KaneKong at the Movies

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Layer Cake (2004)

Title: 'Layer Cake' (2004)
Genre: Brit Grit
Rating: 8.75/10

"Somebody's about to get a *fucking slap*"

Dude, hot. So friggin' hot.

Same producer who gave us 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' (2000) and 'Snatch' (2002). Both of those are awesome, but this is the cream of the cream.

Two minutes into this movie I stopped it with the intention of saving it for a bonofide movie night with friends. But it was so g'damn awesome I treated myself and then enjoyed it all the more a couple of days later, the second time through.

First off, the opening song 'Hayling', by FC Kahuna, is one of my all time favorite tracks. It's also one of the greatest music videos ever produced. There are two music videos for that same song. The one in wider circulation is pretty decent, but the balls out, mind fuck video can be found as an extra on the 'Confidence' DVD. A crap sandwich of a movie, but one that I purchased just to get a hold of the 'Hayling' video. Anyway, point being, the moment this film opened, my brain performed a core dump of all existing seratonin and I was rolling like an E-tard.

The lead in this movie, Daniel Craig, needs to be in everything. Someone told me he may be the next Bond. Not what I've heard, but a big gold star to the suits if they get that one right. A consummate bad ass who'd best not be wasted fencing Madonna or lusting after Halle Berry. Take notes, you 00-idiots.

"You know why people like you can't leave this business? Because they make too much money for people like me."

The dialogue in this movie is crackin' like a twiglet.

This is Matthew vaughn's first directorial effort and he is the new Danny Boyle. Insane. You get the feeling that every shot in this movie has been talked out over an evening of England's best pints and some inspired moments of creative genius. Legend. There's nothing better than an autuer with a script that could jump start a fucking aircraft carrier. Everybody involved is on point like a plate of auderves.

The river ran through the casting department like a fucking whip. The dude from Star Trek finally gets to show that he's so much more than the tool in charge of flipping the energize switch. And the rest of the cast look like people they pulled out of a soup line who turn out to have dirty mutant acting chops that eviscerate your face and use it to mop up the spillage on the wet bar.

Other notes:

Corrugated metal is the new chrome.

'Behind with the rent' is the new euphemism for a boy who likes boys.

Main characters without names work in ways one would never expect (see 'Kill Bill')

Proper use of color equals class, class and class.

Judgment: own it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hollywood Homicide (2003)

Title: 'Hollywood Homicide' (2003)
Genre: Genocide
Rating: 3/10

Anatomy of a bullshit DVD case:

Grey = Actual Copy on case
Color = Bullshit level (see below)

Orange = Not true. Would crumble before any investigational committee

Brown = Odorous. A lie so wrong it makes medicine sick.

Red = Heretic level bullshit. A total fucking misnomer and a threat to decency.

"Two Thumbs Up!" -Ebert and Roeper
I'm usually with these guys. They make a pretty decent living at this right? Apparently, not quite enough. There is no other explanation for this one. Ebert gave this pile of muck three stars!. Sorry Timmy, there's no such thing as an honest critic. Siskel is dead.

"Hollywood Homicide will keep you on the edge of your seat with its adrenaline pumped action!" -Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine
Keep your eye out for 'Earl Dittman'. He's what's known as a 'whore'. And 'Wireless Magazine'? It doesn't exist. I dare you to find me proof of a single issue. Here are a few of Earl Dittman's other judgments:

"Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal are outrageously hilarious! Their performances are what comedic legends are made of." - Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazines, on Analyze That

"Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley make an irresistible screen team in this sexy, zany and over the top road movie that breaks all the rules!", Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazines, on Serving Sara

or how about,

"White Oleander has Oscar written all over it." - Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine

"K-19: The Widowmaker is a cinematic triumph that has Academy Awards written all over it." - Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazines

You get the idea.

From Oscar Nominee Ron Shelton (Best Writing, Best Screenplay, 'Bull Durham') Not nominated: 'Bad Boys II', 'Play it to the Bone', 'Tin Cup'. How in the holy hell is this guy in charge of anything? this hot action comedy is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat... And in stitches Apparently this is their way of describing the feeling that fills a room when some dork rents this movie and nobody has the balls to stop it. Everyone sits in uncomfortable, oppressive silence ('edge of your seat') until somebody snaps and donkey punches the host ('stitches'). Starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett, Hollywood Homicide redefines the buddy-cop genre Bullshit! This even contradicts the Director's Commentary on the DVD. I listened to a little, sick, I know, but I couldn't believe that anyone would openly accept responsibility for any of this. I was half right. Ron Sheltons first words are 'So, I intended this to be a big summer buddy cop picture'. Balls! In Hollywood no one is sure what they really want to be What? Unlike where? Cleveland?. Veteran police detective Joe Gavellan (Ford) and his rookie partner, K.C. Holden (Hartnett) are no exception. Between Joe's struggling real estate business and K.C.'s fledgling acting career and Yoga instruction, they've got a major murder case to solve. With both Internal Affairs and their main suspect on their tails, Joe and K.C. have to infiltrate the dangerous world of the hip-hop recording industry I am not amused, hear me groan. Juggling two careers proves to be a comical adventure Bullshit! Steaming, runny bullshit. This 'adventure' is as comical as 'Trial at Nurenberg', with Joe and K.C. hoping to stay alive long enough to catch their breath These actors have enough trouble conveying 'sentient', let alone any feeling of hope.

This movie is a fucking gall stone, man. I sat through it so I could give it a balanced review, but holy fuck, what a god damn bear.

There's nothing of redemption in this thing at all. It's just colossally depressing. You feel terrible for everyone involved. Especially the actors, who always place their trust in the director to make them look good. Ford comes across as a curmudgeoney buffoon and Hartnett as an inept neophyte. Puke.

Seriously. Judgement: Blarghhhh.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Actor's Spotlight: The DeNiro of the Future?

One of my co-workers saw 'Ronin' (1998) for the first time the other night. He rightfully pointed out that Robert DeNiro carries that movie like Three's Company carries a double entendre.

DeNiro is one of a highly endangered hollywood species. The man has been running as solid as a armored car since the early seventies. Not by maintaining visability through the covers of supermarket tabloids, but by his acting and presence alone.

He belongs to the holy trifecta, completed by Pacino and Hoffman.

Which begs this question: Do you see anybody today who you expect will be around twenty years from now? Someone making a movie like 'Ronin', that would otherwise be a throwaway action pic, but instead becomes a classy thriller. My co-worker puts the average shelf-life of today's actor at ~5 years. DeNiro has been around for 30.

Drop any names you care about in the comment box below. I'll Repost this subject when I'm satisfied. Let's look forward to the future, people. Is Keanu the best we can do? Surely not.

Let's have your predictions.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Title: 'Once Upon a Time in America' (1984)
Genre: Sergio Leone Epic... Of the gangster variety
Rating: 8.5/10

I didn't think their were many of these left. I'm talking about pleasant surprises. Especially of this scale. Any one of these elements would make this worth a watch, and when factored together make me feel like I've been living under a rock to have missed this. What did Wonka say? 'And so shines a good deed in a weary world'. Fucking A, right:

Robert DeNiro. Remember back before DeNiro killed his solid-gold agent? Before he was making shite and shallow comedy attempts with Billy Crystal or Ben Stiller? Before he was a parody of his former self? Before he shared screentime with Bullwinkle?
The DeNiro I like to remember was a fucking shattered Taxi Driver/Boxer/Veteran or a badass gangster... And the gangster list is unparalleled, from Corleone to Capone to Conway to McCauley to Rothstein... And now, 'Noodles', 'I like the stink of the streets. It cleans out my lungs. And it gives me a hard-on'.

James Woods. I figured this guy had fallen off the map when I saw him in John Carpenter's 'Vampires' (1998). But I don't reckon I ever saw him when he was on the map. Until this movie. What a frickin all-star. This is why he still gets more work than a San Pablo hoochie. I loved him in 'Casino' (1995). He was awesomely pathetic and played like magic off'a DeNiro just as he does in this film. Somebody should sew these guys together, there's not much else like it . They're the Matthau and Lemmon of Gangster pics. I can't overstate this enough. You gotta see these two on screen together, your pulse will change.

Jennifer Connelly. Do they make femme fatales that young? Holy. Fourteen years old. This was her big break. The kind of performance that shuffles the rolodex in your brain. She grows up to be Elizabeth McGovern. Frickin' of course she grows up to be Elizabeth McGovern. The casting in this movie is bat-shit insane. It's like they knew about some hidden genealogy information that only the Scientologists reveal to level 5 Thetan Counselors.

And finally, Sergio Leone:

This is a 4 hour movie. So plan accordingly. I had intended to break it up over two nights, but I caved and crammed it into one. There was no way I could have waited. If I can have Christmas now, I'll have it now. Damn it.

This movie is on par with 'The Godfather' (1972) and 'Goodfellas' (1990). For reals.

Judgement: Fucking own it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Eraserhead (1977)

Title: 'Eraserhead' (1977)
Genre: Your mind a'splode
Rating: 7.75/10

Holy thingy. What just happened?

This movie isn't for everyone, but it's for the people I like to call friends. David Lynch fills a gap in contemporary cinema that keeps my wheels rolling.

It's best to just watch this thing and turn it over and over in your head. Don't try to find any kind of an outside explanation, especially from Lynch. The DVD copy I watched had one special feature called 'Stories' that consisted almost entirely of a 90 minute one shot of Lynch, with the occasional cut to a telephone handset as he chatted with an old crew member. He's a cheeky devil. I was with a couple of friends and we only lasted 45 minutes. I'm of the opinion that he was just fucking around with anybody who expected to gain any insight from his squirrel-haired noggin'. Bless him.

As soon as the movie was finished I was hopping around online trying to find out how he made the thing in the movie. To this day, he's never commented in a public forum how it was done.

I heart him.

I don't know if we have hardly anybody who takes chances like this anymore. Maybe Todd Solondz, whose credits include 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' (1995), 'Happiness' (1998) and 'Storytelling' (2001). It's not from lack of directors, but lack of investors. What a fucking pity. Is this it? I wonder if we only get one set of 'Beatles' and 'Kubricks' per life time? Man, I could totally murder a paxil right now.

Judgement: Rent it if'n you're into the mental experimental

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ali (2001)

Title: 'Ali' (2001)
Genre: Classy Biopic
Rating: 8/10

I saw Lance Armstrong on David Letterman a couple of weeks ago. Letterman was going on about how most people don't realize just how grueling the Tour de France is. That it may be the single most demanding sport event. That Lance Armstrong exhibited an unprecedented level of endurance and strength.

Bull Shit.

The most hard core ever? Let's think... That insane Borg and McEnroe Tie Break at Wimbledon that required oxygen tanks to be bussed in for the audience and a helicopter food drop organized by the Territiorial Army? Pele heading the ball into Mexico's net, causing the birth of String Theory? Michael Jordan vs. Portland, sinking 35 points the first half of Game 1, turning to the announcers and shrugging like 'Fuck, I don't know either'? Achilles slapping the shit out of Hector? Superman stomping Zod, Ursa and Non?


It ain't even Lance Armstrong winning his 7th straight Tour de France title, and that's 15,631 miles of screaming French people.

It's this here. God damn if they didn't manage to catch it in a photo:

This is the part where everybody: Foreman, the Ref, everybody in the god damn stadium and watching around the world, everybody except Muhammad Ali is thinking 'What the fuck just happened? What fucking day is it?'

Nothing else has come close or ever will.

You wanna compare riding a bike to spending 8 rounds as George Foreman's punching bag? That Mofo does not 'hit' people, he rearranges molecules. Your face, your digestive tract, whatever. That guys fists are like runaway Buicks. Fuck that. You're gonna lay against the ropes and take that? This is the original 'rope-a-dope'. How in the holy hell is any mortal man going to take that abuse and then explode like a fucking hornets nest in the 8th round? That shit is legend.

Fuck you, David Letterman.

This movie is a lot better than I thought it would be. But if you want the real deal, go rent 'When We Were Kings' (1996), the truth is better than fiction and the soundtrack is hotter.

This is a hell of a decent biopic though.

Judgement: Rent it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Fantastic Four (2005)

Title: 'Fantastic Four' (2005)
Genre: Unprecedented Offensiveness
Rating: 2/10


You know something, this review has been blocking the flow of things here at movie411. Given 2 reasons:

A. On top of the infinite crap geysers that coat the film itself, this offal is a crystalline example of the byproduct that results from everything that is wrong with the industry. I was afraid that once I started venting about all the incalculable bullfuckingshit I would not be able to stop. And I've got shit to do outside of this thing.

B. I couldn't remember how and why the ending went down. How did Johnny and Sue and up at Doom's place? I thought I was a retard. But then it dawned on me. There's nothing wrong with me, it's this brain trauma of a motion picture that's the problem. I'm fine. The editor was high on Nitrous.

Example? Easy. There's a ruckus on the Brooklyn Bridge involving The Thing and the obligatory firetruck. The rest of the Fantastic Four arrive in short order. How did they get there through gridlocked Manhattan? Fuck knows, this turns out to be a recurring motif throughout the film. Reed, Sue and Johnny are presented with a problem, there's a football field sized crowd between them and the action, with cops up in their grill telling everybody to get back. So, naturally, Sue starts taking off her clothes to get invisible. What? Johnny says something idiotic like 'I'm going to need therapy'. And then we cut to the trio on the other side of the crowd as Sue is putting her clothes back on. What? What the fuck just happened? Only the editor knows for sure, and I'm sure that guy is as apt at stinging together sentences as he is action sequences. So good luck getting that out of him. Let me know how it goes.

The Fantastic Four was one of the hottest properties out there. This is one of the foundations of modern comics. It was one of the the first 'super group's. Some of the greatest characters ever made their first appearance in the pages of the Fantastic Four; Spiderman, The Silver Surfer, The Inhumans, Galactus... Holy Shit. It was like Star Search. How could they screw this one up?

First off, it went through 10 years of pre-production. Everybody stuck their grubby no-talent fingers into this pie. The script got pushed through 12 different writers before somebody just said 'enough already, let's make this thing and cut our losses'. You get that fragmented feeling immediately. Who knows what the original story might have been. I find it hard to believe that the original concept was this 'origin' movie. While the Fantastic Four are an awesome group, their origin story is a little weak. Their spaceship gets hit with cosmic rays and they find themselves with fantastic powers. Lame. There's no spiderbite or murdered parents. But the Fantastic Four was never about the origin, it was about the team dynamic. Which we only get to see for about 2 minutes. What the fuck did I just pay for!?!? Also, Victor Von Doom was not on the god damn ship and he was not dating Susan Storm, you 'tards.

Hey, Awesome job reinventing a classic, you spewing postules. This is vintage Kirby and Lee! Did you read the fucking comic? For the lov'a birds. What's next? Huckleberry Finn?

When the four discover their powers in the movie, it's about as exciting *yawn* as 'Sense and Sensibility'. 'Spiderman' (2002) had a rad showcase sequence devoted to Peters discovery, enough to get the audience a hootin' and a hollerin'. In Fantastic Four, the characters almost shrug it off like it's just a bit of a good hair day. C'mon! This isn't an everyday thing. You can't write it off with a one-liner or a gag. What the fuck is going on? Is it our fault? Maybe people haven't complained enough about movies like the 'Stepford Wives' (2004). Movies that don't make a shred of sense and are about as deep as a Slip 'n Slide. To tell the truth I didn't know where to address my letter. Well here's a start. This guy is in charge of their web division, so I'm sure he can forward things to the head of production:

Mr. Jon Del Barrio
Fox Broadcasting Company
Telephone: (310) 369-1000 x11340
Fax: (310) 969-0144
Email: dmca@fox.com

I don't understand who this was made for. It certainly wasn't the fans. Who is going to be happier having watched this movie? No one. Right? Or maybe the same people that are going to enjoy 'Dukes of Hazzard'? I get the feeling that movies like this are to the South as clamshell-case videos are to babies. But this is evil, no mistake. Pure Evil.

I want to try to list a slice of the innumerable things about this movie that get on my tits. But I feel like I'm taking on this cloudy beast that's straight up 'We are called Legion, for we are many.' And it's fucking scary, man.

Here we go (Disclaimer: I am not superfan #1, a casual reader knows these things to be true):

Reed Richards is a genius pimp scientist, not a second fiddle buffoon.

Sue Storm is not a teeny bopper's dream with a nice rack, she is an intelligent, practical woman who holds the team together. She's the mediator who is a best friend to everybody in the group. She has never had any kind of romantic interest in Victor Non Doom. She is good and pure, he is the Anti-Christ.

Johnny Storm is cocky, but he does not say idiotic things like 'Dying. That's bad right?'

Ben Grimm is The Thing. There are no 2nd chances. That's what drives that character. He was dealt the hand of the monstrous beast and he has to live with that. Coming to terms with looking that way for the rest of his life. That is what makes him such a powerful icon. He is torn apart on the inside but manages to cope and save lives on the outside. He is never given the opportunity to change back into a man. What the fuck were you thinking? Did you reason that one out? You can't tell me that nobody has brought this up with you. He's not going to turn into a man and voluntarily turn back into the Thing just to save Reeds life. Who ever wrote that nugget needs the West Nile with a little Bird Flu on the side. Also, he is supposed to have a fucking insane huge unibrow. Where did it go? I don't see it. It's not over here... Is it over there? THE UNIBROW IS INDISPENSIBLE, FUCKERS.

Dr. Doom is from a country called Latveria and he has magic powers. He learned them from gypsies. Doom knows this to be true. Doom will crush you. Doom needs not the companionship of a woman. Especially Sue Fucking Storm! DOOM!
Who is this fucktard with the holodeck in the middle of Manhattan? Why the hell is he firing off heat-seeking missiles into uptown? For reals? Was anybody even trying? I'm seriously getting upset. You guys are dicks.

How the hell do the Fantastic Four get around so fast? From the opening...

Ext- somewhere near a launchpad

Richard: We are going into space.

cut to Int- Spacestation Airlock

Richard: We are in space.

... Where the hell is the rad spaceship? And as far as navigating Manhattan. Where's the Fantastic Air Car? How the hell do they make it from The Baxter Building to the Von Doom building in 90 seconds? Remember Spiderman swinging from place to place, or Hellboy cruisin' in a garbage truck? That was neat. Not in this movie. How the hell do they see Johnny on TV at a Motocross event and then get down there in time to catch him exiting the arena? Oh fuck, which brings me to...

An entire effects showcase devoted entirely to promoting Burger King and Pepsi. Are you kidding me? That shit was like Land of the Lost. Where the fuck am I? I can't see anything but billboards on all sides. I think I lost my cyanide pill. Nooooooooo. Seriously, did Johnny Storm just start cooking a Whopper Jr. over there? There may be some readers who have not seen this movie... I swear on my mother, Johnny Storm lights a Burger King billboard on fire, the burger part of the billboard.

Welcome to the apocalypse, the shit storm is in motion.

My time is up. I know this review was a little scattershot. But I couldn't open my eyes to the whole thing at once. My heart would have stopped. I had to peck at it a little at a time, feeling around with my eye's closed until I felt I had described the beast as a whole. I'm sorry, I wish I was a bigger man.

Judgement: Write your congressman, the shit is not funny anymore.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

City of God (2002)

Title: 'City of God' (Cidade de Deus - 2002)
Genre: Top 10 of all time
Rating: 9/10

Look out. That there is the highest rating to date on this here blog. That's gotta mean something, right? Now I don't want my ranting and foaming to build up your expectations super high, 'cause that's a sure fire way to take the steam out of a movie... 'Eh, it was good, but it wasn't that good'... Let's face it, if you know the flavor of this site, you know I can get a little outta hand. That said, this movie is better than dirty dirty, tooth 'n nail, I can't feel my legs, sex. So, here we go...

This movie is so raw and so fresh. This movie takes more risks and has more energy than 'Trainspotting' (1996). Which to me, up until this point has been the mark to beat. They shot this film in the slums of Brazil. Let me just say that South America is home to the most beautiful countries and gorgeous people in the world. Let me also say that there is no fucking way I am ever vacationing in South America.

Fuck that.

You will get kidnapped. Like, for certain, you will get kidnapped. Columbia, specifically, is the kidnap capital of the world, with 2986 people kidnapped in 2002... An average of 8 victims a day. Brazil is the Kidnap-For-Ransom capital of the world, as in, we're heading to the ATM machine now, or I am putting many bullets in you.

It's like being alone in Tijuana at sunset, only with less trinkets and more fear. With fear all huge and with exclamation points like so: FEAR!!!!!!!

Fun Fact!: In Brazil, there's less ASPCA and state laws to make sure that animals and kids don't get dicked with while you're filming. So if you need to chase down a chicken in a car, gas that mofo, we got more if you accidentally run it over. Need to make a kid cry? Slap that li'l mofo. Seriously, the performances they got out of the kids in this movie? There's no way that was just acting. Ever heard that story about how Spielburg got that little kid to act all surprised and bewildered in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), he had one crew member in a gorilla suit and another as a clown, pop out of a box off-camera. That's cute. In 'City of God', those kids were teased and berated for weeks to elicit their performances. Child protective services? Fuck off. 2 minutes into this movie you know that these guys aren't playing by the rules. It's o.k. to sweat a little bit. Remember to take the occasional standing break to thwart the onset of 'swamp-ass'.

The rest of the actors look like they're either shit-scared or having the time of their lives. Probably both. Many of them were actually picked out of the slums of Brazil. You can tell they're the real deal. The editor and director, everybody is thrashin' punk-rock. They don't feel influenced by anything or any precedent, and they could care fuck-all about what anyone else thinks. There's more chemistry in this movie than a Sacramento meth lab and more energy than the 'Electric Light Parade'. Every other minute you're just floored like Foreman, 'Oh Fuck. They did not!'. It's like you're watching a genius scratch DJ, only these guys are pulling off catapillar scratches and dropping 'f-f-f-freshhhh' bombs with the picture. It's just beautifully insane. The whole movie is polished so clean. And it's got a rad sepia-tone jive goin' on. All bronze but solid gold.

The main player goes by the name of 'Rocket', and man, I was studying his moves like Kasparov 'n Big Blue. That dude is mellow like a pancake lunch. Awesome. The other characters were just as stellar as their names, 'Knockout Ned', 'Li'l Dice' and Li'l Ze', 'Shaggy', 'Carrot', 'Tuba'...

On top of all that, the soundtrack was on fire. Go out and buy that thing, for real. If the sun is shining and that music is playing, then there's not much else you can do. If you drive a convertable, keep your hand on the stick, 'cause the guys and gals will seriously triple-jump across traffic and into your car. Drive two blocks and, if you still haven't got yourself a dinner date, then you're just not pumpin' those salsa jams loud enough.

I don't wanna push this any further. Let me say that I walked away feeling like someone had offered to crack my back, only they missed and cracked my brain. Like full-on knee pressure, then... *pop* This was the second time I've seen this thing, and it was even better.

Judgement: Watch this thing, and invite me over when you do.