Sunday, October 29, 2006

I Can't Believe They Made Another One

I found out something somewhat disheartening today: Eli Roth has apparently made Hostel, Part Deux.

Let's go at this another way. There's a movie called The Blair Witch Project (maybe you've heard of it) that a couple of guys made for around $40,000. It went on to make about $150 million in the US alone. To this day, it is the most profitable movie ever. And, while Artisan, the company that released it, was quick to make a studio-produced sequel, those two guys didn't try to cash in on the success of their movie. And a good movie, at that. Sure, its "concept" was co-opted from Cannibal Apocalypse, and the acting and dialogue were slightly above laughable, but it's still a good, scary movie that those two guys didn't try to milk for all it's worth.

Which brings us back to Hostel 2. The original didn't make a hell of a lot of money (although I'll admit it was profitable), and it was shitty by most definitions of the word. No reason to make a sequel. Yet, we're going to get one. (It is being distributed by Lionsgate, which would distribute a film of a man taking a shit if they thought it could make money.)

The most disheartening news is that this sequel appears to be more exploitive than the original, if that were possible. It has an all-girl cast, that will go through the same ordeal in the same country (wow, that's original) as the fellas did in the original. Just what we need: some quality murder and torture of women.

This has "shit" written all over it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Making Some Odd Movie Choices

I was looking through the local movie listings, thinking maybe I wanted to see The Prestige. The Girl had expressed some interest as well. But, my search proved fruitless, as neither of the theatres in town here are playing the movie. Which seems odd to me, as The Prestige was the #1 movie at the box office last week.

What's odder still is that one of our theatres, rather than have one showing of The Prestige, decided to go with three showings of Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which has been out for three and a half months. It comes out on video in another month. I suspect that most people who are going to see it have seen it, since it's already the sixth highest-grossing movie ever; I really can't see a high enough turnout to justify three shows. Yet, apparently, theatres here in The JVL won't even show new movies for fear that folks might not be able to get their Pirates fix, being such big fans and all.

What a goofy fucking place this is.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wisconsin: Home Of The Fuck-Up

My adopted home state of Wisconsin is known for producing cranberries and speed skaters. But, I'm seeing we're starting to produce something else: social misfits that make the national news. We had the man who tried to kill Teddy Roosevelt, the kid that stole the actual film version of The Phantom Menace, the three kids who dug up a corpse for a little sexual gratification, we've even had a couple of cannibals. Now, we've got this adorable little brat pictured to the left.

Little Timmy (or whatever his name is), from Antigo, WI (which is in the uncivilized part of WI) somehow managed to crawl inside one of those crane games, when he felt that actually going inside the machine would be a much easier way to get a stuffed Sponge-Bob than using that annoying crane. He was trapped in the machine for a couple of hours, before being rescued by firefighters.

Add one more dumbass to the list.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It All Makes Sense Now

A somewhat confusing aspect of Grey's Anatomy makes sense to me now. Now I understand why it was awkward for Meredith to sleep with George; why George doesn't seem to have any issues with having three hot female roommates; why George would rather go home and hang out with said roommates than have sex with Callie.

The reason? Because he's gay.

Grey's star T.R. Knight, who plays George on the show, recently confirmed that he is gay. I guess he thought it would be a good idea to confirm this after he was involuntarily outed during the much-publicized fight between co-stars Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey.

I find it somewhat odd that, even though Knight just now came out in real life, and doesn't actually play a gay character on the show, the writers seem to have written him as a gay. I wouldn't be surprised if George came out on the show as well.

You watch; it'll happen.

Friday, October 20, 2006

It's About Fucking Time

It's good to see that the industry "leader" in software and technology needed 10 years and seven versions of Internet Explorer to include a feature that every other browser on the planet has had for years.

On Wednesday, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7, now featuring tabbed browsing. With this upgrade, it now joins the ranks of Firefox, Netscape, Opera, and, well, any other browser you can come up with to include that feature. It's good that Microsoft is right on the cusp of cutting-edge technology. (The Opera browser features an integrated BitTorrent downloader. That will probably be a dead format by the time Microsoft incorporates it into IE.)

In fact, if you look at all of the new features in IE 7, like integrated search and better security, you'll see that Microsoft looked at every browser out there, and included every feature they didn't have. Just years later. (I stopped using IE a number of years ago for many of these same reasons.)

I will give Microsoft props for one thing, though: They have the nicest-looking browser out of all of them; the other browsers look like the open-code, user-generated applications they really are. I do find it somewhat odd that the new, almost concurrent releases of iTunes and IE seem to have traded looks: iTunes took on the harsh, gun-metal grey appearance of IE, while IE went with the soft, luminescent blue appearance of iTunes.

We'll see how long it take for Microsoft to update IE again. I'm sure we can watch all the other browsers out there and see exactly what that new release will consist of.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Steve Wynn Is A Mongoloid Retard

Steve Wynn has made a lot of money in the casino business. His money has allowed him to buy one of the more impressive art collections in the world. Unfortunately, it hasn't allowed him to buy any sort of brain.

Yesterday, Wynn's office confirmed a story that Wynn accidentally destroyed the Picasso painting Le Reve, when he punched a hole in it with his elbow. As if that wasn't stupid enough, he had just finalized the sale of the painting for $139 million.

That's one pricey hole.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An Almighty Fuckload Of Money

Last week, The L.A. Times reported that Evan Almighty, the upcoming sequel to Bruce Almighty, may end up costing upwards of $250 million, once all production and marketing costs are figured in.

How the fuck is this movie gonna cost $250 million? Jim Carrey cost $20 million to star in the first one, and its budget was a third as much. James Cameron built a near-life-sized replica of the Titanic that broke in half and sunk on command, and that movie only cost $200 million. (And Titanic made all that money back, so that's a wash.) So, what the fuck could you possibly put in this movie to make it cost more than that? (Hint: it ain't Steve Carell)

I think we may have a new All-Time Money Loser on our hands. Unless Steve figures out how to open a movie in a real fucking hurry. But I don't see that happening. And I don't think the eight bucks that I'll throw its way is going to help.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Aaron Sorkin: Take Note

In this post, I lamented on my much-anticipated Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip not being as good as it should be. I think it's got a lot to do with the fact that Sorkin has merely taken The West Wing out of The White House, and recontextualized it into a sketch comedy show. I think this same cast could perform a script from The West Wing, and you wouldn't really know the difference.

It seems, however, that Tina Fey (of all people) actually has the upper hand in the Battle of Shows About a Saturday Night Live-like Show with 30 Rock. Fey has done the smart thing, and cast people who were actually on SNL (herself included), and brought along Lorne Michaels to produce as well. And, for a show about a comedy show, it happens to be funny. (Is it just me, or are the "sketches" on Studio 60 painfully unfunny?)

There's a lot of sly, witty humor going on in 30 Rock. While Studio 60 takes place on the fictional network NBS, 30 Rock actually takes place at NBC. (Which I find odd, since both shows actually air on NBC.) They also take jabs at NBC's corporate parent, GE. (The GE Trivection Oven may be the greatest fake product placement ever.) I like that Alec Baldwin plays a GE executive on the show, and is the voice of GE in real life. I also see an upcoming defammation lawsuit from Martin Lawrence for Tracy Morgan's thinly-veiled portrayal of him.

The biggest thing it has going for it is that I could actually see this stuff happening on an SNL-esque show. As I mentioned earlier, the subject matter on Studio 60 seems to outweigh the setting. When they were still both on SNL, I really can't see Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels going through a lot of the stuff that Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford go through in the same roles on their show. It's too serious.

Sorkin should probably watch a lot of 30 Rock; he might learn how to make his show work. Still great, but still not right.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The New Grindhouse Trailer

As most movie idiots like myself know, the next project for both Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino is Grindhouse, a double-feature homage to exploitation films of the '70s, complete with Coming Attractions between the two halves. Here's the first look:

Not sure, but this may be the Best Movie Ever, or The Worst Movie Ever; looks like it could go either way. (Rose McGowan with an M16A4 for a leg may be pushing it a little.) And, having some knowledge about this film, this whole trailer appears to be from Planet Terror, the Rodriguez half of the film. Which tells me that there isn't a lot of footage from the Tarantino half yet, or that it's completely unwatchable.

Unwatchable or not, as long as it's better than Kill Bill, I'll be happy. Hell, THIS is better than Kill Bill:

And that's pretty pathetic.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh, The Humanity

When I heard that a small plane had crashed into a skyscraper in downtown New York City on the five year, one month anniversary of 9/11, I figured some Al-Qaeda nutjob just got the date wrong for launching a commemorative terrorist strike on New York. But turns out in was actually Yankees pitcher Corey Lidle, who, I assume, other than his team getting their ass whooped in the playoffs, really had no reason to launch a terrorist attack on New York. So, must have been an accident.

The only comment I have on this tragedy is that I'm glad he waited to crash into a building as long as he did, since I had him on my fantasy baseball team, and him dying would have fucked up my rotation.

That would have been tragic.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

While We're On The Subject...

I thought maybe I'd give my views on this fall's new shows (at least what I've seen so far).

Six Degrees (ABC)
JJ Abrams tries to make an entire series out of the "six degrees" aspect that makes Lost such a great show. And it makes for a terrible show. Abrams should maybe stop producing TV shows, and spend more time on the new Star Trek movie.

Heroes (NBC)
Pretty much Unbreakable as a TV show. It's actually pretty good. I especially liked the little Japanese guy who travels five weeks into the future, gets picked up for the murder of a guy who predicted a terrorist attack on New York, and then returns to the past just as New York gets destroyed. Good stuff. The only thing that will kill it is if all these "heroes" get together as an X-Men-ish group, but, it's still watchable now.

'Til Death (Fox)
This show was much better when Ray Romano played the Brad Garrett role. It's still funny, if not insanely derivative. And this makes how many sitcoms Joely Fisher has been in? At least 50?

Smith (CBS)
This show is the only reason I've watched CBS since, shit, Falcon Crest went off the air. And it really wasn't worth the wait. I mean, I like Ray Liotta and all, but he just isn't Ray enough on this show. (Ray Liotta fans know exactly what I'm talking about.) May require a couple more viewings. The episode where the guys break into a National Guard armory carrying a kitten was adorable, though.

Shark (CBS)
In truth, I found another reason to watch CBS. James Woods, in recent years, has dialed it down quite a bit. I was beginning to miss the old coked-out, manic Jimmy Woods. But, he's back here. Shark would be infinitely better if Woods was allowed to say "fuck" every other word, but this is network TV. And decent network TV, at that. Ray Liotta should take some tips from Woods, and play up his lunatic tendencies.

Standoff (Fox)
When you make a show called Standoff, you might expect the show to focus more on standoffs, and less on whether the two main characters are fucking. No such luck here. Not good at all.

Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Movie-to-TV show adaptations are shaky at best, but I got a good feeling about this one. I have a obsidian heart, and an adamantium spine, but I'll admit I got a little choked up in the last 20 minutes. Fuckin' sports shows love to do that shit: play with mens' emotions. If every episode is like this, I might actually think about shedding a tear. Just maybe. And it's nice to see that Connie Britton made the movie-to-TV show transition. Very rare these days; brings some credibility to the proceedings.

Justice (Fox)
Yet another slick Jerry Bruckheimer procedural show, this time with defense attorneys. And this show does what no other lawyer show does, and that's portray defense attorneys for what they are: lawyers, not bleeding hearts out to save the world pro bono. It also features a cast made up almost entirely of actors from shows canceled in the last year or so. Which is great, since one of them is Victor Garber, and him reading aloud from The Washington Post would be more interesting than most of the shit on TV. Well worth a watch.

Dexter (Showtime, of all places)
Who knew that the best pilot I've seen all year would be on fucking Showtime, the red-headed stepchild of premium cable? What's not to love about this premise: a forensic pathologist who moonlights as a vigilante serial killer of other serial killers, all while playing a cat-and-mouse game with yet another serial killer. If the rest of the season delivers as much as the pilot did, this may be the best show on TV. Along with Weeds and Bullshit!, it's the only reason to watch Showtime.