Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Service industry blues

How pretty production polish spoils a cult sequel's shine

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Kevin Smith made the original Clerks in 1994 with $27,000 and a bunch of Jersey kids with bad hair and tight-rolled jeans. It looked like it was spliced together with duct tape and shot by a cameraman with cataracts; the actors deliver their lines with the finesse of a 6-year-old who hasn’t finished Hooked on Phonics. If you’d ever held a job, you can relate. When Dante (Brian O’Halloran) bemoans, “I’m not even supposed to be here today,” anyone who’s taken an extra shift feels his pain. With Clerks II, Smith heads back to Jersey, only this time he’s fat with cash and a half-dozen movies and countless Jay Leno appearances under his belt.

Continue reading »

Wassup Rockers

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM

For a certain breed of indie movie fan, hearing the name Larry Clark is liable to induce seizures. Ever since "Kids" convinced polite, middle-aged art-house audiences that their precious children might be getting stoned, having unprotected sex and beating up gays in the park, each of the director’s new films has been greeted by equal amounts admiration, disgust and ratings-board penalties. (His 2002 effort "Ken Park," which could best be described as a hardcore after-school special, was banned in Australia.) So it may come as a relief to some and a disappointment to others that the director’s new film, "Wassup Rockers," is Larry Clark-lite: Not once in it does a guy asphyxiate himself while jerking off, there are no threesomes and no one talks about having anal sex at summer camp. Actually, there may be one instance of the latter, but the teens in this film mumble so much, most of the time it’s hard to figure out what the hell they’re saying.

Continue reading »

Monster House

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM

First-time director Gil Kenan follows in the footsteps of "Gremlins" to deliver a scary and quick-witted movie for the pre-teen set. Its clever, morbid sense of humor is reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, but with a more contemporary flavor. Though it’s too scary for the wee-est ones, the nine-year-old in your house will probably love it.

Continue reading »

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM

"My Super Ex-Girlfriend," is a great idea, but director Ivan Reitman can’t deliver the laughs. The light-on-guffaws, high-on-concept scene is typical for this mash-up of superhero stories and romantic comedies. The mild-mannered and sappy Matt is just a regular joe who thinks he’s landed the girlfriend of a lifetime with the heroine G-Girl (Uma Thurman). When he discovers she’s a needy control-freak, he learns that splitting up with a chick with superpowers isn’t just hard to do, but bad for your health.

Continue reading »

Lady in the Water

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Among the things you’ll encounter in the new film "Lady in the Water": a fanged creature called a Scrunt; an otherworldly redhead named Story, who is a narf; a stuttering handyman named Cleveland Heep. That’s right, kids, it’s time to be force-fed another convoluted tale "from the imagination of M. Night Shyamalan." The writer-director who created a supernatural sensation with "The Sixth Sense" and an unintentional laugh riot with "The Village" is back with a vengeance. The movie might be utterly worthless were it not for the contributions of cinematographer Christopher Doyle. Confined to one location, a garish set design and some lame special effects, Doyle manages to create a sumptuous, delicate, graceful world out of the mundane. He can do more with one shot than Shyamalan can do with an entire script.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Sound of No Hands Clapping

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

The Sound of No Hands Clapping by Toby Young $24.95 304 pp. Da Capo Press Review by John Dicker There are few reasons to pay attention to Toby Young’s second memoir, The Sound of No Hands Clapping. Young is 42 years old and, yes, you read it right, this is...

Continue reading »

Check your head

Animating the druggy haze of Philip K. Dick

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

This isn't the first time Richard Linklater has used an animation technique known as interpolated rotoscoping, but in tackling the drug-induced paranoia of Philip K. Dick’s sprawling novel "A Scanner Darkly," Linklater has found a suitable match for his jittery animation technique. His lush chameleon-like visuals enhance Dick’s schizophrenic view of modern society and give the film an unsettling sense of disorientation and dread. Keanu Reeves plays Bob Arctor, an undercover narcotics cop assigned to infiltrate a group of low-rent drug dealers. Wearing a “scramble suit” that disguises his identity by creating an ever-shifting cycle of physical appearances, Bob has begun to lose track of who he really is. He gets hooked on a new drug called “Substance D,” takes up residence with a pair of drug-ravaged users — Jim Barris (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Ernie Luckman (Woody Harrelson) — and falls in love with a mysterious young addict named Donna (Winona Ryder). It’s a complicated film that requires patience and, most likely, subsequent viewings to appreciate the jigsaw view of control and paranoia.

Continue reading »

Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Though he may forever be in the shadow of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen’s haunting, trademark voice and intensely personal lyrics have earned him a devoted following. Cohen’s crusty commentary is often amusing and his insights fascinating, though his constant self-deprecation and humility are taken to such extremes that it starts to come off as ego in disguise. Cohen’s slow, rumbling baritone would already be hard enough to decipher if director Lian Lunson didn’t insist on loading the sound track with reverb, overdubs and other layers of digital murk and heavy-handed visuals.

Continue reading »

You, Me and Dupree

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

This bargain-basement The Man Who Came to Dinner exposes a lot of Wilson’s bare ass while he stinks up the bathrooms, jerks off in the living room and sets the couple’s home on fire. Yet it doesn’t give away all its laughs in the trailers (though it probably couldn’t; the very funny masturbation scene and its aftermath never would have made it past the preview police) and Michael Le Sieur’s script doesn’t meander down predictable paths. After all, it’s not every situation comedy that weaves in elements of obsessive paranoia.

Continue reading »

Little Man

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

In "Little Man," which Shawn and Marlon wrote and star in and Keenen directs, the brothers rip off a classic Bugs Bunny plot: an ill-tempered little person pretends to be a baby to get away after a robbery. This time, it’s a jewelry heist, and the little person, Calvin, puts himself on the doorstep of an unsuspecting couple, angling to retrieve the jewel he stashed in the woman’s handbag. Marlon plays Calvin; his head is superimposed on a dwarf’s body, and not with great finesse. Baby Calvin has to be the homeliest little thing you’ve ever laid eyes on. He’s such an ugly kid his face would curdle breast-milk. Babies make great fodder for bodily function humor, what with diapers and breasts readily accessible. The brothers miss no opportunities for little Calvin to ogle, fondle and rub his face in every set of ta-tas that pass him by. Throw in a half dozen kicks in the crotch, and you pretty much have the whole movie.

Continue reading »

Best Things to Do In Detroit

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.