act III:

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Guest Podcasting: The Hulk (2003)

Watched: 04/22/2023
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  Third?
Director:  Ang Lee

Danny invited me back to his podcast at Superheroes Every Day.  This go-round, we are discussing the 2003 pre-MCU version of The Hulk, which features many things occurring, not least of which is Jennifer Connelly. 

As with all Superheroes Every Day movies, we break it up by 3 acts and discuss them, with parts released on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  

Act I

Act II


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

PodCast 238: "Vertical Limit" (2000) - a SimonUK Cinema Series Episode w/ Ryan

Watched:  03/19/2023
Format:  AMC ondemand
Viewing: First
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Martin Campbell

Why would we watch this movie? Because it's there! SimonUK and Ryan scale a mighty wall that is this 2000-era bonafide hit that has disappeared into thin air. Join us as we cling to the rock face of pre-Google movies, leap to conclusions, and feel our lungs filling with 90's-style action! It's not the Stallone movie from like 8 years earlier! It's the other mountain movie!



Opening - James Newton Howard, Vertical Limit OST 
MacArthur Park - Richard Harris

SimonUK Cinema Series

Monday, February 6, 2023

00's Rewatch: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Watched:  02/04/2023
Format:  Apple+
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Wes Anderson

It may be that the truest line of dialog, clunky as it sounded at the time, to ever be put into a movie was in The Dark KnightYou either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.  And if my former life on twitter taught me anything, it's that the next generation of people who were not there at the time are going to come along and not understand the world or context into which a film was delivered.  That's not their fault, but to assume that something like The Royal Tenenbaums arrives into theaters and now Wes Anderson is considered a faultless filmmaker who will enjoy a career of deeply specific filmmaking and be dubbed a key filmmaker was not a guarantee.  

Even then not everyone loved Anderson's mannered, structured take that drew attention to the film as a film, as a chaptered storybook.  And that's fine.  Not everything is to everyone's taste.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

PodCast 228: "Terminator 3" (2003) - A Movies of Doom/ ArnieFest/ SimonUK Cinema Selection w/ Ryan

Watched:  01/08/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: Second
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Jonathan Mostow

Si and Ryan are doomed to a fate they can't escape, It's time for more robots from the future. Kind of dumb robots, but robots nonetheless. It's the first post-Cameron sequel and maybe it cooked too long or something. But it has its good spots! But. Anyway.



Terminator 3 Theme - Marco Beltrami

Terminator Posts and PodCasts:

Simon UK Cinema Series

Arnie Fest Playlist

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Watch Party Watch: Holiday In Handcuffs (2006)

you will feel like Mario Lopez here once you hit "play"

Watched:  12/23/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  Ron Underwood

Sometimes I wish every movie came with a history of what happened from the screenplay to the final product.  Otherwise, such as in the case of Holiday in Handcuffs (2006), I - the viewer - am left wondering "what happened here?  who did this?  who did they do it for?  and why did they do that?"  

My go-to move is to assume massive fiddling went on as the movie went through development, or that there were re-shoots.  This movie is too cheap for re-shoots, so I'll go with Execs Had Ideas and it was going on Disney's "ABC Family" network, a network that has been many, many things and the catch-all for Disney product with no obvious home.

Directed by the same guy who brought us Tremors and City Slickers before sliding into Mighty Joe Young and The Adventures of Pluto Nash and eventually lots of TV, I have no idea what hand he actually had in this film.  Look, I watched all of Inhumans (twice!), which was also a product of ABC execs, and I'm still dealing with the scars of that misadventure.  I refuse to believe anyone making product for ABC networks isn't getting it from all sides.

Here's my suspicion: