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Archive for July, 2009

From the artistic mind of Kirk Demarais, a cult-level-known, Los Angeles-based artist with a knack for painting family portraits of film-fams. His work is frequently shown at LA’s Gallery 1988. Here’s his take on the Plainviews, from There Will Be Blood (if you didn’t know that already just by looking at the below picture, take a long, hard look in the nearest mirror). And, as you can see, it’s amazing:

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For the rest of Demarais’s work, head over to: Kirk Demairas’s site

Originally spotted over at: /Film

After the jump, you’ll find some more of the man’s latest efforts…..all cooler than December air: (more…)

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…..I’m soon to be a lame-tabloid-publication-reading virgin no more. Unsurprisingly, I don’t mind the lack of Screech here. As a kid, I laughed at the comedic wizardry of one Dustin Diamond; now, when watching the reruns every morning, before work (salute, TBS), I want to stuff his irritating ass in a locker. The byproduct of maturity, and improved common sense. 

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It’s like staring into an unfamiliar mirror, in some foreign bedroom’s accompanying bathroom. The liquor still singing your judgment, treating your brain like a wet sponge that’s heavier than a bag of quarters. What the fuck am I doing here? Where is here, exactly? Why did I have that eighth shot of Henny? From the bedroom, you hear some girl’s voice, beckoning, “What’s taking you so long? Let’s do this damn thing already! I want you.” For a second, you’re feeling good, the mood striking and sicking the horny-bug into your loins. But then, as you step back into the room where your soon-to-be-fuck-buddy awaits, the pupils catch a steady glimpse at her, and a sensation similar to drinking curdled milk gives you the sickly chills. The sad part is, self, that I know I’m going to shamefully enjoy this. She’s not exactly the Elephant Woman, but she’s fugly enough to turn the impending one-night-stand into a grueling labor of only-to-get-my-rocks-off. And you know what? It’s a damn good time. So enjoyable, in fact, that you quietly look forward to the next time.

Even if he won’t admit it, every guy in the world has either been in that situation to that precise outcome or at least can agree that he’d do the exact same thing if ever in that mix. How does this relate to my humble little film blog, you may be asking yourself? Simplistic-ness, reader. Because next Friday, the movie equivalent to that fugly-yet-pleasure-giving woman hits theaters—-G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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There’s not much in the way of analysis in regards to G.I. Joe. We all know the deal. Directed by Stephen Sommers, the often-called-a-“hack” chap responsible for desecrating the Universal horror canon with 2004’s vile Van Helsing, the one where Frankenstein cried like a little bitch and Kate Beckinsale made a horrible Transylvanian accent sound sexy. Sommers is like an even-more shallow Michael Bay, if such a description is possible. So you know that his G.I. Joe is going to be a lobotomized shell of a film. And the cast, made up of a hodge-podge of B-listers (Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller) alongside the gimme-the-loot-intentioned duo of Dennis Quaid and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, isn’t exactly Robert Altman-esque. Oh, and the producer is also the guy behind the Transformers movies. 

Quite the recipe for head-numbing. But, like the hideous gal that the guy bags just for the cheap thrill, G.I. Joe is an overachiever without pretension. And the truth of the matter is, I’m ready to drop coin on the film come opening night. Without guilt. It’s not even that I was such an avid Joe toy collector as a bed-wetter that I’m going with an undying allegiance to the property. I had a bag full of Joe action figures, sure, but was no more attached to them then the next kid. The reason why I’m so amped for G.I. Joe is that I’m a sucker at heart. As much as I sing the praises of envelope-pushing foreign films and Stanley Kubrick masterpieces, my whipping-boy side can’t resist the spectacle that will surely be G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It’s relaxing to turn my brain off once in a while and snack on some eye-Snickers. The magnetism emitted from the junk is powerful. Just as, ladies, your nice-guy friend that gives you hope for the male species with every kind word and thoughtful action would quickly tap the sloppily-unattractive chick in the club, if given the green light. Does that make him a bad person? Nope, not at all. Human, yes.

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Does wanting badly to see G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra make me a candidate for impeachment out of the Film Lovers’ Society? Fuck outta here. Negativo. The intoxicant that I’ll be able to blame is the allure of expensive flashing lights and CGI action. My hangover will kick in once I get back home and see Synecdoche, New York poking out of my DVD collection, Philip Seymour Hoffman firing ice-grills in my direction. I’ll feel no shame, though. In fact, if G.I. Joe is every bit the fun ride I’m hoping it’ll be, I may partake in seeing it a second time. Who knows? 

Besides, I’ve had enough will power to not see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. That was the alcohol-sipping harlot that my other folks warned me about, persuading me to steer clear of her flirtation and open-legged stance. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, though, is the strobelite honey, and, yes, I’m Dres (Black Sheep, anyone?). And sometimes, will power suffers from the Samson-after-a-drastic-haircut syndrome. 

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To call Judd Apatow‘s third directed-film Funny People his most personal is overdone, half-baked, unimaginative. But, still, unavoidable, since the film opens with home video footage from the man’s own living room vaults. Back in the late ’80s, he and Adam Sandler (star of Funny People, playing fictional extension of himself, “George Simmons”) lived together in a grungy, closet-sized apartment in Los Angeles, both going through it as struggling stand-up comedians hoping to land on The Tonight Show or die trying. Just as you’d expect any juvenile funnymen to do for fun, they’d regularly make prank phone calls, Sandler on the horn and Apatow behind the handheld camera. Kicking Funny People off with 20-year-old home videos is Apatow’s ultimate beginning sentence for a love letter to both his career and longtime best-friendship with Happy Gilmore himself, Mr. Sandler. The footage itself isn’t all that hilarious; the humor comes from more of a meta place, watching a then-unknown Sandler take visible pride and joy in making others laugh. It’s what he knows best, and capturing that for audiences, whether nationwide or home-sofa-seated, is what gives Apatow the greatest of pleasure.

 

Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow

It’s important to understand just how close to home Funny People is for its writer-director Apatow, because, on a whole, the film isn’t “funny” in the same sense of his two previous crowd-ticklers, The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. And going into the theater with that understanding feels crucial. While his other films still maintained the actual beating heart amidst rampant sophomoric brilliance and improv-powered dialogue, they were, and remain, at their core, meant to expose the duality of the “everyman”—-you, me, and the guy on line next to you at Starbucks are all skirt-chasers who’d hide in corners if we were still looking to cherry-pop at age 40, and who’d panic if unexpectedly presented with a lady friend’s pregnancy. But with Funny People, Apatow seems to have used the Hollywood-money-making muscle he’s built up in recent years to take some artistic chances through a film that feels like the one he’s dreamt of making all along. It’s as if Apatow could retire this Saturday, the day after Funny People opens, and live a happily fulfilled life. Of course he wants the film to reign successful, but if it’s only a fifth of the financial triumph that 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were, I’d imagine that he’d shed no tears, punch no walls, fire no lackeys. He’s made his true “passion project,” and now he can breathe easily. [Continued after the jump] (more…)

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Requiem for a Dream had already given Darren Aronofsky a thick level of acclaim in my eyes, but, after last year’s The Wrestler, the guy is now a filmmaker that I’ll forever watch with both anticipation and excitement. The Wrestler is such a remarkable product that following it up successfully seems like a task that could turn a man’s nerves into a mushy puddle of floppy gelatine. When the news hit that his next work would be a new take on the ’80s sci-fi classic Robocop, I felt a bit underwhelmed, honestly—I’ve sadly yet to see Robocop, though it’s waiting impatiently in my DVR taped-library. So I have zero attachment to that property. My initial reaction was, “Shit, I’d much rather see Aronofsky give horror a go.” The bleakness in Requiem for a Dream feels like the perfect precursor to an awesome horror film from the guy, if he ever felt so inclined.

Aronofksy (right), with Randy "The Ram"

Aronofksy (right), with Randy "The Ram"

The announcement a month or so back that his next project won’t be Robocop (his involvement with that remake seems a bit up in the air now) but instead an original project titled Black Swan, the smile perked up. Then its plot promised a bit of supernatural creeps, which was amazing, and that Natalie Portman would star, which was also positive. About a ballerina battling with a dancing nemesis who may in fact be a ghost, Black Swan‘s plot gave me feels-good visions of a psychologically-biting blend of Suspiria and Fight Club, obviously a brilliant mashup if handled properly. 

MilaKunis1Well, today came news that said potentially-an-evil-spirit ballerina villain will be played by Mila Kunis, the hotter-than-your-girl gal who’s in the midst of a red-hot career surge post-Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Which, of course, gives me a reason to post the picture that you see to the right for the I-don’t-even-know-how-many-at-this-point time. Having never seen (for good reason) her straight-to-DVD cinematic belly-flop American Psycho 2, I can’t call it as to how well Kunis can play the bad-girl role, but I’m more than willing to give her a chance. Besides, my juvenile side realizes that she’ll most likely be wearing tight leotards the entire time. 

Black Swan can’t come soon enough now…. Here’s another Mila Kunis look, just because I’m generous like that:

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News first spotted over at: Empire Online

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Orphan_teaser_poster

The fact that I’m actually considering the notion of seeing this one again has me both concerned and pleased. Who would’ve thought, that after seeing that ho-hum trailer full of generic ideas and cheap jump-moments, and then sitting through the lame commercials complete with “Our ending is so shocking” desperation, that I’d end up digging Orphan enough to hit the cinema twice? It’s one of those films that I enjoy against better judgment, the cinematic equivalents to “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” or Full House (at least I’m man enough to admit that I’m pro-family-Tanner) 

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The truth is, Orphan is one of the more entertaining films that I’ve seen this year, definitely due to how ridiculous the story becomes at such a rapid pace. I’ll save my entire opinion-kicking for the write-up I did for Critics Notebook, which I’ve linked below. Full disclosure: I expected the task of writing about Orphan to be a tad painful, laborious. A dreadful effort to whip up penmanship-verve for a forgettable piece of unoriginal horror. But I was game for the challenge. So imagine my shock when the words poured out of my fingertips and onto the laptop’s keyboard with the quick stream of those blood-pissing doors in The Shining‘s Overlook Hotel. 

Here’s my opinion, in written form [below]:

Critics Notebook: ORPHAN review

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Right off the heels of yesterday’s poster debut, here’s the first extended teaser trailer for the Hughes Brothers‘ foray into apocalyptic action The Book of Eli, and, I must say, it looks pretty damn cool. Much slicker, much grittier than expected. And, your boy Denzel Washington appears to be getting into some Oldboy-style body-dropping and other degrees of physicality. I can’t recall the last time that Denzel looked this badass; a welcome change from what he’s been doing as of late. Of course, this is simply a trailer, so I won’t start singing the comeback praises for the brothers Hughes (Allen and Albert) just yet, but you have to admit: nobody thought they had something this Road Warrior-looking in them. Well, I sure as hell didn’t.

Give it a look, and let your Denzel love and anticipation kick into overdrive. Or, somewhat-accelerated cruise control, until January 2010. Trailer after the jump: (more…)

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