Saturday, March 31, 2007

A candy-colored cowboy cult confection. Yes. That really does work.

I did something last night that I never thought I would do. I drank beer. Ok, I knew I would do that, and that's not all that noteworthy. The location was. I drank beer in a museum! I went to the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts to see a movie. And I had a beer. Samuel Adams Winter Lager. It's good stuff. If you're a fan of beers, check it out.

Like I said, I was at the DFT. To see a movie. And not just any movie, one of them classy flicks. Tears of the Black Tiger. A movie from Thailand that I've been wanting to see since...well, since I first heard of it in December. Basically, it was the DFT's description that sold me on seeing it...

After dazzling audiences at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, this demented, surrealistic, fever-dream of a movie, which is perhaps best described as a candy-colored cowboy cult confection from Thailand, was passed from distributor to distributor in America. They all loved it, but had no idea how to even describe it, let alone market it. Understandable, since it’s not every day that audiences get to revel in a lush, wildly melodramatic Thai western about betrayal and forbidden love, in which cowboys brandish not only six-shooters, but also bazookas. Suggesting a mix of Sergio Leone, John Woo, Douglas Sirk, and George Romero—all under the influence—the one undeniable fact about this insanely entertaining, violently rollicking yarn is that it is quite literally like nothing you have ever seen, or even imagined, before.
And, you know what? They weren't far off. Though, I describe it this way: Imagine if Tarantino made Romeo & Juliet with cowboys. Also, imagine that he shot it in technicolor. That, I think sums it up.

The story itself is about two people in love. However, one is a peasant, the other is a rich girl. It's kind of like Billy Joel's Uptown Girl. Except more Thai and less Brooklyn-y.

This is a pretty typical shot. Look at the color. Look at the framing. The composition of the shot itself is just beautiful.

Dum and Rumpoey met as children. Dum was the son of a farmer who worked for Rumpoey's father. Due to their social status, Rumpoey starts off by being kind of mean and bossy to Dum by bossing him around and breaking his flute. However, when Dum gets beat with oars to protect her, and then gets savagely beaten by his father for the whole ordeal, she falls in love with him (isn't that always how it goes?) and replaces his broken flute with an engraved harmonica. She, however moves away.

Years later, Dum goes to college where he once again runs into Rumpoey. Once again he must defend her honor and once again gets punished for it. This time, he gets expelled. Rumpoey feels terrible, and fulfills a childhood promise to take him to the ocean. After this, Dum returns home to find his father murdered, so Dum goes seeking revenge and joins the circus. I mean a group of bandits run by Fai.

It's here that Dum meets Mahesuan, another bandit. And while Dum is out banditing it up, Rumpoey is getting engaged, to her dismay, to a young police officer. Dum has to then fight off the police officer and Mahesuan to protect Rumpoey.

Real people, fake set.

It's not, however, the story that sets this movie apart. Don't get me wrong, the story is fantastic and lots of fun, but it's the style that the film has that makes it so unique. Just the use of over saturated colors and painted backdrops. Everything looks so bright, even Dum's black shirts. Everything just pops off the screen.

I made a Tarantino comparison earlier. And I don't think I was mistaken. The movie is a bit violent. And bloody. There are guns and cowboys and knives and grenades and midgets and bazookas. People die. But, even death has style in this movie.

And the music! The music is very 50's western movie. Like Hollywood western. That kind of style. It's great and feels funny. Maybe less 50's western, and more 50's romantic comedy. But, the music is almost out of place, but perfect at the same time.

It really was like nothing I had seen before. To call it surreal is an understatement. It would be like calling the Eiffel Tower tall. Or calling the Sahara dry. Or calling Godzilla a lizard. Yes, it describes it, but it gives you no sense of tall, dry, lizard-y or surreal it really is.

A trailer. To give you some idea.

I can only recommend that you see this. If the opportunity should arise, just do it. Just, if nothing else, to do, to SEE something like nothing else. This might be the easiest 8 bullets ricocheting intentionally off of household items to shoot a dude in the head out of 10 that I've ever given.

Monday, March 26, 2007

FGFC: War is hell. Is that supposed to be what this is?

You know, I really love doing these Final Girl Film Club reviews. Do you know why? It means I end up watching something I wouldn't normally go out of my way to see. Usually, something I've never even heard of, like Deathwatch. Which just happens to be this month's movie.

It's World War I, the oft ignored older brother of World War II, that serves as the backdrop. A group of English soldiers comes under attack by German troops. In the aftermath of the battle, they find themselves wandering through the fog, where they stumble upon a German trench. The trench is manned by a couple of Germans who seem much more frightened of what's in the trench than the English soldiers.

They capture the trench to find that there are more dead people here than your average cemetery. As they get to the work of making the trench smaller and easier to defend, one of the soldiers is attacked by a mud man. The mud man then gets killed by Andy Serkis, who seems to really enjoy it. Serkis really is not a nice guy.

The attack prompts the soldiers to round up all the bodies and put them into one central area of the trench, which I'm sure makes for a wonderful smell. Yuck. After this, people start dying. The bullet chewing guy has to sop jerkin off to investigate a noise, and he gets killed by barbed wire scarecrows in the basement. Then, the guy who liked his hair gets shot by the captain. The scotsman gets shot by the cuckoo nutso bible guy. The wounded soldier gets mercy killed by Shakespeare after the rats eat his legs. Bible guy kills the doctor and Shakespeare kills bible guy. Anyone else was killed, with apparent glee, by Serkis. In the end, only Shakespeare and the German prisoner are still alive.

This gets us to the end. Which means, if you haven't seen it, and would not like me to ruin the ending for you, turn back now.

Last chance.

I'm going for it.

Fuck it. Things happen throughout the movie that really don't make much sense. This appears to be by design. No attempt is ever made to explain why the soldiers are turning on each other. Is it the horrors of war? Is it the gas that's making them battier than a belfry? Or, is it something more? Did they die in the opening battle and pass into limbo/purgatory? Maybe it's Shakespeare's personal hallucination. He could have been injured in the battle and is in a coma somewhere, dreaming. That could explain why you hear artillery fire without seeing the damage it causes.

Personally, I think that they died in the battle and wandered through the fog and into the trench for some form of judgment. This would make the German St Peter I suppose. Or, someone like that. The trench would be the way that the troop must atone for their sins. Everyone but Shakespeare would be judged to be unworthy, while Shakespeare passes into Heaven. And then,

Shakespeare: I saved you. I tried to help you.
German: You did, Charlie. Only you tried to save me

After Shakespeare is released to pass over, another troop stumbles onto the trench following the EXACT same sequence of events as the first. Perhaps this means that by failing the test, the rest of the troop is doomed to repeat it. Either as their Hell, or perhaps just until they get it right.

Despite the confusion it left me with (or perhaps because of it) I think I liked this movie. There were a lot of parts that left me with a distinct "what the fuck" kind of feeling (and not the good one). The more I think about it though, the more I like it. While I don't think it was perfect by any stretch, and I'm not sure I would ever tell someone "oh my god, you have to see this" it was definitely worth watching. 7 dead bodies with your boot in their stomach out of 10.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some lessons can't be taught. They must be lived to be understood.

I'm in a hotel room in Mt Pleasant, MI. It's a classy hotel, not one of those hotels with the hourly rates. You know, for the power naps. That's what they're for, right? I mean, I know in Japan they have hotels like that for the businessmen. And they're really classy joints. I figure hours are just more run down because we had the idea so long ago.

Back in the day, before I was in the hotel, I watched a movie. This movie was something of a sequel. Or a spin off. Or yet another comic book movie. That movie was Elektra.

Elektra picks up the story of Elektra, oddly enough, after her death at the hands of Bullseye in Daredevil. Elektra is alive again, but not a zombie. She was brought back by a mystic blind man played by Chancellor Velorum. She has not, however, come back as the champion of justice that her friend Matt Murdock is. No, she's an assassin. Someone who kills other people for money. Lots and lots of money. And she's good at it. Really good. Like creepy good.

But, this is more of a hooker with a heart of gold story...except Elektra isn't a hooker. She's a well trained killer. And when she's sent to kill a guy and his daughter, she heps protect them instead.

See, the kid is some sort of...I don't know. She's special. Not short bus special. Not special the way your mom lies to you and tells you you're special. No, she's special as in the child fighting prodigy kind of way. She's "the treasure." Which is nothing like "the prize." No immortals are fighting over her while decapitating each other. No, these are ninjas. And demons apparently. Demon ninjas...the worst kind.

You know, the realtor didn't say anything about red leather clad ninja when I bought the house.

Elektra has to then fight the weirdos who are trying to kill the kid. And that's the movie. I'm really kind of hoping they make a sequel to this. And a sequel to Daredevil. They could team up again...and call it Daredevil 2: Elektra Boogaloo.

Elektra, especially compared to to Daredevil, is a pretty good movie. It was much more serious than Daredevil, which worked. The story was slightly incoherent, it was in desperate need of a bit more exposition. A little more backstory. It always just felt like you should KNOW who these people are and what their purpose is.

The action was good. There was some pretty sweet fights. And Jennifer Garner certainly looked good. The bad ninja demons, again, could have been explained a bit better. I'm not saying that they all needed their own spinoffs and backstories, but maybe give them a slight origin or something, rather than just put them in and say "here they are." Maybe, too, a bit more on what "the treasure" is, and what it means to be it.

It was a good movie though. Definitely worth a watch. 7 warrior beads from Indonesia that centuries ago, you had to be the best fighter in your village to earn but YOU bought on eBay out of 10.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here, by Spartan law, we lie

I actually went to the theater to see a movie! I know, I say that every time I do this, don't I? It's getting repetitive, isn't it? Shit. Well, I don't know how else to start this off. I guess I'm sort of a one trick pony in that regard. You know what? Fuck it. I just won't say anything.


Not one word.



Okay! You win! I'll tell you about it. I went to see Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300. It's the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, when 300 Spartan soldiers faced off against the might of King Xerxes's Persian army. An army that numbered close to one million.

The story itself is told from the perspective of a Spartan soldier, his name was not Faramir, it was just the same actor. His Spartan name was Dilios which sounds like a white guy trying to speak in some sort of misappropriated urban slang. Dilios was at the battle. He saw everything first hand. And it is through his remaining eye that everything is explained.

Spartans are trained for battle from birth. It's what they do. They are not blacksmiths. They are not farmers. They do not sell slurpees at the 7-11. They fight. Everything in their culture is about the glory of battle. They are led by King Leonidas. It was Leonidas who toldthe emissary of Xerces that the Spartans would not sumbit to the Persians. It was Leonidas who killed the emissary instead of letting him inform Xerxes.

Leonidas was bound by law to visit an Oracle to seek favor in battle, and when it was not given, it was Leonidas who decided to take 300 men and fight the Persians anyways, in violation of Spartan law. He claims that the 300 men are his personal bodyguards and he's just going out for a walk. And boy do the politicians look stupid when they realize what's really going on...and that's when Balki shows up with a plan...wait, no. That was a rerun of Perfect Strangers. Sorry about that. I got confused. Man, wasn't that show hilarious though! Don't be ridiculous! Ha! Classic, man. Classic.

The Spartans head for the Hot Gates. A narrow pass where numbers won't matter. A place where 300 men could stand up to an army a million soldiers strong. They set up camp and soon begin it's defense.

They fight. It's a brutal and violent battle, even by brutal and violent battle standards. It makes Braveheart look like a Merchant Ivory movie. Actually, that should have been the tagline for the movie. Can you see that on the posters?

Hey! Where are you guys going?

The Spartans manage to defeat the first wave of fighting, and then the second. It's at this point that Xerxes meets with Leonidas to salute his valor and offer him various rewards for his surrender. Xerxes offers him rule of all of Greece, power, money, a brand new convertible and whatever is behind door number 3, all he has to do is kneel.

Dammit! This is SO going in my livejournal!

I think it goes without saying that Leonidas won't kneel. As a result, Xerxes sends in his special forces, The Immortals. The Spartans want to know if it's true, or just a clever nickname. Well, thanks to the gates...The Immortals don't fare any better.

Look at me! I'm tough! Grr!

The battles continue until the inevitable final showdown between the Spartans and Xerxes. One last battle with the odds completely against the Spartans. Surround by the Persian armies on all sides and no help coming.

300 is, from a technical standpoint, a pretty amazing thing. Shot almost entirely on blue screen, it feels like a comic book jumping off of the page. Snyder makes great use of varying the speed of motion during the battles to really complete the effect. Everything comes to a standstill on screen just for a split second to frame it in your mind.

Admittedly, 300 is not 100% historically accurate. It's a movie. It's not supposed to be 100% historically accurate. It's supposed to be more entertaining than real history. It's Frank Miller's version of history. More than that, it's Dilios' version. The story is told from his perspective. He's retelling it. He's trying to embolden the allied Greek troops before the Battle or Plataea.

The only thing I'm left wondering is shuld I buy this when the DVD comes out? I mean, I know I'd like to check out an making of type stuff, and commentaries of course, but is it something that I'll really want to watch again. I mean, we just finished a week of my favorite movies. Does this compare? Not really. It was enjoyable and pretty engrossing, but it's kind of like, okay, I've seen it, now what? 7 and a half canopies of arrows raining down on you out of 10.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: the end of the road

I wonder if exfiltrate is really a word...

That was fun. Wasn't that fun?

Those are just SOME of my favorite movies. I think I'll add to the list from time to time. You know, when I'm feeling lazy. Like today. Lazy. See, I was going to do a 7 day week and do 2 more movies, but I go to thinking...I really don't feel like it. I mean, it's already after 7 today, and I have to travel tomorrow. So, the week is over. 5 days is a week, right? It's a work week.

Here are links to the flicks we looked at, and trust me, this is a subject that we'll come back to in the future, I'm sure.

The Fifth Element
Johnny Mnemonic
Shaun of the Dead
Starship Troopers
High Fidelity

And now, I need to get back to Ratchet & Clank.

Friday, March 16, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 5: High Fidelity

What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
And thus begins one of my desert island, all-time, top-five favorite (not to mention most quotable) movies, High Fidelity. It's the story of a record store owner in Chicago who does all the wrong things.

No. Not all the wrong things. He does the right things, just for the wrong reasons. No. That's not it either.

Lets start over. Rob Gordon owns a record store. He has an apartment he can't possibly afford and, up until VERY recently, had a girlfriend. That would be Laura. Laura and Rob have broken up. She's moving out and he's listening to records, mulling the philosophical implications of pop music.

You see, Rob is in a rut. Much like Shaun the other day, Rob has to do something about his life. He feels he's doomed to repeat the same mistakes that he's made since his first "girlfriend" when he was 14. He thinks that there's some big thing he's been doing wrong all this time. So, he goes on a mission to find out what he's been doing wrong. He wants to kind of rehash the past and try to figure out what happened.

I should have gone to the bathroom BEFORE burying myself in records!

Rob has two employees at his record store, Dick and Barry. Dick is sort of...well, Dick. Soft spoken. Quiet. He looks and acts like the type of guy who enjoys the sad bastard music he listens to. Barry on the other hand is very over the top. Spunky, one might even say. Or, like a rambunctious chihuahua.

So, what do you think of the new Corey Hart record?

Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've read books like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Love in the Time of Cholera", and I think I've understood them. They're about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography "Cash" by Johnny Cash.

Rob takes on the mission of looking up his top 5 ex-girlfriends to try to figure out what went wrong while also having a one night stand with a local musician and starting his own record label.

Weren't you on the Cosby Show?

In the process, Rob does some of that growing up thing that people seem to like so much. And, in that growing up, he sees how he really feels about Laura. His problem is that it's not new. There's something about a new relationship when you're still figuring each other out, and that's gone. And he's not sure how to handle that. If he stays with Laura, he'll never feel that particular feeling again. And that frightens him.

I can see now I never really committed to Laura. I always had one foot out the door, and that prevented me from doing a lot of things, like thinking about my future and... I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.

This picture just goes to show how much better Cusack's hair is in comparison to the rest of humanity....and why I'm so jealous of the bastard.

There's so much I love about High Fidelity. To start with, it's the first movie I saw Jack Black in and knew I was seeing Jack Black. He's great in a supporting role like this. I don't think that he's much of a lead, but man can he be hilarious in small doses. I love that Dick is so meek throughout the movie, but is probably the most well adjusted of the three. I love that I relate so well to Rob and can really see a lot of similarities between he and myself. I should also at this point add that I hate that I relate so well to Rob and can really see a lot of similarities between he and myself. Think about it, Rob is really not that great of a guy. He's a bit vain and is a bit of a self absorbed jerk. Don't get me wrong, he does kind of redeem himself, but not really. I mean, he asks Laura to marry him based solely on the fact that he's sick of...well, here:

Rob: I'm tired of the fantasy, because it doesn't really exist. And there are never really any surprises, and it never really...
Laura: Delivers?
Rob: Delivers. And I'm tired of it. And I'm tired of everything else for that matter. But I don't ever seem to get tired of you, so...
It's probably the most romantic way anyone ever came out and said "I'm settling for you." And that's just it, Rob makes such horrible choices and decisions, but still manages to come off as charming.

And among everything else, I love Laura's little chuckle at Rob's question of he sanity about the cd release party. Just that smile and chuckle.

This is going to make twice this week that I've done what about to do. Not surprisingly they're both movies who appear to be about one thing (zombies and music respectively) and turn out to be about something entirely different, High Fidelity gets what it deserves, 10 mix tapes full of stuff she'd like, full of stuff that'd make her happy, because, for the first time, you can sorta see how that's done out of 10.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 4: Starship Troopers

If ever there was a movie that could be called "my kind of movie" Starship Troopers would fall into that category.

Think about it. It's in outer space. There a giant fuck off monster bugs. It has Johnny Mnemonic's Dina Meyer. Shit gets blown up. And Neil Patrick Harris controls ferrets...with his mind!

Come on you apes. You want to live forever?

It's the story of Johnnie, or Rico as we'll call him. Rico is that good looking athlete from high school who had the All-American smile but was quite possibly dumb as a brick. A retarded brick. Sorry. That wasn't very PC of me. An autistic brick. Whatever.

Rico decides to join the Army along with his lady friend Carmen and chess club champion Carl. Carl gets assigned to Military Intelligence. Carmen is off to become a pilot. Rico is off, however, to catch the short bus to Mobile Infantry.

Would you like to know more?

Rico starts basic with the typical tough as nails drill sergeant. Along for the ride is Flores, who had a huge crush on Rico in high school. There's also your cocky recruit named Ace. Ace is that guy who's not so much sure of himself as he is full of himself.

Meanwhile Carmen is serving under Captain Janeway while learning how to pilot a spaceship. Word on the street is that she's a little "wild on the stick" but that's a much different movie.

Back in basic, Rico is showing everyone what he's got, even making squad command, right up until he gets a guy killed. In return he gets "administrative punishment". In other words the go all sorts of Kunta Kinte on him (though in a reversal of that famous scene, the guy whipping Rico is black). Rico decides that maybe this Army shit ain't for him. When his home is destroyed by an asteroid though, he changes his mind.

Would you like to know more?

Earth and Klendathu are at war now. Rico's platoon is about to be deployed, and he's now on the same ship as Carmen. They're kind of broken up at this point. And, she's kinda with another guy. And Rico and the new guy don't exactly like each other. But does the old guy EVER like the new guy? No.

The troops begin to be deployed at Klendathu while the bugs launch their blue doodies into space to destroy the invading forces. It's an all out assault on the planet. It takes a lot of bullets to kill these things. Apparently, in the future, there is now Raid. There's no bug bombs. None of those little glue traps. You kill bugs with your foot, or advanced military grade weaponry. Those are your options so you better be damn agile if there's a spider on your ceiling.

The first wave of fighting goes pretty poorly for our infantry pals. Lots of casualties, and I'm not just talking about their pride. People get fucked up and killed. Even Rico gets punctured in the attack. Luckily, back on the ship, they're able to put him into a jar of jelly to heal.

Did you see the size of that chicken?

It's off to a new platoon and a new battle. Rico makes corporal until he dies, or the Lieutenant finds someone better. When the Sargent dies, Rico gets promoted again. The next battle results in the death of Diz and the Lieutenant. And another promotion for Rico. They're Rico's Roughnecks now.

The whole movie plays like a propaganda film. It's sort of like Saving Private Ryan meets Saved By The Bell meets Star Wars. If the army made a movie this good about Iraq, even my pacifist ass would consider it. I remember seeing this in the theater and being all excited when I left. It was so much fun. And really, there's two ways to go on it. There's director Paul Verhoeven's stated theme of "War makes fascists of us all," which there may be some truth to. I mean, people get so anti-"enemy" in war time that it can be rather scary. One could also watch this and see something very pro-military. Something that is very gung-ho and just an average action movie.

My take is that it's satire. It's a send up of war movies. It's so blatantly propaganda. That's what makes it fun. That and the bugs are a lot like zombies. I mean they're almost unstoppable. And there's so many of them. They swarm.

What's great, too, is think back to 97, think of the movies that were coming out. CGI was good, but not exactly great. The effects in Starship Troopers still look good. It's one of those flicks like Jurassic Park or Star Wars where the effects will always look great.

Starship Troopers gets 9 citizens with the courage to make the safety of the human race their personal responsibility out of 10.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: intermission

Today's movie was just too good of a reason to post this. I saw this trailer when I went to see 300 on Monday (since I'm in the middle of something more important, you'll just have to wait until next week for that).

I wonder if it's a copyright issue for me to post this? Hmm. I guess we'll find out if I get a cease and desist.

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 3: Shaun of the Dead

It was at some point in the summer of 2004 when I first started hearing about Shaun of the Dead. I don't exactly recall when I first heard about it, but I remember the anticipation as it neared it's release. I remember hearing more and more about how great it was, and seeing previews that just looked amazing. And I remember talking about it with other movie nerds.

It wasn't until it came out on DVD though that I finally saw it. My love for the movie was immediate and all encompassing. This was everything I could have wanted from a movie. Blood, guts, zombies, comedy, Philip. These were the kind of jokes that I made. The characters made choices I would make. I didn't have to try to understand the movie, I'd practically been living it in Detroit without the zombies. I didn't have to "get it," it got me.

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles

Look at your life. You do the same things day after day. It's easier to go to the same place that you know you like than to try something new and take a chance. You're in a rut. Get up, go to work, eat dinner, go to bed, was, rinse, repeat.

Shaun and Liz are on a date of sorts. They're out. At the bar. Again. The same bar they always go to. Liz would like to do something different, but Shaun likes the comfort and familiarity. Shaun tells Liz that they'll go someplace nice tomorrow, and when he fucks that up, she breaks up with him.

Shaun resolves to get his shit together and get Liz back, but there's something that might get in the way of his plans, a metric shit ton of zombies. Shaun has to save his mom, his friends and his favorite bar from the threat of death.

I'm not going to do the play by play on this one, sorry. Let's skip to the best part, what I liked.

There was an accident, then, everybody died. Trouble was... they didn't stay dead.

Director Edgar Wright does a great job of foreshadowing through out the movie. People who you right off as extras and don't pay attention to come back as zombies. The two trips Shaun makes to the store are shot nearly identically with the exception of the destruction the second time and Shaun is completely oblivious to it all.

The characters are all stereotypical enough to be familiar while at the same time unique enough to be believable. I love how the movie sort of toys with your normal zombie cliches. I love how for all of the jokes and humor in the movie that there is never a moment where the zombies are not treated dead seriously. It would be so easy to make the zombies act stupid and funny, but the zombies behave like zombies should. Shaun spends the movie trying to be the hero but is constantly coming up just short. He doesn't save the day. He doesn't manage to save all of his friends. He doesn't save his mom. He essentially fails at everything except winning Liz back, but it's so easy to relate to him because he tried. If he had succeeded at everything you'd think "That's so great! He won!" but instead, you don't give it a second thought. It turned out the way it turned out. Sure he got his girl back, but look at what it cost.

That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit

Ultimately, Shaun wants to change his life. But he doesn't! Everything just stays the same, except he's got a story to tell. There's a certain tragedy and realism to that that I just love.

I don't do this often, but as far as I'm concerned, Shaun of the Dead deserves and gets 10 slices of fried gold out of 10.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 2: Johnny Mnemonic

Here's where I let it all hang out. Here's where I admit to loving a movie that is absolutely awful. But, dammit, I can't help it, I love Johnny Mnemonic.

Just look at the cast, Starship Trooper's Dina Meyer, The Chase's Henry Rollins, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo's Ice-T, and Much Ado About Nothing's Keanu Reeves. An all star cast if ever there was one!

Need more proof of how great this movie is? Try this...Dolph Lundgren as a preacher/assassin. Yeah.

Not enough? Ok, look at this:

Do you know what that is? It's a drug addicted, navy trained dolphin. Named Jones. It's THAT kind of a movie.

Remember when we all thought that this was what the internet would look like? Me either.

Johnny is a courier. He transports data, in a brain implant. His capacity is 80 gigs (160 with a doubler). I think there are iPods with that kind of storage space now! You have to forgive that though, I mean, in 95, 80 gigs would have seemed as massive as 80 terrabytes would now.

That's some high tech shit right there.

It was still a pretty bad movie in 95, though. What can you do? Bad is timeless. There is no rational reason for my love of this movie. I'm not even sure that there is an irrational explanation! Something about it though, 20 years from now I won't be able to put my finger on it.

The story itself is pretty laughable, but the acting is even worse! When Johnny gets pissed off, and goes into a tirade,

"Listen. You listen to me. You see that city over there? THAT'S where I'm supposed to be. Not down here with the dogs, and the garbage, and the fucking last month's newspapers blowing *back* and *forth*. I've had it with them, I've had it with you, I've had it with ALL THIS - I want ROOM SERVICE! I want the club sandwich, I want the cold Mexican beer, I want a $10,000-a-night hooker! I want my shirts laundered... like they do... at the Imperial Hotel... in Tokyo."
You don't sympathize with him. You sit and laugh and say "what the shit cock was that?" Ice-T was possibly the best actor in the movie! Rollins was ridiculous as a doctor. Not because he couldn't play a doctor, just because the character was a joke.

Like I said though, I love it. And not just because of the soundtrack (which is pretty good).
It's crazy to look at in a way, I mean, in the mid 90's there were a lot of movies like this. We just had no idea what life with computers really was going to be like. The internet was so new. Now, I still don't think we know what life with computers will be like in the future, but I think we've realized that it won't be too different.

I'm going to give it 7 doubles of myself so that I can hack my own brain out of 10, even though honestly I know it only deserves 4 muscles relaxers injected into my spine to relieve the symptoms of my Nerve Attenuation Syndrome out of 10. Though, had I been doing this back in 97, I would have given it 8 and a half street preachers run over with my van on the way to the hospital out of 10.

Monday, March 12, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 1: The Fifth Element

I breifly considered holding off on The Fifth Element until Day 5, just because I thought it would be kind of clever in a completely obvious sort of way.

But no! We are kicking the week off with it! I'll just do something else for day 5.

I remember seeing commercials for this when it hit the theater in 97 and thinking that it looked so fucking cool. I desperately wanted to see it, but for some reason didn't. I was pretty anti-social back then and it's a good possibility that I just wasn't up for dealing with people. Or maybe I just had to work. I can't remember now. Regardless, it was on VHS by the time I saw it. For free no less because I was working in a video store by then. In fact, it was probably the movie I rented the most until I broke down and bought it.

The Fifth Element, also, for you dreamrot trivia buffs, was one of the very first DVDs I bought along with Run Lola Run.

The movie starts on Earth, early in 20th Century Egypt. An archaeologist and his assistant, Dylan, discover hieroglyphics describing a fifth element, a supreme being meant to destroy evil. The celebration of the discovery is cut short, however, by the arrival of a race of robotic turtles. War is coming, and they've come to retrieve the elements from the temple. They promise, though, to return in 300 years to combat the evil.

It then skips 300 years of human history and shows the president. A large man with a wonky eye. Somehow, he managed to get elected. Crazy. I mean, this guy looks like he should have been a pro wrestler, not a government official! We also meet Vito Cornelius, a priest played by Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo explains that they are fighting pure evil. It doesn't want money, or power, it only wants to destroy life. Pretty sweet, huh?

Cornelius explains that the robotic turtles have the weapon to destroy the evil and must be allowed to come to Earth. The President says no problemo and the robot turtles enter our space. They're almost immediately attacked and destroyed by a race of alien pitbulls who want to retrieve a case for Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg, an arms dealer and all around nice guy. Everyone soon discovers that the robot turtles did not have anything in the case. They didn't trust anyone and had someone else carry the stones.

What the robot turtles did leave in the wreckage of their ship was a fist. A fist with enough DNA to replicate the being it belonged to. This being is, by all modern tests and standards, perfect. Perfect or not, she doesn't want to be with the government and jumps off of a building into the cab of one retired military dude named Korben Dallas. Dallas decides to help her escape and off they go.

The girl turns out to be Leeloo Minai Lekatariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat, or Leeloo for short. Leeloo likes computers, chicken and clothes. Leeloo does not like being kissed by strangers.

There's really only once character left, Ruby Rhod. Ruby is a DJ or something. I don't know. He has a radio show and is an interplanetary celebrity as a result. He has really weird hair and a god awful voice provided by Chris Tucker. For some reason, he is something of a sex symbol in the future. This is a sad turn of events that I must implore all of you to try to prevent. It's not to late. Only you can prevent forest fires AND save the future!

They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.

That's neither here nor there though, everyone is now on a mission from God. And Leeloo learned English! Which means the rest of her dialog for the movie goes to shit, but hey, sacrifices have to be made sometimes!

I am an opera singer I sing in foreign lands

The stones are being held by the Diva, played by the other chick from Haute Tension. Before the stones can be delivered, or the opera completed, the hotel comes under attack from the alien dogs. There's only one person who can save the day, Korben Dallas. And the day he does save. Crisis averted and stones retrieved, it's time to haul ass back to Egypt and let Leeloo do her thing. But she doesn't want to. Why bother, people are just going to fuck the damn place up themselves. Leeloo changes her mind when Korben tells her he loves her, and she creams at the ball of evil, stopping it in it's tracks. And they all live happily ever after.

The Fifth Element did not get good reviews when it was released. I remember a lot of people disliking it (like that jerk Mr T). I remember kids in school talking about how it bombed even though it spent two weeks at #1. All I know is that once I saw it I was hooked. I love the humor. I love how the hero (Dallas) and the villain (Zorg) never even meet each other. I love how fluently Milla speaks an entirely made up language. I love how annoying Ruby is. It's just such a fun movie I can't understand how anyone could watch it and not enjoy themselves!

The Fifth Element is an easy 9 points removed from your license after you make a mad dash from the cops into the fog because a chick with orange hair just crashed through the roof out of 10.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week

I'm going to be honest with you. I started watching movies quite some time before I started blogging. YEARS before I started blogging. Before there was an interweb. Before I could drive. Before I could write. Back before I even knew what good and bad movies were (growing up I loved Jim Belushi in K-9, what was wrong with me?).

I thought to myself a few weeks ago, in the midst of FILMuary, "Self, you know what would be fun?"

"No, me, what would be fun?"

"Watching new stuff is great and all, self..."

"It sure is!" I'm in the habit of interrupting myself.

"Like I was saying, it's great, but do you know what might be fun too?"

"Making popsicles?"

"Well, of course. But I'm thinking maybe more movie related. Self, what if we take a week and look at some of our favorite movies!"

"Oh my god, me, that's fucking amazing!"

"I know. So, we'll spend a week doing it and then, down the road, when we're bored or just lazy we can ADD TO THE LIST!"

"Can we call it 'dreamrot's favorite movies week'? Can we? Can we? PLEEEEEAAAAASE?"

"Yeah, do whatever the fuck you want."

And thus an idea was born.

Hang out with me this week and we'll check out some of my favorite movies to watch when I don't want to watch something new! You can join in too! Tell me what you think of my favorites. Do you love them too? Do you hate them? It's okay if you do. I won't hold it against you I promise.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Giant Monster Theater!

In lieu of a review of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorrah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack, I've decided to go for something different. Basically, I'm going to expand on my Gamera 2 post...

Here we go: 7 Dollar Popcorn Presents: Giant Monster Theater!

You know what guys? I'm sick of always being the bad guy. Fuck that shit!

Tough titties, Ghidorah! You think I'm going to be the bad guy?

Sure! It's been a while. Be the bad guy!

Fine! I'll get rid of my pupils and be the bad guy.

Why do you want to get rid of your pupils?

Because that way I look like a zombie! It's creepier!

Yeah it is. You look so weird!

Ok then. If I'm the bad guy, what does that make your three?

We're the good guys. We'll be like Guardian Spirits or some shit.

You can't be a good guy! You don't know how!

Oh come on, how hard can it be? Mothra can show me how!

Yeah, that's no biggie. Baragon will help out too.

Just do what I do!

Wait! I'm not ready!

Oh, you fuck shit!

I can do that!


I hate you guys. remind me why I stay friends with you.

We have the hook up for hookers and blow.

Shit! That's right.

Besides, we have history!

History? we have a history of you guys attacking me when you get all hopped up on PCP! That's what we have you fucktards!

You know, you really need to learn how to relax.

Yeah, take a vacation, go on a cruise or something. Those ships have EVERYTHING!

You know what, fuck you guys. I'm going to go home and go back to being the good guy. You three suck.


Oh man! Those wacky monsters!

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorrah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack really wasn't very impressive. Very different from the modern Godzilla movies. Very middle of the road. 6 oxygen destroyers out of 10.