Archive for January, 2009

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Making A Classic Dave Chappelle Skit Even Funnier

January 30, 2009

A co-worker sent this in a e-mail chain this morning, and I couldn’t stop laughing for a good ten minutes! I’d be wrong if i didn’t share it with the rest of you guys! Like Dave Chappelle’s Rick James skit wasn’t funny enough! Now, we’ve got the house remix!!!

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If It Bleeds, Robert Rodriguez Can Produce It?

January 30, 2009

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I’ve always been one of these people who didn’t really care one way or another about remakes. I can at the very least understand that some things are sacred, and there are several classic films that should NEVER be touched. And even if someone actually dares to try, I’ll at least keep an open mind until I see the thing for myself. ‘Cause lord knows there were a few remakes in recent memory that pushed me to a place where I needed high-grade pharmaceuticals to pull me back from the brink! The remake 0f The Hitcher comes to mind.

Now Bloody Disgusting is reporting that 20th Century Fox, a company that’s been sucking at life for the last two years, is looking to reboot/remake Predator, with Robert Rodriguez and Troublemaker Studios onboard to produce. No word yet on whether or not he’d be willing to direct, though.

Now, on the one hand, the idea of a Predator sequel involving Rodriguez sounds delightfully badass. He’s got a great eye for action, doesn’t shy away from gore, it seems right up his alley. But a remake? Can one really improve upon, or simply match the bassassery that is Predator? This movie is so exponentially awesome, it spawned TWO governors!!! Movies like this REALLY don’t get made anymore. A lot of directors and stars are making some good efforts (Stallone may pull it off with The Expendables, though), but there’s something about Predator that has been hard as hell to duplicate in other films.

It’s easily my favorite Schwarzenegger film, and incredibly quotable! Even before you get to anything Arnie says, you’ve got Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black as a soldier that does nothing but tell jokes about how abnormally large his girlfriend’s vagina is!! It’s the right amount of humor at the right time, just before Preddie starts pickin’ off Schwarzenegger’s teammates. At this point, it becomes a total survival movie, and you really see Arnold get beat down and almost defeated. He comes off a lot more like a human being than any other film he’s been in, films where he’s portrayed as a superhuman badass even in the films that are heavily grounded in reality. And of course, there’s Kevin Peter Hall as the Predator. At 7’2″, he was over a foot taller than Arnold, making him that much more imposing. Couple that with Stan Winton’s creature effects, and you’ve got gold.

If this remake really is happening, there are two things they need to do; for starters, get Stan Winston Studios involved. The worst thing the Alien vs Predator movies could do (besides being made at all), was to not involve Stan Winston (even more of a shame, now that he’s dead!). And second, get rid of the multiple Predators idea. . . because it’s gay.  .  . gay.

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What Will Scarlett Johansson Do Next?

January 29, 2009

Alright, this is clearly becoming the trend of the week for me. Between Lil’ Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, and Joaquin Phoenix (unless he’s just playing a sick joke on all of us), I’ve overloaded on actors wanting to rap, rappers wanting to sing rock n’ roll, and back to actors wanting to sing. Or “still” wanting to sing, in this case. Case in point, Scarlett Johansson. First, it was Tom Waits covers, and now she’s tackling Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” for her new film, He’s Just Not That Into You (which I do plan on seeing, sue me!). As expected, there are countless profoundly hateful comments on the internet about the cover, as if Scarlett deficated on people’s breakfast burritos and urinated in their coffee. I’ve read comment after comment of people whining and bitching like the cover is so terrible that it erases the original from existence. To say nothing of the fact that, having listened to it a few times myself, I honestly don’t think it’s all that bad. Honestly, had it been presented to listeners without knowledge of who was singing, I doubt the responses would be so venomous. If anything, they’d probably assume it was Norah Jones, or some other sappy piano songstress that isn’t Alicia Keys. 

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My Review Of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

January 28, 2009

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Yeah, I know there are a lot of Oscar-Nominated films I could have gone and seen last weekend, but I wanted to see werewolves and vampires rip each other to pieces. Is that so wrong?! In any event, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans precedes the first two films, taking place in some non-descript European country during medival times. The story centers around Lucien (Michael Sheen, aka Kate Beckinsale’s “baby daddy”), the lycan leader from the first film. Here, he’s essentially an indentured servant to the vampires, led by Viktor (Bill Nighy in top scenery-chewing form, if I may say so). Whereas the first generation of werewolves (aka lycans) were especially savage and unable to revert back into humans, Lucien was clearly different. He had almost all the strengths of a werewolf without needing to fully change. Realizing he could use Lucien to his advantage, Viktor bred an entire race of immortals to serve as slaves and protectors. Lucien seems to have no problems with the vampires, despite the silver-spiked collar he has to wear around his neck to discorage him from going all beasty. He even falls in love with one. . . . too bad she just so happens to be Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra). As you can imagine, Viktor isn’t too happy about it, and a freakin’ war breaks out between the vampires and lycans.

I’ve enjoyed all the Underworld movies, and it was certainly a smart move for the filmmakers to take things back before the events of the first film; we see the dedication Lucien shows towards Viktor and the other vampires, and how he sees himself as being different from the more savage werewolves that came before him. But most importantly, we see how everything changes. Clearly, Lucien struggles with his desire to be a free man, but also his loyalty to Viktor. He knows well enough that he’d never be seen as an equal among the vampires, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling betrayed by Viktor as events unfold. And who can blame him? Viktor is a dick. Just about everything this man does is for a selfish reason. Going all the way back to the first film, Viktor has hidden behind the excuse of  “protecting the vampire race” to justify lies, torture, slavery, and slaughtering humans indiscriminantly, and Rise of the Lycans further puts this into perspective. Essentially, Viktor is a nazi.

Tying back to my enjoyment of the story, is the return of Michael “How many more times do I have to play Tony Blair?” Sheen and Bill Nighy. Sheen is great because he he ignores the stigma of the action/horror genre, and just plays the role as straight as he would any other film. You sympathize with Lucien. Nighy is great because he handles the material with such hamfisted self-awareness that it serves as a great counterbalance to Sheen. There’s a lot of Shakespearean melodrama when it comes to Viktor as a character, and I love Nighy’s fearlessness in running with it. It’s amazing because in several scenes, it’s hilarious to see him go so over the top. In other scenes, he has this whole quiet poise, and treats the film like a stage performance. As Sonja, Rhona Mitra isn’t quite as commanding as Kate Beckinsale, but she does handle her role adequately, and is quite fierce in many of the action scenes she’s featured in. I also thought she had a nice chemistry with Sheen, even during a rather ridiculous love scene in which Sonja straddles Lucien, pinning his lower body down, while his upper body hangs precariously over the edge of a cliff! I guess sex has to be that much more exciting when you can’t die! And lest I forget, the inhumanly deep-voiced Kevin Grevioux (co-creator of the Underwold franchise) returning as Raze. I liked seeing his friendship develop with Lucien, as the first film merely presented him more or less as just a big henchman.

Another strength to the film is that it’s easier to accept the concept in more of a medival/fantasy setting, than the slick, post-modern sci-fi trappings of the first two films. You can play with the drama of it more, and create a more cohesive and involving story. That isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of action. Some of it is even better than the other films. Fight scenes are a little tighter, and don’t come off so choreographed. And much like the second film, Rise of the Lycans takes full advantage of being R rated. Several scenes depict lycans and vampires ripping each other’s limbs apart, eating faces off, blood splattering in all directions, etc. We still don’t see a lot of neck biting from the vampires, though. Given the time period, young buxom peasent girls should have practically been raining from the heavens, solely for purpose of having their blood sucked by geriatric-looking  Shakespearean vampires!

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans clearly isn’t winning any Oscars, but dammit if it’s not fun. There’s actually more of a story this time around, and they manage to present that story without sacrificing action. A lot of credit is due to first-time director Patrick Tatopoulos (who’s done creature effects for all the Underworld films). Despite some emulation of previous director, Len Wiseman’s directing style, Tatopoulos has his own distinct eye for visuals and creating a solid narrative. Usually effects men switching over to direct can have disastrous results. Starship Troopers 2, anyone?

(3.5 out of 5)

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Is Joaquin Faking It?

January 28, 2009

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For the love of all that is decent and holy, PLEASE LET THIS BE THE TRUTH!!!

I know this is the point where a buttload of people come out of the woodwork to say, “I knew it all along!!” But I’m not gonna be one of those people. I’m gonna own up to my naivete, and admit that Joaquin had me there for a minute.  Not that I didn’t hope for him to be just kidding about wanting to pursue a rap career. Stranger things have happened in Hollywood. But it would seem that we shouldn’t be holding our breaths (or clenching our sphincters) for that MC Phoenix album, according to Entertainment Weekly:

“He said, ‘It’s a put-on. I’m going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey(Affleck) is going to film it,'” says one source who recently worked with Phoenix.

I gotta admit, for someone I’ve thought had less of a sense of humor than Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix may have gone above and beyond to prove me wrong. Now just hurry up and shave that gow-awful beard!!!

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Japanese Cartoon – Firing Squad

January 27, 2009

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Oh, how the tables have turned! ‘Cause here I am, just one day after raking Lil’ Wayne over the coals for his crimes against rock music, and I come across this little ditty. For weeks now, I’ve been hearing about Japanese Cartoon, and how the band is basically Lupe Fiasco’s needlessly elaborate side project. That is to say that in this day and age of abundant, easily accessible information and hyper-awareness, there’s little to no point in trying to convince the masses that you and your alter ego (in this case, a British punk rock singer Percival Fats) are two separate people. It’s better to just let people know from jump (like The Gorillaz), than to carry on with undue theatrics. If anything, Lupe should just have fun with the gimmick of him, as himself, singing in a punk/rock band with a British accent. Now THAT would be cool! (and far less pretentious.)

But I seem to have derailed the irony train I was conducting, as my point was that I now find myself in the position of asking, “Do I genuinely like this, or am I applauding it for being different, before applauding it for being good?” If  I’m being totally honest with myself, I’ve never been a fan of the whole brit-pop/punk sound, but I don’t dislike it. And I suppose, given my being far more of a fan of Lupe in general, it could be considered a double standard to support Lupe’s side genre-switching project moreso than whatever Lil’ Wayne is doing. So I’ll just present the goods, and keep my mouth shut this time around.

Download – Firing Squad

(courtesy of smokeYYY at Tharealish)

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Lil’ Wayne – Prom Queen

January 26, 2009

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Continuing with my idea that there are some people who should just leave certain things alone, we’ve got a new song from Lil’ Wayne off of his upcoming rock album. Again, I have nothing against an actor or music artist trying different things, but it really is a situation where it’s either going to work really well, or it’s going to suck beyond measure. Lil’ Wayne’s “Prom Queen” falls face first into the latter category. The sad thing is. . . .people will buy this. Many will even go out of their way to validate it. Why? Because the vicious beast that is popular music has conditioned us to applaud something for being different before applauding it for being good! Even I have the occasional lapse in judgment, appreciating certain music for straying from the pack, while ignoring the possibility that it may be utter pigeon scat in general.

Download – Prom Queen