Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fantastic Four: The Unreleased 1994 Roger Corman Movie

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM

When New Horizons Films couldn’t raise $40 million to tell the Fantastic Four saga, they scrambled to get anything onscreen so they could retain their rights. Natch they tapped Roger Corman, the emperor of parsimonious moviemaking, to bring this puppy in for less than what two of Jessica Alba’s hair extensions would’ve cost. The result is this suppressed film that’s hilarious in its cheapness yet infinitely more endearing than its costlier counterpart. Who needs CGI when you can make Johnny Storm a cartoon? And why license two Marvel supervillains when you can just make one not-so-super one up, like — the Jeweler. The Jeweler?

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Crazy Love

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM

If you’re looking for another reason to hate lawyers or put off getting married then let the demented relationship of Linda Riis and Burt Pugach be your cautionary tale. Though directors Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens call their tabloid documentary Crazy Love, it isn’t just a cutesy title celebrating the affections of two lovable eccentrics. Columnist Jimmy Breslin hits the nail on the head when he describes the two as "criminally insane."

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Wet Hot American Summer

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM

This breezy spoof is set on the last day at Camp Firewood 1981, a Jewish youth retreat facing the threats of dangerous whitewater rapids, raging hormones, too-tight cut-offs, and a burning chunk of SkyLab falling on the talent show. The movie has slowly built its rep in true cult fashion. Constant Comedy Central showings and old-fashioned word-of-mouth have earned the flick a devoted audience who dig its cheesy horndog characters and absurdist humor.

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La Vie en Rose

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM

This Edith Piaf biopic is a breathless recap of the life and times of French chanteuse. Like the best biopics, it’s splashy and sumptuous, but director Olivier Dahan and lead Marion Cotillard — in a career-defining performance — never let you forget the grim, grimy details of her life. Far more conventionally beautiful than Piaf, Cotillard uses her entire body to get into character, hunching her shoulders, hanging her head and scrunching up her brow to suggest a small measure of the ugliness Piaf had learned to endure in real life.

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DOA: Dead or Alive

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM

This B-grade adaptation of a third-rate video game franchise is stocked with a stacked cast of ass-kicking babes. It’s one noisy, brain-rotting hunk of junk-food cinema, but damn if it isn’t satisfying.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cruel summer

Eli Roth makes torture look pretty, without the social commentary

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

It's not exactly groundbreaking to decry the work of the current poster boy for the despicable and swiftly spreading torture porn craze, but the real problem is not that Roth toils in a loathsome, indefensible genre; it's because he does it so well. Eli Roth makes really pretty horror pictures, his blood splatters are artful, his cruelty inventive, his pacing and scene framing are impeccable; dude knows his shit. The trouble is that his "stuff" isn't worth making, his savagery is tiresome, his relentless dehumanizing use of violence isn't funny, and it's not half as clever as Mr. Roth thinks it is.

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Offside

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Offside is kind of like a postcard from prison, and, though conditions are severe, the inmates are in good spirits and appear to be making the most of their bad situation. The action centers around a World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain at Tehran's Azadi stadium, where a half-dozen young girls attempt to join in on the nationalistic sporting fever inside. Women are forbidden from attending such sporting events there, but these ladies risk much just to root for their side. A group of bored soldiers prevent them from such simple soccer joys. These troops know how ridiculously sexist the rules are, but they follow orders with halfhearted professionalism, and round the girls into a makeshift holding pen before turning them over to the vice squad.

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Severance

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Slasher films are the ramen noodles of horror: Stick a group of characters in a remote location, toss in a knife-wielding maniac then just add blood. Voila! Instant B-movie. Lately, there's been a return to the humorless brutality of early hack-and-stab movies. While the production values are much higher and torture has become the centerpiece, the genre hasn't evolved much. Still, if for no other reason than effort, Christopher Smith's Severance deserves props for trying to inject wit between decapitations and eviscerations.

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Ocean's 13

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

The best con men have a way of overriding our deepest suspicions, smoothly charming us into buying whatever guff they're selling; even if we sense deep down that we're being scammed. So it is with director Steven Soderbergh and his ever- swelling glamour gang of celebrity buds, as they slyly bluff their way through the third entry in the Ocean's series. Never mind that the retro/modern caper premise was thoroughly exhausted after the first go-round, or that the sloppy second episode came off like little more than a lavish extended European vacation on the studio's dime. Truth is, these cats are having too much of a blast to stop now, and they'll keep on swinging till long after curfew, so why not come along for the party?

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Day Watch

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

When last we left Anton (Konstantin Khabensky) of the "Night Watch," his estranged son, Yegor, decided to join the forces of the Dark after discovering Dad had tried to have him magically aborted after learning his wife had been unfaithful. Now a member of the same army Anton has sworn to fight against, the vengeful lad turns out be the Great One; a supernatural being who can help end the treaty between good and evil and usher in the apocalypse. Luckily, Anton and his pals with the Light have rookie/girlfriend Sveta (Maria Poroshina), as their Great One counterpunch. Unfortunately, their blond bonita isn't ready to do battle, so off they go, in search of the Chalk of Life, a magical... well, piece of chalk that can alter history and restore balance.

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